Reading to your toddler is not only an enjoyable activity, but it is also an excellent way to help them develop language and literacy skills. Interactive reading is a way of engaging your child during the reading process by asking questions, pointing out pictures, and encouraging them to participate in the story. Moreover, it's a surefire way to foster a love of reading in your child. When they see reading time as something to look forward to because they get to have a bit of fun, quality time with Mommy or Daddy, they'll forever associate books with positive feelings. Here are some tips on how to read interactively with your toddler.
- Choose the right book. Choosing the right book is crucial when reading with your toddler. Look for books that have colorful pictures, simple storylines, and big letters. Books with rhyming words or repetition are great for toddlers as they can join in with the story. Make sure the book is age-appropriate and suits your child's interests.
- Engage your child in the story. Reading is not just about the words on the page; it's about the experience. Engage your child in the story by asking questions about the characters, the setting, and the plot. Encourage them to make predictions about what will happen next. Point out the pictures and ask them to identify objects, colors, and shapes.
- Use expressive reading. Reading with expression can bring the story to life and make it more engaging for your child. Use different voices for different characters and emphasize certain words to make them stand out. Change your tone to match the mood of the story. For example, if the story is sad, use a soft, sympathetic voice. If there's an indignant character, muster up your silliest, "I'm annoyed" voice. Your little one will certainly get a kick out of all the characters you can play!
- Encourage participation. Encourage your child to participate in the reading process. Ask them to turn the pages, point to pictures, and help you "read" repetitive parts of the story. Give them opportunities to make choices, such as which character they want to be or which story they want to read next.
- Make connections. Help your child make connections between the story and their own experiences. At two-years-old your little one may not be able to elaborate too much, but you can ask them yes or no questions like, "Do you remember when we took a trip to the beach like they did in the book? What else did you see at the beach?"
- Cuddle up. Being in each others' arms as you journey together through a book is a way to read interactively with your child. Cuddle up in the bed or an armchair. Have them sit on your lap. Anything that makes your child feel secure and close to you as you engage your imaginations is a lovely way to make storytime memorable for both you and your little one!