Nurture a love of reading early for a lifetime of rewards. As your child becomes mobile, he revels in discovery. Keep toddler books around the house (even in the kitchen) so he can look at them whenever he wants and you can squeeze a little reading into the margins of your day, says Kim Davenport, senior vice president of education and program at Jumpstart, a nonprofit early education organization.
Get our best tips for encouraging a love of books at an early age.
Grab a book, hold it, turn the pages, close it, and return it to the shelf. Then see whether she can do the same.
Use silly voices and make animal noises. Playing it up will get your child excited about the story.
When your child is getting dressed, read a book about clothing. Ask, "What is Elmo going to wear?" and "Are you going to wear blue pants today, too?"
If you're reading a Richard Scarry book, take out some blocks and recreate the fictional Busytown together. Or ask your child if she wants to build a house for Frog and Toad. Puppets or toys can help you reenact a portion of the book.
Use photos of your child and write simple, repetitive captions ("Baby sleeps, baby eats, baby smiles, baby grows and grows and grows").
When selecting books to read to your young one, keep these four tips in mind:
1. Look for books with images of animals or kids doing familiar activities.
2. Get books with rhymes and repetitive phrase.
3. Baby books with questions posed to the reader are helpful.
4. Try books with pop-up pages for an interactive experience.
Originally published in the April 2010 issue of Parents magazine.