Choosing Books for Toddlers by Nancy Sivilai

As a teacher of toddler age children, I find that working with young children you need to consider their development level as you select story books for toddlers.  Young toddlers have short attention spans even when it comes to reading books.  Therefore, when selecting books for toddlers I would encourage parents to select books that are not too long with too many words.  

 If your child does like a particular book with many words, it will be best to name pictures. I  actually did find toddlers attracted to a wordy book with many  pictures of emergency vehicles.  When I asked the children to select a story book, this book became a popular choice.   I adjusted my reading to their level and understanding  by pointing and naming the vehicles and making a sound of what the emergency vehicles most likely sounded like.  I did say to select books to their level, however, if your child loves a particular book there is no reason to not read it  but adjust it to their level.    

However, most books I choose and the children most enjoy are books with a very simple story such as ‘Good Night Gorilla’.  Part of the reason for this is that toddlers are developing  their language and we need to begin simple  with much repetition so be prepared to read the same story over and over again.  

It is important that books selected are illustrated with pictures large enough to see.  The children are attracted to illustrations and will come to touch and point at pictures.  This is an opportunity to name pictures and increase your child’s vocabulary.  Children naturally enjoy participating in books with lift-up flaps to find what is hidden.   It is somewhat like playing  a peek-a-boo game.  I find our class enjoys the opportunity to open the flap and sometimes do not notice others who are standing waiting for a turn because they enjoy so much. 

Other favorite books,  I would include books with chants or Nursery Rhymes such as ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear as  they capture the children’s attention and I find the children will sit through an entire story.   One last thing is to select books with hard board covers as they will last longer.  Enjoy your reading time with your child, before you know it he will be writing he/she own books.