Do you keep reading fun when reading to your children at home? Reading with your child is so important but sometimes it can feel daunting, depending on the child’s age.
Being a Speech-Language Pathologist and having my own two year old at home, I put together some ideas to try when reading with children at or around this age. This is an important age and vocabulary can really soar and increase at the age of 2. These tips are meant to help you enjoy reading stories with your child, encourage engagement and to keep reading FUN! Here are 14 ways to keep reading fun with your 2 year old:
1. Ask Simple Questions
First and foremost, when reading with a 2 year old you should be asking simple questions throughout reading. These can be easy-to-answer comprehension questions such as: “Who is hiding in the cave?” What is in the basket?” This will keep your child interested in looking at the pictures in the story in more depth and get their brains thinking as well.
2. Label and Point
If there are any actions in the story, label them and point to them during reading. Then, see if your child will imitate the same action. For example, if it says that the boy clapped or stomped, show the action and see if they will imitate it from the story.
3. Add One Feature
When reading with your child, you want to work on increasing any speech and language skills. One skill that you can really focus on when reading is increasing their vocabulary. If your child can use a simple sentence to describe a picture, try adding one feature to the sentence. For example, if they say “the ball”, you model back “yes, the green ball.” This is introducing them to new vocabulary plus encouraging them to extend their sentence.
4. Your Pick, My Pick
I don’t know about you but my children always have favorite books that they like. This is definitely okay and even encouraged when reading with small children. Reread the same books over and over if your child likes them. Something fun to try is to do a “your pick” then “mom or dad’s pick” turn taking idea. This might allow for new books and new vocabulary! Exposure to lots of books is fun!
Next…pause when reading. Why, you may be asking? Try pausing and leaving a word out when reading to simply see IF your child can fill in the missing word in the sentence. This works especially well when it is a story that your child reads over and over again.
6. Look at the Pictures
Did you know that research states that two year olds are ready to start looking at more complex picture scenes in books? Encourage your child to look at the pictures before you even start reading the words in a book. Help point out and notice things in the pictures that may help them to understand the story better when you read it.
7. Use Silly Voices
This is a really easy way to encourage engagement when reading-use silly voices when you read! What child doesn’t love to laugh during story time? This even sets them up to start learning the skill of inflection very early on when reading.
8. Simple Stories-Not Just Labeling
Start looking for books with a simple story and not just labeling when reading with a 2 year old. Trust me, they are ready for it! Some of my favorites are “Dude” and “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”.
9. Read books about REAL LIFE
Toddlers love books about things that they do in real life. Try incorporating some stories about going to the park, the dentist, the zoo, etc. Reading books about real life can also help children to gain background knowledge on a certain subject. We like this Daniel Tiger Dentist Book.
10. Keep reading short and sweet
This tip is really important. Keep reading short and sweet. If your toddler won’t sit for a book try reading to them while they’re in the bathtub playing or eating breakfast. No one ever said reading had to be before bed time!
11. Let them read to YOU!
This is always fun to try. Let your toddler do the reading to YOU! Sit them in a chair and give them the book and you sit on the floor nearby. Let them be in charge for a change. First, they think it’s neat to be like mom or dad and be ‘in charge.’ Next, they will actually look at the pictures and try to be like you which is so much fun to watch.
12. Keep the interaction with books FUN!
Again…keep reading fun! I cannot stress this enough. It’s okay if they skip pages in books, keep the interaction with books fun and sweet ALWAYS. If anything about reading is discouraged or a negative experience, they may not want to do it in the future.
13. Keep Books Everywhere
Again, reading does not just have to be done at bedtime! Keep books all over: In the car, in the playroom, near the dinner table, and in your diaper bag.
14. Short, Frequent Exposures
Finally, short and frequent exposures to reading books with a 2 year old are far more important than sitting for 15 minutes right before bed. This goes with the tip above as well-keep books everywhere. You never know when you will have a few minutes out of your day to read with your child!
When do you read with your 2 year old? What time of day or tips work best for you?
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