Tips for Reading with Babies and Toddlers: 30 Days of Reading with My Kids

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Have you ever tried reading with babies or toddlers? It can be a little like herding kittens.

As the mother of many, I’m going to share some of my best tips, learned over the span of 18 years.

tips for reading with babies

Board Books are Your Friend

When your child is small, don’t bring out your treasured copy of Little House in the Big Woods. Rachel’s version has updated artwork, compliments of Maeve.

Board books are the best for babies and toddlers, until you can teach them not to chew on the book or rip out the pages.

Board books are study cardboard and virtually indestructible. (although Maeve has mangled a few of ours)

Put Books Where Little Hands Can Grab Them

We have books on the bookshelf, in baskets, and even in the toy boxes for Maeve. We make sure that they are within her reach. As a result, if I ask her if she wants me to read a book, she runs to the shelf and pulls out her favorites.

cloth books for babies

Don’t Forget Cloth and Plastic Books

Ever seen a bath book? These plastic books are able to be taken in the bath — made of foam and vinyl. You can work storytime into bathtime, or just let your baby explore the pages.

Cloth books are wonderful for quiet storytimes, or for keeping little ones occupied at church or the doctor’s office. They help to incorporate sensory play, too!

Make it Part of Your Routine

Maeve understands the concept of storytime, even at 19 months old. She’s watched us read books to the older kids since she was tiny. We make books a part of our day, whether listening to books while we eat dinner, or reading before we go to sleep.

Take Them Everywhere

If you unpack my diaper bag, you’ll find a book or two at the bottom. I love letting Maeve look at books while we’re in the car, or pulling one out to read while we’re at soccer practice.

Get Other Family Members Involved

Even though she’s tiny, Maeve rules the roost around here. She’ll take a book and run to her bigger brothers and sisters, asking them to read to her. It’s a great way for siblings to bond, and it’s great practice for the older children to develop their reading skills.

reading with babies and toddlers

Be Patient

Most babies and toddlers aren’t going to sit still through the whole story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Keep it up. Read to them daily, over and over, and eventually, their attention span will grow. Since she sees her older brothers and sisters reading ‘big books’, Maeve will occasionally choose picture books for me to read.

Last week, she brought me Blueberries for Sal. It’s a treasured favorite here, but far too involved for her. I was blown away when she sat through half the story before jumping off my lap. That was a proud momma moment!

How do you manage reading to babies and toddlers? What are your best tips?

Books We Read Today:
Rachel: Listened to the audio version of Dragon Rider
The Boys: Bats at the Ballgame
Maeve: Frog in the Kitchen Sink

30 days of reading with children

Don’t forget to visit all the posts in the 30 Days of Reading with My Kids series, and drop in to visit my friends on the #30DayMom challenge!

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  1. I am also a catholic mother. My children are 3 yrs and 16 months and we are hoping number three is on it’s way very soon! I love the idea of having a big family and homeschooling. I look forward to reading your blog!! I was an English major in college and a big believer in the benefits of reading to children from the get-go 🙂

  2. Tiffany H. says

    “Like herding kittens” Ha, SO TRUE! These are great tips! Pinning it. 🙂

  3. I read to my 13 month old grandson and he already has a great love of books. My tips – Choose board books with lots of color, only one or two sentences on a page, lots of rythum and rhyme to the words, take the baby’s finger and help him point to what you are reading about, lift the edge of each page and encourage the baby to turn the pages. The more interactive the better.

  4. Loved the reading tips! I’ll be featuring this on my Facebook page July 29! http://www.facebook.com/LifetimeReader

  5. Kate Williams says

    Great ideas 🙂 My youngest is 9 months old and loves playing with books. Thanks for linking with Tuesday Tutorials #pintorials

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