3 Tips for Reading With a Toddler

By Sailaja Joshi

Diverse Children's Books










My name is Margi and I’m the new Educational Consultant here at Bharat Babies. You’ll be hearing (well, reading) from me every couple weeks on various topics ranging from early literacy to multicultural recipes to try out with your children.

It’s September and the older kids are finally back at school. Congratulations, you made it through another summer! If your toddler is your oldest or your only, now you don’t have to share your favorite playtime spots with those rowdy big kids. Either way, the start of the school year is time to celebrate.

But don’t relax too much. As everyone settles into a new routine, now is a great time to establish good reading habits with your toddler. It’s important to start early, and this is the way to create a lifelong reader. But how do you get that always-on-the-run little one to settle down with a book? Here are my top three tips on how to get your toddler to read.

1. Pick appropriate books

Now is not the moment to break out Shakespeare. There will be plenty of time for that in the future, along with those flimsy paperback books. For your toddler, pick simple board books with lots of repetition and fun rhymes.The thick, tough pages will be hard to rip, but easy for little fingers to manipulate. Some of Avi’s favorites are Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton, and Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. And of course, there is Bharat Babies’Padmini is Powerful by Amy Maranville.

2. Establish a reading routine

Make reading a part of your day. Choose a time that works for you and your family, and read at that time every day. It should be a time you want your toddler to settle down or one where he’s naturally settled in. Like many families, our time of choice is before bedtime. Other great times to make reading a part of your day are: before or after a nap, before or after a meal, or when you or your partner get home from work. This doesn’t mean reading can’t happen at other times of the day, it just ensures that it happens at least once a day.

3. And finally, prepare yourself…

…to read the same book over, and over, and over, and over again. Once your toddler establishes his favorites, he will ask to read the same book all the time. Don’t discourage this behavior and don’t make your child choose another book. Learning a language and learning to read comes long before children can talk and identify letters. Reading the same book repeatedly helps language and literacy develop in so many ways, I may just have to dedicate an entire blog post to it. In the meantime, you’ll just have to trust me — suck it up and read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown for the 173rd time.