Enjoying a good book with your toddler

Babybug Magazine

by Ann Douglas

Reading ToddlerA picture's worth a thousand words -- especially if you're a toddler.

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Virginia discovered that toddlers as young as 24 months can learn how to replicate a simple process after seeing that process demonstrated in a series of photographs in a book.

The study discovered that, when it comes to learning, children do best with picture books that provide photographs or realistic illustrations of objects. The younger the child, the more difficult it is for them to make the link between a symbol (including a picture) and what that symbol is meant to represent.

Of course, teaching your child about the world around him isn't the only reason for enjoying a good book together.

According to the Canadian Pediatric Society's position statement on literacy, the positive experience of being read to in the comfort of your lap encourages toddlers to view reading as a pleasurable activity while promoting the development of such early literacy skills as "book orientation, narrative structure, listening ability, attention span, page turning and print recognition."

Best books for young children

Toddlers

Toddlers who are one- and two-year-olds will enjoy sturdy board books (younger toddlers) and books with paper pages (older toddlers), books with photos of children carrying out familiar activities and routines, books with only a few words on each page, and books with predictable rhymes or repetitive text.

Preschoolers

Preschoolers who are three- to five-year-olds will enjoy storybooks, books that they can memorize or learn to read on their own, books about kids that they can relate to, books that help them to learn basic skills (counting, alphabet, words).

What will it take for you to raise a reader? What are some of your favorite books to share? Shout it out -- we want to know what they are!

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.