Raise a Reader

2 to 3 Years

Your child's vocabulary is blossoming. He's learning several concepts a day, and as a 3-year-old, he'll master nearly 1,000 words. At first, he'll stick to telegram speech: "Go outside." Later, he'll utter sentences that are surprisingly complex.

Easy Skill Boosters

Keep reading his favorites. Familiar books let your child be the expert, which little kids love. Pause from time to time as you read to let your child fill in a word. He'll beam with pride when his guesses are right on target.

Build on themes. Whether your child's passion is Elmo or kittens, look for books on the subject. Or explore a favorite author's other selections. Eric Carle, anyone?

Make it real. Connect stories to what's happening in the real world. If you spot a baby bird in a tree, ask questions like "Doesn't that bird look like the one in Are You My Mother? I wonder if it's looking for its mommy too?" You'll promote information recall, build vocabulary and comprehension, and teach that books live beyond their pages.

Ask a riddle. Riddles help boost children's vocabulary and thinking skills. Give easy questions such as "I'm thinking of an animal that lives in a tree, flies at night, and says 'whoo . . . whoo.' What is it?" Have your child make up riddles for you too.

Create a hero. Put your child and his friends or family members into your tales by adapting the stories you read or making up your own. While you're at it, let your new heroes demonstrate values like honesty and courage.

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