Why Read with Toddlers?
The art of storytelling predates written language and is such a beautiful way to interact with stories. Because toddlers cannot read yet, storytelling is such a special way to explore new ideas and concepts and a way to make reading fun. Despite being a History and English teacher, reading has never been something that I have necessarily enjoyed. While I love the idea of reading, it’s just not a leisure time activity for me and it’s one thing I have wanted to change in my children. I want them to love to read and enjoy exploring a variety of books.
How to Engage Toddlers in Reading & Storytelling
Reading with my child has become a fun part of our day. Regardless of if it’s a busy day, we are sick, or it’s rainy, we always can read! The Read with Me activity is a fabulous one because it takes reading to another level. For me, I think I would have loved reading more than I do if it was more about storytelling and making the story truly come to life. Like the activity suggests, we don’t just blaze through books, we take time to ask questions, point out what we know, learn what we don’t, and make the least engaging books interactive. We love choosing books like Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe and Eileen Christelow’s Five Little Monkeys. Why you may ask? We can easily engage with them! We make our storytelling extremely animated.
Instead of just being a sing-songy type of reading, I typically read with lots of expression so that not only is reading fun, but it conveys emotion which is an important part of learning for toddlers.
Even the books that don’t have obvious interactive points, we make sure to make them that way. If they have people in them, we point out body parts like eyes and nose. We also like to make it more than just about the book by trying to act out parts of the books and integrate some movement into reading. So if it talks about feet, we wiggle our toes! If you liked this activity prompt, be sure to check out the app for yourself! There are tons of ideas from simple to more complicated and across all ages. It’s a fun easy way to get a quick idea in a pinch when your child needs a new activity!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!