Encouraging Reading with a Toddler

I knew from early on I wanted Little D to be interested in books. I wanted to promote brain development as early as I could or at least to get him interested in books. I wasn't into reading growing up and it wasn't until I became an adult that I absolutely fell in  love with it. I love just being immersed in a book and seeing the story play out in your head.

 So shortly after I had my son, I tried making it part of our bedtime routine to read a book to him every night. It started out well, I could see him following along as I read, looking at the pictures and sometimes even touching the pages. It was also a great time to just sit with him and bond, even now as a one year old he associates reading with mama!

Eventually, he would start picking up books on his own and just flip through them. Today, he'll pick up a book and pretend to read out loud just babbling away. He can even remember certain animals we've identified with sounds like a lion and repeat the sound a lion makes when I ask him.

As the months went on and Little D's night time routine changed we had to evaluate when we would do the night time reading and cut to today, I try to do reading whenever the opportunity presents itself. As much as I would love for it to be every night, it's not always possible.  One of the things I made sure to do was to keep books wherever I knew he would be. We keep a basket in his play area that is usually full of board books and in his room where I have them displayed above his changing dresser, I will give him one while I'm changing him, it's a fantastic distraction for a wiggly toddler.

He really does gravitate to the books whenever he is playing. A lot of times he will grab a book and bring it to me just so I can turn the pages or read a few sentences. He'll usually take it back from me and continue to flip through it. I don't think anyone needs to be interested or even a good reader to try and promote that for their kids. I recently found an app on the iPad that had Disney Storybooks. What was great about the app is that it will give you the option to either read for yourself or have it read to you. So if someone wasn't big on reading themselves, I feel like this app would be a great way to promote reading in a really fun way. The words highlight so that you can follow along and if you wanted to sit with your little one and watch with them, not only are you encouraging reading but you're also taking advantage of an opportunity to bond.

I would totally recommend board books, they hold up really well and it's not as easy for little ones to rip the pages. Some of my favorite ones to keep around are Baby Einstein (there are so many different ones to chose from), Baby Touch and Feel board books, and Dr. Seuss board books.

It's never too late to start reading, seek out those opportunities even if they're in small doses because the benefits are worth so much more once they're older. This is not to say that a child who isn't read to will never love reading or won't be smart - it's totally possible for a child to grow into reading and be highly intelligent and not be a great reader. Everyone is different and life has taught us that anything is possible.


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