Reading to 1-2 year olds

It’s never too early to start reading to your child!

Toddlers love to listen to books being read. They also love to sing along to their favourite nursery rhymes…over and over again!

At this age, you can set your child up to be a reader by:

  • talking to them
  • listening to them, and
  • reading to them.

It’s a good idea to keep talking to them about what you are doing: We are getting dressed now; I’m cooking dinner; I’m chopping a carrot, now I’m washing my hands; I wonder what grandma is doing…

All this chat is helping them learn new words.

The language we use when we talk is different though to the language written down in books.

It’s good to get little ears used to:

  • What a conversation sounds like, and how we take turns to say something.
  • What reading a book sounds like and how we look at pictures to help us enjoy the story.

Giving your toddler books to hold and look at helps them to understand what books are and how they are used. Tough, slobber-proof books are good for this!

Nursery Rhymes and songs are also a great way to tune little ears in. You can sing ones you know or make up your own.

Check out this video: Fun with Sounds – Rap, Sing and Rhyme.

The Hokey Pokey and Eyes, Nose, Cheeky, Cheeky Chin (video) are also good songs to have fun with at home.

Eyes, nose, cheeky cheeky chin (video)

Best book ideas for toddlers

Books that rhyme are a favourite with little ears.

Some of our favourites include:

  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Hairy Maclary by Julia Donaldson (video)

Top Tips for reading to your toddler

Reading books to your child is great.

But remember that all kinds of reading is good.

Top Tips:

– Read out street signs as you pass them

– Read food packets in the supermarket

– Read aloud snippets of what you are reading – newspapers, websites, instructions manuals, recipes.

By reading all these things out loud to your kids, you are setting up their brains for all the reading they will do by themselves when they get older.

For more ideas on books that are good for 1-2 year olds: