Reading to your toddler
When to expect it: Receptive language (the understanding that words have meaning) develops on a different timeline than expressive language (the ability to say words with meaning) — and your child is likely to understand words in books long before he can say most of them. Between 12 and 18 months of age, many toddlers demonstrate their growing word comprehension by pointing to the colors, animals, characters and objects in a book that they know the words for. Because many toddlers are also continuing to develop fine motor skills at this time, your toddler may particularly love books that have interactive elements, such as flaps, popups and buttons.
Read to your toddler often — it’s so important for many reasons. Toddlers are:
- Little word processors. This is the age when children’s vocabularies blossom. Reading reinforces their understanding of the new words they’re learning and the contexts they’re used in —
- Ready to build their literary skills. Reading to a toddler sets the foundation for toddler learning, including mastering ABCs, developing phonemic awareness (meaning he’s starting to understand that words are made up of groups of sounds) and learning that those marks on a page represent letters and words (and things and concepts).
- Better prepared for school with books. Although “real” school may seem light-years away, it’s just around the corner (and most kids are expected to start reading, at least on a rudimentary level, in kindergarten). Children who are introduced to reading early tend to read earlier themselves.
- Apt to benefit from books about growing up. The road from babyhood to big kid can be bumpy between 1 to 3 or so not to mention the potential frustrations and fears he may encounter. Reading to a toddler can help you cover these subjects in ways your child can understand, as well as help him adjust to the brave new world he faces.
How to help your baby discover it: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends reading sessions from infancy on to prepare your child for lifelong success, since kids who are read to as babies have better language skills and are more interested in reading when they start school. Sharing a book also helps babies and parents bond, which the AAP notes is essential for a child’s cognitive and social-emotional development. So from an early age, read often to your little one, pointing out objects, characters, animals, colors, textures and sizes in the pictures he sees.
We know how important reading is and how much of an impact it has on the lives of young children. That’s why here at Akeba Academy our teachers read to the students every day. The pictures above are our Toddler One and Preschool class having story time.