Reading aloud introduces your child to literacy skills, builds her vocabulary and gives her a vivid imagination. It also gives you a chance to sit down and rest after spending hours chasing after your little one. She won’t have an interest in classics like “Romeo and Juliet” or “Moby-Dick” just yet, but you can still find books to pique any child’s interest. Focus on board books, with their hard-to-destruct covers and pages, along with books that are simple and sweet.
These books focus on teaching a particular concept, but do so in a variety of ways. Books that teach counting might have your child count ladybugs, strawberries or bicycles. For young toddlers, books that focus on counting, colors, feelings or shapes are frequently big hits. Some children are ready to start learning basic phonics around age 3, so you might choose books that teach the letters of the alphabet.
With picture books, it’s all about the beautiful illustrations. These give your child something to look at and explore while listening to the story. For the best-of-the-best, consider books that have received the Caldecott Medal, which is given to the most distinguished picture book of the year. “This Is Not My Hat” by Jon Klassen was 2013’s winner, but many versions of classic fairy tales have won the award as well. Keep in mind that many toddlers won’t be able to sit through picture books that have a lot of words or complex stories, so condense the material yourself, or choose books that have few words, such as “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” by Mo Willems.
The singsong nature of rhyming books helps children to remember the words. A few books that consist solely of classic nursery rhymes — with a line on each page — will allow your child to “read” the book by himself long before he can really read the words on the page. After reading the same story a few times, pause when you get to one of the words and have your child fill in the blank, such as “Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you…
Children who are active especially enjoy interactive books, but most kids will find them fascinating. Look for books with lift-the-flaps, tabs to pull or different textures to feel. The “Bugs” series of books by David A. Carter has various themes, but they all focus on cute bugs that will surprise your little one as they jump out of the page, hide inside boxes and present their sticky bodies.