When you browse the children’s section of a library or a book store, you might be amazed at the number of choices. You might also be a bit overwhelmed. You know your two-year-old is smart, but she isn’t ready to tackle Harry Potter just yet. Toddlers are attracted to predictable rhythms and colorful illustrations. Choose books that engage your child, reflect her interests and maybe even teach a lesson along the way.
A toddler will giggle with delight when she hears silly words and phrases – especially when you read them with lots of character: “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.” Two-year-old children enjoy predictable patterns. When words or phrases are repeated throughout a story, your child will soon “read” the familiar words with you. She will anxiously turn the pages because she anticipates the pattern that’s about to follow.
When a child physically interacts with a book, she engages in the experience and wants to read more. She lifts flaps, pats varied textures, views realistic photos, slides pages and pulls tabs to expose interesting pictures and objects. Your child will soon be searching for clues so she can uncover the next object. Observe her as she reacts to the book. Although this is a popular choice for most two-year-olds, some children are distracted by the action.
Your two-year-old child will adapt to new situations more easily if you read him related books. Read stories about a child going to the potty before you begin to toilet train him. Share books about being a big brother when a new baby is due to arrive. If your toddler reads about and sees pictures of all types of children, he will understand at an early age that we are all the same in many ways. Children assimilate information when they read books about topics such as manners, colors or shapes. They learn while simultaneously enjoying appealing illustrations and words.
Children develop interests at a young age. If trucks, trains or dinosaurs fascinate your son, books on those topics will hold his attention for longer periods of time. High-interest stories increase a child’s vocabulary. For example, his word base expands from simple trucks to dump trucks, tow trucks and ladder trucks. Most children love animals; read books that introduce a variety of animals that she doesn't typically see. Books that relate to the child's world, such as stories about Mommy and Daddy, are typically hits with toddlers.
Toddlers don’t always move easily from one task -- nap, playtime, bedtime, lunch -- to another. Read books about these transitions. They will help your child understand that Mommy will return to pick him up from the babysitter, and he can visit the playground again tomorrow. When the lights go out at bedtime, he shouldn’t be scared.