Encouraging a Love of Reading in Your Toddler

Toddler Reading Book

A life-long love affair with reading often leads to exceptional educational opportunities for children. Kids who are read to as toddlers develop reading skills earlier, tend to be more inquisitive, and have a strong foundation for higher learning skills. Not every child grows up to be an avid reader, but if you start reading to your children when they’re just babies and toddlers, they are more likely to read as adults.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Reading a nightly bedtime story provides comfort and bonding for young children.
  2. Choose engaging, well-loved books with positive characters.
  3. Use stories to spark conversations about characters and emotions.
  4. Use expressive voices and facial expressions to keep toddlers engaged.
  5. Set aside dedicated time during the day for reading, creating a relaxing bonding experience.

Read A Bedtime Story Every Night

Young children love routines. They make it easier for children to settle in at night to sleep. Reading a bedtime story gives kids a sense of security. They will look forward to this as a bonding time as well. Cuddle up every night with a simple picture book with vivid illustrations and read aloud. Encourage your toddler to repeat phrases with you. Toddlers love repetition, so don’t be surprised if they choose a few favorite bedtime stories they want you to read again and again.

Buy High-Quality Books

Some books like “Where the Wild Things Are” and Mercer Mayer’s “Little Critter” series become classics because they have easy-to-follow storylines, entertaining situations, and positive characters. If you’re not sure which books are the best for your toddler, talk to teachers, librarians, and friends with children. They can steer you toward current favorites.

Use Books to Start Discussions

With a core library of books suitable for your toddler, use the stories you read as a jumping-off point for conversations. Talking to your child about what you’ve read, the characters, and how the story made your child feel are essential aspects of instilling a love of reading.

Frog Street, a STEAM-based educational company, offers a library of 35 books for pre-school children that have been vetted by experts. Each book includes a list of possible discussion questions for before and after reading the story. With several options, you can ask different questions each time. This encourages critical thinking and interactive learning.

Release Your Inner Actor

Toddlers have short attention spans. When you read to them, keep them engaged, break out your best silly voices and facial expressions. Don’t hold back and go for that Oscar-winning performance. Use a whiny voice when a character is complaining, growl convincingly when you’re the Big, Bad Wolf, and be sure to laugh a lot when appropriate.

Carve Out Time During the Day for Reading

While bedtime stories are a fixture in most toddlers’ lives, reading during the day is also crucial. Choose a time and place each day for reading and relaxing. It can be part of your routine. Enjoying an afternoon treat on the sofa while reading to your child is a bonding experience. It helps your toddler decompress when things get hectic. As they grow older, they’ll turn to reading for comfort, entertainment, and much more.


In short, cultivating a love for reading in children lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning and imagination. By incorporating regular reading routines, choosing quality books, and engaging actively in storytelling, parents can instill a passion for literature that will serve their children well throughout their lives. Remember, the gift of reading is one of the most enduring and enriching legacies a parent can bestow.

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Danuta Smoluk is a teacher with over three decades of experience teaching both children and adults. She specializes in teaching the Polish language to English-speakers. She has a master's degree from WSP Słupsk (currently Pomeranian University in Słupsk) and had her degree validated by University of Toronto.

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