Reading to Toddlers (1 and 2 year olds)
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Reading to Toddlers (1 and 2 year olds)
Does anyone have any suggestions for interesting books to
read to a 2.5 yr old. Some books I have are too childish for
my daughter and others I find are a little too verbose and
she loses attention. I'm looking for books that have a story
but not reems to read as her attention span is short.
The books my kids loved best around age 2-3yrs were simple,
short, often silly, picture books, especially on topics they
adored (trucks, firefighters and dinosaurs, in our case).
Some that my kids loved were 'Digger Man' by Andrea
Zimmerman, 'The Grouchy Ladybug' by Eric Carle, 'If You Give
a Mouse a Cookie' by Laura Numeroff, 'Goodnight, Gorilla' by
Peggy Rathman and the Bartholomew Bear stories by Virginia
Miller. Your local children's librarian can make some great
recommendations, or check out this blog by a local librarian
and parent for more ideas:
What counts as 'too verbose'? Where the Wild
Things Are? Snowy Day?
I suggest you ask the children's librarians at the Berkeley or
Oakland Public library.
I have a three year old and I agree it's hard to find books
that the child AND parent enjoy. Maybe I'm simple, but I
like the ones that rhyme (and my child does, too). A few
favorites are Bear Snores On, Jamberry, and The Giant Jam
I love the Frog and Toad books, personally. We also love the
following books: The Bear Snores On, The Napping House,
Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are... And on and on.
My 3.5 year old still enjoys many board books (which is
great, since we also have a baby!). We also continue to love
the books we found about welcoming a new baby into the house
and ones about learning to use the potty... I find the
opposite problem, actually: I go the book store or the
library and I find TOO MANY amazing books! I can't imagine
feeling stuck. Bookworm Mama
One of my favorite children's books is 'Little Owl's Night'
by Divya Srinivasan. I strongly recommend it as a great
addition to any family library. It is Divya's first
children's book and I can't wait for her next one!! Colleen
Hi! I'm looking for a book to read to my 2-year-old son
that can help him imagine going to sleep on his own at
night. We've found that he adapts best to change when we
can read stories about something ahead of time. He's used
to having us rock him to sleep or sit with him until he
falls asleep at night and I'd like him to be able to picture
that he can be okay if we leave the room while he is still
awake. Thanks for any ideas you have! Sarah
Llama, Llama Red Pajama.
My son liked 'Joshua's Night Whispers' by Angela Johnson
and 'Just Go to Bed' (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer.
The latter could be controversial since there is a toy gun
in the story so beware. That being said, my son loved to
read a couple of stories from The Little Critter Collection
before bedtime. Also, 'Franklin in the Dark' by Paulette
Bourgeois is a good one but may be slightly preschool- ish.
I love 'Llama, llama, red pajama'. (:
no more llama drama
Two books that our 2yo loves are:
-The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
The Going to bed book was the VERY first book we ever
started reading to our child (3mo) who WAS NOT INTERESTED in
sleeping EVER! I think the idea of him sleeping was more
a pipe dream for us, but we're also very big into early
reading and he now loves, loves, loves books.
Goodnight Gorilla we started when he was about 1yo and it's
mostly pictures of what Gorilla is doing at nighttime. I
don't care for it because I'd prefer to read words, but my
husband and son LOVE it. Probably because my husband is so
great about adlibing. Finally Getting a Goodnight Rest
Try 'Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep' about a
brother and sister, Willoughby and Willa. Really charming!
My boys all loved it.
I have a very active and, so far as i can tell, fairly precocious
fifteen-month-old girl. I keep seeing in parenting books, and in
advice given here, about how important it is to read books to
toddlers. But, and here's my question - how much attention
should I expect her to be paying when I read? We have a lot of
board and regular books, and she will go to the shelf, pull one
down, and say ''buuh, buuh'', and even bring them to me, but once I
start reading, she's up and about the room, and loses interest
almost immediately. I can show her picture books, and she'll
repeat words here and there, but her attention span is probably
30 seconds, if that - certainly not long enough to sit through an
entire, say, green eggs and ham. she likes pulling books off the
shelf more than hearing them read. Is this normal? Should I just
keep reading, even though she's up playing with blocks or doing
something else entirely? Is this something that varies by kid?
I hear people who say their kid wants a book read and reread, and
I worry because I'm not sure mine has ever heard all of ONE book.
I can relate. My now 17-month-old daughter was the same way a
couple months ago. Picked up a book, liked turning pages, tossed
it away quickly. She's better now but still doesn't sit for
typical picture books or a normal reading. I consider it
successful when we make it through a few pages. A couple tricks
that worked for me: You don't have to read the story linearly or
even read the text at all. When she turns to a page, talk about
what's surprising or interesting or make up a little story about
it, identify things on the page, ask her to identify things. Pick
books that don't depend on a storyline from one page to the next,
don't have much text at all and have bright, engaging pictures.
''Guess How Much I Love You'' is a nice book but it's a little
boring. I liked ''Hug'' much better, not much text but told a story
through bright, warm pictures and made it easy to engage my
daughter. Books that had things my daughter could touch or feel
or open flaps were also successful. Also pick a time when she's
more quiet or in need of a rest or break sitting on your lap,
that worked for me. We also started getting books from the
library so there's more variety. I figure in time my daughter
will enjoy hearing a whole story. You're not alone, keep at it!
This is normal behavior, children have very varied attention
spans. 15 months is very young to pay attention for any length of
time. It may feel more productive to you if you just talk about
what is on the page with her, not always reading text, so you can
turn the pages more quickly. Reading out loud to her even while
she is doing other things is great!
keep at it!
My son was the same at that age. I kept reading to him while he
played, or gave him another book to play with while I read from a
different one. I'm not sure if it helped, but he loves books. He
could probably sit through a small board book shortly before age
2. By 2 1/2 he could handle Green Eggs and Ham, and would want to
read book after book after book (and could actually stick with
it). He's now 3, and we are reading Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory, 2-3 chapters per sitting. Have patience. It will come!
My daughter was a very restless toddler, too, and it was very
hard for me to read stories to her. It helped if we just talked
about the pictures (kids that age seem to like realistic pictures
- photos or realistic drawings) but even then she didn't sit for
long. Now she is not yet 5 and reading almost entire kids books
by herself. I don't think you should worry too much - many
toddlers are too busy to sit down for a story. Just keep trying
and she'll let you know when she's ready.
I didn't read to my toddler and she is fine!
Don't worry about it. 15 mo old is way to early to expect a kid
to sit through story time. Take a peek one day when they're
holding storytime at the library - no 15-mo-olds there, I
It's true, some kids can focus better than others. My 2 kids
are very different that way. But even given that, kids really
don't take serious interest in books until their language and
cognition is good enough to keep track of a plot or storyline
across - 2.5 years at LEAST! My younger daughter is nearly 3
and she will only now last through a short, fast-paced book.
And for her, even know, it's not so much about understanding
a ''plot'' as listening to the rythyms of the words. (And the
pictures of course.) Definitely save Green Eggs and Ham until
at least 3 years old.
At this age, I think books should be treated like any other
kind of toy - it's great to expose your child to them but let
her take the lead about how to engage with them. There's a
reason that baby books are sturdy, with soft covers, some even
chewable. Kids are still mostly physical/tactile/oral at that
age. And definitely stick to picture books where you can (both)
identify recognizable pictures. Look, doggy! And then you can
move on to the blocks or the push toy and that's just fine.
Give yourself a break, mama!
Keep reading! The only way to build her interest and stamina is
through persistence. It's common for very active kids not to
sit still and listen but they can multitask a lot better than
we give them credit for. My own daughter, now 5, did sit still
and look at the book as a baby and toddler, but now often draws
or fools around with quiet toys while listening. Sometimes I
think she's not paying attention but if I ask her anything
about what I just read she answers promptly and correctly. Go
figure--I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time.
mom of a multitasker
Relax. I didn't make it all the way through Green Eggs until my
son was at least 5!
''Reading'' for a 15 month old can either be just talking through a
book - ''Look at the duck on this page - can you find the cow?
What does a sheep say? Can you point to the brown horse?'' - none
of which may be the actual words.
Or it's just about listening to you read the actual words and
hearing the rhythm and new vocabulary while she plays, maybe
stopping by to have a look every now and then (esp if you comment
on the illustrations).
She obviously ''gets'' it - that books are for handing to mommy and
having you read it. She's just not ready for the sitting still
part. It'll come.
Mom of Two
Your child is TOTALLY normal for a 15-month old. You are
teaching her to LOVE books, but she doesn't have the attention
span of a 3 or 4 year old yet. The fact that she's repeating
words you say at 15-months is fantastic! You are doing EXACTLY
what you should - don't worry about finishing the book if she's
on to something else. However, if she seems to play
independently while you're reading and you enjoy it - that's
Take good care
15 month olds are very ''busy'' getting excited about everything in sight, so this
behavior is very normal. The object of reading to a child is for them to get used to
the whole context of books. This means the physical books themselves, hearing
your voice, hearing the language that research shows is directly linked to better
learning later and yes, pulling them off the shelf. I remember thinking our daughter
only liked books for stepping on which was hard to stomach. She just LOVED the
feeling of the book covers under her tiny feet.
One thing I'd do if I were you is to follow her around as she gets up and walks away
from you rather than staying seated with that book on your lap. That way you may
be able to experience , as her ''right hand'' what's so exciting about all the busy-
ness she's into. Don't talk with her, just follow her and see what she's seeing
I do feel if she starts to throw books or crunch them like mine did, you can talk with
her the same way you would about petting an animal; ''touch softly'', ''don't throw
the book'', and show her how to handle them for the precious things they are. Doing
this really did carry forward for my kids.
My girls are AVID readers now in elementary school. We made sure we read every
single night to them, mostly with them on our laps just as you are, 365 days of the
year, the past approx. 7 years. That's about 2500 nights (yes, of course we've
missed some nights) of reading so far!! It's been the number one best thing we
could have done with and for our children.
Yes, it's normal.
Instead of reading the book as it's written, tailor it to her
attention span. Pick one object and say ''ooh, a red ball!'' (turn
page fast) ''ooh, a zebra!''
Sometimes, if I'm curious about a book, I will keep reading it
aloud, while they are on to another thing, passively listening.
Really though, don't worry. Your only job is to make sure that
whatever moments she wants to ''read'' a book are moments that
leave positive associations in her head, so she keeps coming back
Keep it simple and don't worry - her attention will increase with
age and interest in the subject matter.
P.S. Sing songy, rhythms or rhymes are the best for maintaining
attention, or so I've found. It's because the patterns are soothing.
Absolutely read to your child! You should let your child take the lead as far as how
long you read to them, since children are all different. My oldest child (who is 19
in college now) would sit for long periods of time when I read to her, and by age 3 we
were reading Charlotte's Web and other chapter books. My second child would not sit
still long enough for much reading and preferred more gross motor activities. I still
took her to the library and found that she preferred the books with tapes so that when
she was bored with the book, she was still listening to the story on the tape and
play at the same time. My two sons were equally different from each other - my
youngest enjoying books much more than my third child. They are all great students,
but have different learning styles. Go to the library and search for various mediums
kid's computer programs, books on tape, picture books, pop up books, etc. - keep
exposing your child to books, but let your child determine how long they can sit for
voice of experience
That is so funny to read--I thought it was just me! I have two
12 month old girls who do the EXACT same thing. They love
pulling books down, and will even point at pictures, but once I
try to hold the book and read to them, they just start trying to
take it back or they wander away. I just figure that if they
have any interest in books it's a good thing, and I'll keep
trying and when they're ready to listen to a story they will do
so. I suppose we could try putting them in bouncy chairs or
some other enclosing device (a crib, maybe?), and see if it is
any better. But I don't think it's anything to worry about
yet. I'm sure there's absolutely no harm in reading to her
while she's off playing with something else, it's better than
having TV or some other noise in the backround, but I don't feel
bad when my girls just aren't interested and I let them do their
thing. There's so much else to worry about, in the grand scheme
of things reading at that age is just a small ripple on the
pond's huge surface! She's articulating, interacting, and
active--be grateful you have a healthy beautiful daughter and
in the same boat
My son was still reading little board books at that age - he's
2-1/2 and he's only been able to make it through a book as long
as ''Green Eggs and Ham'' for a couple of months now. Some ideas:
try some really basic books that you can get through in 30
seconds - we liked the Sandra Boynton books (like ''Blue Hat
Green Hat'' or ''Moo Baa Fa-La-La''). Or just flip through the
books and talk about the pictures. (i.e.: ''There's a doggie.
There's a car.'') You might try one of those books with the
photos of babies - that was a big favorite. You don't have to
read any of the words - I found that my son liked it when I
pointed out the same things every time, and that eventually
morphed into reading words for short board books, and on to
reading longer story books. Good luck!
sounds about right. Don't worry about it. You're showing her the
pleasure of books, believe it or not, and a few years down the
line she'll actually comprehend a story or want to ''read'' it on
My 19-month-old daughter is and has always been like that as
well. As soon as I start reading to her, she is up and about
within 1 minute. I still continue to read to her because I
figure it still beneficial and she is starting to become more
interested in books than she was 6 months ago. What I've found
that has helped is that I don't actually ''read'' the book word
for word. I actually make things up with each page to keep it
short and also say it in a dramatic manner to try to keep her
attention a little longer. For example ''LOOK at the
Kitty...WOW! kitty goes meow-meoew'' then I turn the page, and
do the same. And this can be with her boardbooks or my
Yes! Keep reading to her. My now 2 year old was the same way
with books. He would bring them to me and then I would start
reading them and he would just walk away. I kept at it and now he
LOVES to be read to. And I don't mean a little 10 or 15 page
book but he will sit through a 95 page book!!! He has developed
an intense concentration and I am told that is very very
precocious for his age. He has memorized several books and will
sit and ''read'' to himself. I strongly urge you to keep at it. I
am doing the same for my 14 month old, who is just now beginning
to sit for a couple of minutes of reading time. I can see that
his concentration level is also starting to increase so I think
this is the way to go about it.
Mommy of boys that love books
My 15 month old isn't much different. She will sometimes sit through a book or two
now (short ones), but often her attention span is about 30 seconds, too. She'd
rather be up and about. I think that's normal for this age. You might want to try
varying the times of day that you read to her. Maybe she'll be more amenable to it
at a different time. Also, ''Green Eggs and Ham'' is kind of a long book. Stick to
short books that have textures or flaps or something interactive. Also, you don't
have to even read the books. Just talk to her about the pictures, or ask her to point
to certain things on the page. I find it helpful to get picture books at the library
a topic that my daughter is currently obsessed with. A month or so ago it was
dogs, now (after a recent plane trip), it's airplanes. She will sit through 3
books simply because it fascinates her now. I also think it is fine and even helpful
to continue reading the books even when she has left your lap and started playing.
At least she is hearing the language. Finally, I have made it a priority to read to
child. If she brings me a book, I do the best I can to immediately stop what I'm
doing (dinner, laundry, emails) to read to her. It's sometimes inconvenient, but it
sends the message that books are important. Good luck!
working on creating an avid reader
DOn't fret. At this age, ''reading to your child'' means ''enjoying
books together,'' the details of which will differ with different
kids. Looking at pictures, pointing to familiar things, etc. are
great. Green Eggs and Ham is pretty lengthy; I'd stick with
board books with simple pictures and few, if any, words - there
doesn't need to be a real story, and you can make one up as you
go along, if desired. Enjoying the feel of the book, turning the
pages, and maybe noticing the pictures is really fine.
My daughter was the same way. Always came and handed me a book to read, but
wouldn't sit still for more than 5 seconds in order for me to read them. Even when
going to bed. My pediatrician told me that it is just as good to read out loud when
your toddler is in the room doing something else. I did that and now she is over 2
loves books. SHe would sit and listen to me read all day if I would do it. Keep
They are absorbing it even though it may not seem that way.
The plot of the story (Green Eggs and Ham in your example) is not important, nor is
sitting through it. At 15 months, it's about developing an enjoyment of books.
that contribute to the enjoyment factor: Your full, undivided attention. Snuggling
a parent. Turning pages. Looking at pictures, pointing at the doggy, Mooing like the
cow in the picture. At 15 months, my son's favorite books were lift-the-flap type
books like ''Where's Spot?'' or the simplest of board books with basic pictures of
objects, bugs, trucks, etc. Even before that, the board books were simply used for
teething, and the love grew from there. Keep it up, and work within the limits of her
attention span, which will increase over time.
The attention span of your 15-month old is very short and that is
totally normal. I used to teach a family literacy class (many
years ago) and I was taught to tell parents to read to their
young children only as long as the child is interested.
You don't have to finish a book. The most important thing is that
you enjoy the time together & enjoy the book (it shouldn't be
forced). The more exposure to books, the more you are encouraging
her interest in books. If your daughter just wants to look at the
pictures and say her own words, that's great too. You are doing
just what you are supposed to be doing!
Just wanted to give you some assurances. I think for a very
active child, lots of movement and lack of attention during
reading is to be expected. I had a very active toddler, and
expectations of lovingly reading to my peaceful child to keep in
check. In truth, I was very disappointed to my daughter's
response to reading. Someone told me to read to her while she was
eating in her high chair and while she was in the bath. I read
almost exclusively in the bath for about a year with positive
results. I was able to finish a book or two beginning to end, and
I think her attention span was strengthened a bit by the process.
My daughter is almost four, and I read to her at least an hour a
day, every day. In fact, it pains me to have to tell her ''last
story for the night...no more'' because of the difficulty I had in
the beginning with reading to her.
Can anyone recommend a good book about being a big brother/big sister? My
son is 19 months and I am pregnant, due in December. I thought this might
help him prepare.
Congratulations on your second baby. We are in very much the same
situation (son 20 months old and due with #2 in December) and have been
reading our son two books that were recommended by his school & other
friends: ''I'm a Big Brother'' by Joanna Cole and ''My New Baby'' by
Annie Kubler. They're both great and our son asks to read them all the
time (though i don't think he really ''gets it''). Just so you know, the
second book is just pictures with no words so you can talk about whatever
for the story. Hope that that helps and all the best!
mom of a big-brother-to-be
I'm a Big Sister (Brother) by Joanna Cole. My daughter really likes it.
A in Alameda
My son was 3 when our baby was born. He enjoyed ''I'm a Big Brother'' by
Joanna Cole. The kids still read it together a year and a half later!
''You're all my Favorite'' by Sam McBratney (the author of ''Guess How
Much I Love You'' is good as reassurance that you love both kids the same.
Best of luck to you!
mom of 2
We have The New Baby, by Mercer Meyer. I like it because the concepts are
simple. The big brother is excited to share his toys and books, but is
frustrated when the baby doesn't respond the way he expects. And then the
mom tells him some ways to interact with a baby.
Our son was 26 months when his little brother was born, and the 2 books
he/we liked best were:
- ''My New Baby'' by Annie Kubler -- no words; simple pictures show the
dad making dinner with the big brother while mom nurses the baby and other
typical scenes; ends with mom and dad reading to b.b. while baby sleeps.
Kind of shows what to expect and reassures at the same time.
- ''Digger Man'' by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha - not about a new
baby per se, but about a big brother teaching/helping his little brother;
helped get him psyched about his new role (plus it has diggers in it,
always a plus for boys this age!).
I'm a psychotherapist who works with children and I have a book in my
office by Mr. Rogers for children who are going to become big brothers and
sisters that I really like.
I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole and Maxie Chambliss is a great book... my
son loved it when he became a big brother and now my daughter even loves
We absolutely loved the book ''The New Baby at Your House'' by Joanna
Cole. One of the things I like about it is that it useds photos, not
drawings, so I think kids can relate. There's a mix of families and
situations, and it covers everything from Mommy having to go away to the
hospital to it's ok to feel frustrated about the new baby. My son would
remind me of things we read in the book when he was dealing with his new
baby twin sisters.
Any recommendations on a good going-to-sleep book for a nearly
2-year old? We have the usual suspects for bedtime stories
(Goodnight Moon, Boyton's Going to Bed Book, Guess How Much I
Love You, etc.) but what I'm looking for is a quite literal book
about a kid going to bed. Like those books that help toddlers let
go of their pacifier, learn to use the potty, etc. Something we
can read together and talk about and apply to her bedtime. Thanks
for your suggestions!
You could try ''10 Minutes to Bedtime'' by Peggy Rathman. It's a
story about a child' pet hamster who leads hamster tours of the
getting-ready-for-bed process. It's almost entirely a picture
book, and very cute. I do have to let you know that the
illustrations are increasingly detailed as the story goes on, so
it may not be one to read at your child's actual bedtime. Too busy.
''How do Dinosaurs say goodnight'' by Jane Yolen is a good one.
A kinda weird question - we try to read to our 16mo old, but he
takes the books out of our hands and turns the pages real
quick, so we end up only saying the first few words on each
page. He does this on his own, and he brings books to us but
he still wants to turn the pages. Should we ''force'' him to
slow down so he understands that there are words and story, or
just let him flip the pages?
I ask because I hear all the time to ''read, read, read to your
kid....language developent... etc...'' but a few words every
page does not a cohesive story make..... so I am guessing that
this really does not ''count'' and am afraid we have been lacking
in this area because our Dr said he should be saying complete
words by now, and he only says shortened versions of words - ie
MMMmmm for milk, NaNa for nurse/mama, day-day for dance plus a
bunch of others that seem repeatable, and unique with tone and
inflection but we can not figure out what the words are. We
ask him to get this or do that and he follows directions so I
think he is compehending.
He definately can hear well, so I don't think that is the
issue, any advise? Is this normal, or should we make reading
much more structured?
Short Sentence Mama
This sounds pretty normal to me, and I wonder if you're just
reading books that are a little too advanced for your son's
age? My 23-month old has always been pretty verbal for his age,
but couldn't sit through ''Green Eggs and Ham'' until a few months
ago - and still frequently skips pages on many books to get to
his favorite parts (find the goat in Green Eggs and Ham, get to
the pumpkin in an alphabet book, etc.). So: if your son only
lets you read a few words per page, maybe you could try books
that only *have* a few words per page until he gets a little
older, but I can't believe that hearing only snippets of stories
would be harmful.
Not an expert, just a mom
This is EXACTLY what my daughter did at that age. I would just
read whatever words were on the page that she turned to. With
her, this phase did not last too long, and she would have me
read to her all day long now if I could. I think what you are
doing is great. I do think it's important for little ones to
be exposed to lots and lots of language when they are that
age. Don't worry about it not being structured. You are
creating a habit with him by him just sitting your lap looking
at the books and flipping the pages. He will begin to develop
more of an attention span as he gets just a little bit older
and you will be able to actaully get through an entire book.
Also, just have the books that you read to him now have a few
words on the page. I think of books like Moo, Baa, La La La.
Things like that. Just let him flip!
This is totally normal...the idea is for them to love books and
for this experience to grow with them. Right now, they want to
look at the pictures, find out what things are etc. At this age,
I used to just make up the story or read only 1 line on each
page. As your child grows up, he will have more patience to
listen to more of the story and it will seem like less of a
chore. In a year or so, you can read while running your finger
along the word to make your child realize that you are reading
words...that the story is there on the page. And when they get
to Kindergarden they will be excited when they can read these
words themselves. Let it evolve. But keep reading to build
weird? no, it's great! let your kid lead you. it's enough to
just point to pictures and say what they are, or play a game
and ask him where the dog/train/baby/apple/etc. is. as for
verbal development, they don't even look into it until 2 years
old. my son had 2 words, bye bye and baah for bath until 19
months old when things just started kicking in. kids develop
at different speeds and verbal skills often come slower in
boys. relax. enjoy your baby. he likes his books and that's
The point is to socialize our kids from an early age into books being a normal
enjoyable part of their lives. For a long time, my son basically played with
chewing on them. Later he enjoyed opening and closing books, threw books around,
etc. We'd sit together and look at only the pictures. He'd manage what page we
looked at and when we'd stop. Only recently (he's 21 months now) does he actually
enjoy my reading an entire story. Even then, it depends on the story. Some of the
books he wants me to read to him are a little long (more than a few words per
and so I'll just point at the pictures and kinda summarize quickly what's going
(''And there's the doggie. And then the little boy played with the doggie. And
look! The boy and the doggie found an ice cream!'', etc). Sometimes we'll just
the pictures on the page (''And that's a clock. And that's a door...'') The point
let him take the lead and we vary what we do with the books. Its more important
books remains fun and not overwhelming or frustrating.
I'm an ed psych PhD candidate and have read a fair amount of the research behind
early education and development. Rest assured that the point is not to have him
down and listen to a full story from infancy on. The research simply shows that
exposed to a home full of books and who live in a world where books and stories
are a daily part of life have an advantage in terms of literacy development once
get to school. Playing with books, flipping the pages, pointing out pictures
just as much.
A Toddler Mom
I'll be interested to hear what other folks say, but we have
basically the same experience with our kid the same age. My take
on it is, the more interest they show in books, the better. If
they want to flip through the pages rapidly, or chew on the
corners, fine. I'm assuming that eventually more interest in the
story will emerge, and for now am just happy that books and
''reading'' are seen as fun. Some favorite books I have memorized
so I can recite the full text even if the pages aren't in front
Your post made me laugh because I have the same experience with
MY 16 month old, and have since he was 6 months. He's a very
hands on kid and trying to get him to sit and do anything for
more than a minute is impossible. So I just don't. Why make it a
bad experience for him? At some point he'll be able to sit for
long periods, so I'll just wait for that. He does, however, enjoy
a group story time, at the library or at Studio Grow, so I take
him to those as often as I can
I think you should continue as is, and offer books every day
but let your toddler decide on how much to read. I, too,
stressed out about the message that you should read to your kid
from day one (even before!). I remember with my 1st kid, trying
to read to him from his plastic ''teether'' book at about 3 mos.
Now that seems ridiculous! It's true that pediatricians, etc.,
tell you to ''read'' but I think the meaning of that word will
change over time. It was only at about 18 mos. that my son was
reliably interested in books, and then we almost never read the
exact text but focused on identifying pictures (look! a doggy!)
or making up ''stories'' that he could understand (look! the
doggy is eating dinner!). The other thing we did was get books
with bright, simple pictures and scenes - not plots. Our
favorites were the Priddy Books, with a page like ''5 things
that are red'' and so on. Now, at 2 1/2, our son finally sits
still long enough to listen to short plots, but he still gets
impatient and turns the page if there are more than 2-3
sentences on 1 page.
As for the language, that is a different issue, but I think
clarity of speech at this age comes more from hearing people
speak than from reading per se. So, you can relax!
My two cents: We also want to encourage our son's love of books (he's 13 mos.),
we have tons of books around the house, and ''read'' together at least once a
These days, our reading sessions involve anything from him sitting in my lap,
quietly listening to the story and looking at pictures, to him turning pages
than I can see them, or even gnawing on the book and laughing while I try to
recreate the story from memory (since I can't see the text through all of that
All of these variations are fine with me, because he is learning to love books,
explore what they're all about (including how they taste, apparently). I know
intrigued by books in general, because he constantly pulls them off of the shelf
brings them to us. At this point, I just let him use the books in any way he
order to encourage that fascination. Lately he has begun to open books on his
babble seriously, then turn the page and babble seriously some more, as if
to himself, so I think he's picking up the general idea. I guess my (long-winded)
point is that the cohesiveness of the story isn't so critical at this stage,
reading/listening comprehension isn't really the goal - fostering a love of books
(Also, I am not a doctor, so please do not take my post as any kind of medical
advice, but I can tell you this: I know many, many kids (mostly boys) who didn't
to use coherent words until they were 17 or 18 mos., and they are all perfectly
bright, normal kids now.)
Less Structure OK With Me
We read to our 16 month-old and he is getting more and more
patient. Now, he loves books. He used to flip the pages fast,
too. I think instead of getting him to slow down, you need to
change your expectations and just go along with him. He doesn't
need to ''learn'' that books have a narrative right now. It is fun
to flip the pages and it familiarizes them with books. My son
used to really love looking at kids' books that have photogrphs
of everyday objects (commonly found at bookstores) and id the
photos. Now he likes to sit through story books, too, as long as
there are not too many words on each page. The children's
librarian at our local library thought he was really patient
sitting for books, for his age, so it sounds like your boy is
right on track. I encourage you to have fun with it and not turn
it into a battle or a ''learning opportunity''. That 's the fastest
way to ruin the pleasure of reading.
As for speech, my son is barely talking right now. I think your
ped. is way off on that. I think both our kids are well in the
range of normal
My 16-month-old does the exact same thing when we're reading
together. He loves to ''read'' and is always running to me with a
book in his hands, but like yours, he flips through the pages
faster than I can read them! And these are usually very simple
board books too.
His language is similar to yours too.
I have a feeling it's normal and that you will see posts from
other parents saying it's similar for them. I think it's
wonderful that our toddlers are enjoying the reading experience,
even if it seems odd right now from our point of view.
Lisa in Oakland
Your son's behavior is completely normal. Certain children are
much faster with wanting to be read to than others. This is his
way of being together with you and enjoying your attention.
It's similar to the toy in the big box. We purchase the toy as
a play item, but the true gift to the child is the big box.
It's just his way of enjoying something that you offer to him.
My daughter loved being read to and we started this at a very
young age. She always loved it and still does. However, my son,
who is no 2 1/2, has extremely little interest. He used to act
like your son does; turn pages and then move on to the next
book. Now he loves reading certain basic stories,
like ''Goodnight Moon'' and other simple story lines. He wants
the reading time to be more interactive - he wants to
participate. My daughter loved listening to the stories.
Different people, that's all!
Don't worry about the talking thing either. Completely normal!
Sure, there are kids who can say complete sentences by his age,
but my friend's 4-yr old still babbles a lot and I can't
understand most of what she says. Your son is just fine!
I'd suggest looking for board books with just a sentence or two
per page and for lift-the-flap books. My now 18-month-old fell in
love with ''Moo, Baa, La La La'' by Sandra Boynton several months
ago. She still won't sit down for a traditional story, but she
loves reading time. Sandra Boynton's books are great for this age
(''Doggies''--a counting and barking book--is her current favorite,
she also loves ''The Belly Button Book''). She's also very fond of
''Dear Zoo'' and ''Daisy's Hide and Seek,'' both of which have one
sentence per page, a lot of repetition, and flaps to lift.
And I say go ahead and let him turn the pages, you want to
communicate that reading is fun, not a chore. Kids at this age
just aren't designed to sit still for long.
Your 16mo.old child seems to be doing just fine. My 21 months
old is the same way with books. You can not sit down and read
to her b/c she grabs the book out your hand and says, she will
read. So we let her. We just pick another book and read that
to her while she is looking at her book. She listens to our
reading because she tells us to keep reading if we stop.
Second, reading books to your child will not create a reader in
your family. Studies have shown that having books around your
child and accessible to him will raise a reader. Also, as he
gets older, he will sit through stories.
Finally, boys start talking much later than girls. The fact
that he merely makes some sounds and does not say full words is
very common. Many boys do not start talking or saying words
until age 2 or older.
your 16 mo behavior is totally typical. I don't think you have
to read to him now for comprehension, it is more just showing
interest and attention to books--so let him do what he wants as
long as you are both interacting with the book.
Perhaps you can get some real simple books that have to words
(Donald Crews) or very few words and just talk while he is
flipping through the book. I mean, how will he know if you are
really reading the story anyway?
It is more just the habbit of hanging out with books that is
important at this age. Also, introducing the idea that books are
treated differently than other objects (they go on a shelf, we
don't tear the pages, etc.) is important to introduce at this point
mama to reading 5 yo
My 17-month-old daughter is the same way. I value reading, always
envisioned lovely storytime hours with my baby, and felt utter
disappointment when my child tore through the books before I
could even read one sentence to her. After some research, I have
come to see that my child is extremely physical and
high-spirited. She just doesn't have the patience and controls to
sit through a story. But I have not given up. I now make games of
her choosing her books, bringing them to me, and screaming out
the most identifiable word on the page before it whizzes by.
BUTTERFLY! GREEN EGGS! We laugh. I feel the bonding experience.
And I know that I'm demonstrating that I value reading because of
these exercises, as well modeling to her as I enjoy my own books.
Try not to worry, and pick up your own book. Your toddler will
likely value what you value. BTW, I often read my books standing
up so that my daughter can't rip them out of my hands. Or, I read
sitting on the toilet while she is enjoying her bath
I could never read to my children as babies/young toddlers,
either -- neither had any sort of attention span for it. When I
tried, they acted like yours does. Unlike yours, each developed
language skills early, and it certainly wasn't because they were
read to! Common sense suggests that reading is not as key to
language development as speaking and communication, so as long as
you are constantly interacting and communicating the language
development should come. If it does not, I suppose you might
want to see a specialist. If your pediatrician is concerned,
he/she should suggest some experts and/or strategies for you
Don't stress about it - your child's development seems pretty
normal, both with language and the interest in books. Right
now he likes turning the pages, maybe looking at a couple of
pictures - hurray! It's fine that he isn't ready to sit for a
whole story, and many kids aren't at that age - mostly you want
him to see reading as an enjoyable activity, which won't happen
if you try to force it. The benefit kids get from reading is
both developing a love of reading and language acquisition, but
language happens any time to speak to your child and use words,
not just when you are telling a story. My nephew couldn't sit
for a story until he was almost 3 - what his Dad finally did
was he would take the book and just read out loud near him,
even though he couldn't sit to listen the whole time he was
hearing the story as he puttered around. As for your son's
vocabulary, it also sounds pretty normal - both of my boys
weren't producing many understandable words at that age. My
older one was quite behind in language development until he was
about 2 ys 9 mos, when all of a sudden his vocabulary exploded
and now he is very verbal without any delays. They all take
their own time with it - if he is hearing normally try not to
get too anxious
You're doing fine Mama! This is normal. I have a 3 YO and a 1
YO (15 mo's). I would say the 15mo just got ''into'' books with in
the last 2 months. She is quite active, so doesn't sit still.
(quite the opposite of her sister, 3YO, who loves books and was
pretty much speaking by this same point. so i'm having my own
hard time trying not to compare them) If your baby will sit,
just long enough to quickly flip the short board books, I find
you cannot ''read'' the story, but point out words in the
book. ''Bunny'', (point) see the bunny? Bunny has shoes on.
Point to shoes ''Shoes''., etc. After we've done a specific book
a few times, then I might ask questions. Where's the bunny?
Show mama the shoes. She's starting to point to the objects!
Also I give her books in the car or if we have to go to the
grocery story, etc. She's getting used to holding the book, and
flipping the pages herself. Doesn't matter if it's upside down.
Doesn't matter if she's flipping the book and jabbering gobeldy-
gook. She's getting the idea. In the past two mo's we've moved
from the 'fast flip' of one board book before bed to a slower
flip of two board books before bed. She's starting to be still
enough to listen to a little of the story. I paraphrase a lot.
Since the intro of the books, she is exploding with new words
everyday, so then I find most of my time with her is pointing to
things and naming them. She tries the words, not always
understandable, but if she tries, I exclaim! Yes, that's
right ''towel'' and say the word again. I think the
routine/repetition of reading before bed (or nap- or both!) gets
them the idea and then they are more apt to realize this is a
special time with you and they will start wanting more. It's
very exciting this stage. I love it. Enjoy!
I'm a children's librarian and the mother of a 15-month-old boy. I can't really
address your nervousness that your son doesn't speak enough words -- except to
say that my kid, who loves to be read to, speaks in fragments as well, so I'm not
sure reading has much to do with speech. (I think hearing books builds passive
vocabulary, or understanding, more than active vocabulary, or speaking.) But I do
have a professional answer to your query as to whether you should make reading
''more structured.'' I say NO, NO, NO!
It's terrific that your son enjoys books in his own way, and to force him to go
through the books more slowly and completely (if you even could) will very probably
destroy whatever enjoyment he already has. Don't think about the book ''counting''
or not, as you put it -- just have a good time together! I think the main goal of
reading to your toddler (or child of any age) is to teach that books are fun. That's a
real gift you can pass along. If you're still concerned about language acquisition, I'd
concentrate on pointing out *real* objects rather than making reading time lesson
Having said that, maybe you need to try different books, ones that can be read
rapidly. You mentioned that ''a few words every page does not a cohesive story
make,'' and that makes me think that the books you're reading are too complex.
There's no need for a ''story'' at this age -- try one of the many ''word books'' that
have one object and one word per page. Nursery rhymes are also good, because
even if he whips through the page turns you can keep saying the rhyme without
looking at the words -- we liked ''Tomie DePaola's Baa Baa Black Sheep'' from an
early age. Also, how about lift-the-flap books, like ''Where's Spot?'', that will
physically engage your son? (Your local children's librarian should have more title
suggestions for you.) Finally, who says you have to stick to the words on the page?
Have an informal conversation about the book -- ''Where's the cat? What does the
cat say?'' -- and see if that is more appealing to your son at this point.
And when your son is in third grade and wants to read only comic books, please
don't tell him that those books don't ''count'' either. A love of reading is its own
Not to worry about your son's speaking abilities. Given that his hearing's okay, I'd say
your doctor is being a little rigid in his/her expectations. My husband didn't say a word
until he was two, then suddenly spoke in complete sentences. He now has his
doctorate from UCB.
As to reading, I would just follow your son's lead and let him ''read'' the way he wants
to. The point is for him to develop a positive attitude towards books. He'll come
around to wanting to know more about what's in them in his own time.
Kimberly in Alameda
Like the other people who answered, my daughter has been the same. Now, at 16
months, she is finally starting to be able to sit still a little longer as we look at
books, but previously, she did exactly the same thing as your child. Even now, she
prefers the books that identify things (animals, colors, daily objects) to those with
Currently, she says only a few words: mama, dada, bye-bye, hi/hello, hi there. I
don't know WHERE your ped gets off suggesting your child should be speaking
more. Absurd, every child is different. While the other kids in my daughter's play-
group may speak more words, my daughter signs like gang-busters, signing in 2
and 3 word sentences, even (occasionally), so I know she comprehends much more
than she speaks (out loud). Sounds as if your kid is the same, so there's nothing to
worry about with regard to verbal development
Mommy of Signing Sally
Plan on going through a stack of books at a time. This is how you ''read'' to your son
now. Speed reading! Later, it'll progress to actual words. Try pointing to one thing on
each page and saying ''there's a brown dog - woof! woof!'' or ''Do you see the girl
running?''. Don't force anything & keep it fun. Both my kids started that way and are
My advice which is a little bit different than the others is to
pay attention to the progress that your son makes in speaking.
While many moms will tell you that their child didn't speak at
all until 2 or later and then spoke in complete sentences, if
you think that your child can't form complete words, get a free
speech evaluation from your health insurance or from the
Regional Center of the East Bay. When my 18 month old son only
had a few words but had perfect hearing and comprehension, I
had him evaluated and we could have started speech therapy
then. I decided to wait until he was two, when he only had a
few dozen words to start speech therapy. I wish that I had
started earlier. Don't listen to people who say that they or
their child didn't speak until they were two or later. While
that is true for some, if your child is one who needs speech
therapy, this is the best time to get it and it's free from the
state until a child reaches three. Don't obsess about it but
take what your doctor says seriously enough to determine your
own child's needs. Every child is different.
I would love to find a book with pictures and names of adult and
baby animals (cow/calf, horse/foal, etc.) For a bright
I used to read ''I'm a Baby, You're a Baby'' by Kopper to my storytimes for 2- and 3-
year-olds. No pictures of the adult animals, but the text allows for a fun guessing
game: ''I'm a baby, you're a baby; we are baby horses ... foals!''
There are others -- do you know the reference book ''A to Zoo''? It lists picture
books by topic (from baby animals to loss of a family member). Your local library
will have it, and the librarian can help you with it
My kids were given a board/lift-the-flap book that has one page
with adult and baby animals. The other pages are animal sounds,
colors, what they eat. It's been a real hit with my daughter
(now 5), and my 3 year old son still loves it. It's an ''Active
Minds'' book, called simply _Animals_. Now that I look at it, it
was apparently published by Leapfrog, in 2001
My son has a subscription to Wild Animal Baby from the National Wildlife Federation
(www.nwf.org). It is a small book that comes out 10 times a year and is geared toward
toddlers. The front pages always have pictures of a baby animal with it's mom or dad,
and a couple of facts about the animal. My 2 1/2 year-old loves it and already can
name more types of animals than a lot of adults. Most libraries also have a
subscription that you can look at in the children's section.
Usborne books has 2 board books that might do. One is ''Baby
Animals Board Book'' - 0-7460-1976-9 and the second is ''Animals
Baby Board Book'' - 0-7460-4102-0. My favorite book is the
''Complete Book of Farmyard Tales'' - 0-7945-0902-9. It includes a
CD that is great for naptime and bedtime relaxing. My 2-year old
grandchild loves that book and the CD.
Check out the books at
My favorites are, ''Mama, Mama'' and ''Papa, Papa'' by Jean
Marzollo and ''Time for Bed'' by Mem Fox
I didn't read your original post, but I definitely second the recommendation of Mem
Fox's book, ''Time for Bed.'' One of my all-time favorites is ''Guess How Much I
You'' by Sam McBratney (a classic about a father and son rabbit.)
My son is 26 months and very interested in colors. He seems to have mastered
identifying the basic primary colors and I would like to start talking about different
colors (violet, aqua etc.) Does anyone have any book recommendations or
suggestions for a different approach to colors? Thanks
Try Little Blue and Little Yellow.
This sets the stage for talking about color mixing and secondary
I recommend Betty Edwards on Colors. She wrote Drawing from the
Right Side of the Brain.
This is mainly dealing still with primary colors, but if you
haven't read it yet, Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is very
I'm a big fan of My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. It ties
various colors to emotions. Our girl (now 4 1/2) really like it
when she was a toddler.
Here it is on Amazon:
There's also a board book version, which is what we have.
My kids (2 and 5) got a lovely book for Christmas that is about
color. It's called *Color, Color, Where Are You Color* and it is
by Mary Koski and illustrated by Janeen Mason. It has all the
usual suspects in terms of color, but also has some non-typical
colors. The page with gold says, ''Gold, gold, is your story told?
Poppies and aspen and honey to hold. Wheat fields at dawn, fur of
a fawn- look all around you, and find something gold.'' The
illustrations are beautiful and the kids love to point to stuff
around the room that are, in this case, gold.
My 18 month-old son loves stickers but burns through them so
quickly and they are so expensive! (He puts them on paper or a
door we let him decorate.) I found an internet site that sells
stickers very cheap (oriental trading company) but it still
seems wasteful and each sticker gets only seconds of use (except
for the occasional reuse of a sticker). Are there any good
sticker books out there where you can reuse the stickers and
move them around throughout the pages of the book? My son is
really into construction vehicles (excavators, etc.), trucks,
trains and animals so sticker books with any of those themes
would be a bonus. Thanks!!!
Amazon has a ton of reusable sticker books for sale
(search ''Sticker Picture Books'' at Amazon), and I'm sure you can
find them locally, too. Themes include construction, rescue
vehicles, the aquarium, the airport, baseball, the rainforest -
everything. They're about $5 a pop. We've tried 3 or 4 so far
and some seem to be more reusable/repositionable than others,
but our 2.75yo loves them - and they're great for travel because
they're compact and quiet.
Yes, these exist--look for a brand called
Sandylion. We got two
Sandylion reusable sticker books at Mr.
Mopps (a while back), and
my son loved them. They were especially
great for bringing on trips.
Stick 'em once, stick 'em twice, reusable
sticker books are so nice
I just bought a bunch of board books at a thrift store and I'm
wondering how to clean them? My husband thinks we should just
throw them out, that they could be harboring germs, but that
seems overkill to me ... new books are covered with chemicals,
Anyone have a healthy technique to clean board books?
Wipe them down with a rag and non toxic cleaner of choice and then open and set out in the sun to dry. The sunshine will kill anything left on them.
I just soaped up with a sponge, and wiped them off, and dried them. I didn't worry much about ruining them since I only paid 50cents or so for each, but none of them was ruined. I wiped off the edges and each of the pages. You could also spray them with a vinegar/water spray. But do wipe them dry. I never had any problems.
Any suggestions for great kids books to help a toddler sleep
through the night and/or night wean? I'm looking for something
along the lines of the Once Upon A Potty book, which worked great
for potty stuff. Now I'd like something cute for him that
''teaches'' him it's ok to sleep all night, and/or ''wait til
morning'' before having more breast milk.
-tired of being sleep deprived
I'd like to kiss the feet of whomever recommended this book to
me. It has changed everything. My little one sleeps from 6pm to
7am every night ... and takes an 1.5 hr nap every day.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child ...
We made our own book with our 5 year old: wrote down all the
steps about what to do/happens when he wakes up in the middle of
the night and how to try to go back to sleep, etc. then took
digital photos of him doing all the things. Granted, we still had
to do some other gentle interventions (we started reading the
book about a week before the ''interventions'') but it really
seemed to help him feel more in control and reassured. He's
sleeping pretty well now but I often find him reading ''his book''
to himself. Good luck.
Sleepless for Too Long
I don't know the name of any kid's book that addresses this
issue, but when we were doing sleep training when our daughter
was about 9-12 months old, we consulted Meg Zweiback, who had a
suggestion that helped. We told stories with bears (Mommy bear
and Baby bear) about going to bed. We would tell her about the
bed time routine (which is always the same, bath, pj's, brush
teeth, story, nurse) and then part of the story would be about
her waking up at night and crying. ''Little Bear wakes up and
cries, 'Mommy, mommy!' And Mommy Bear says to Little Bear, 'Go
back to sleep, Little Bear, everything's OK.' But Mommy Bear
stays in her room and Little Bear stays in her crib and goes
back to sleep . . . '' Well, you get the idea. It's kind of
silly-sounding, but our daughter really got into it and later
would repeat part of the story back to us. Good luck!
Finally sleeping through the night
We're looking for a visual dictionary for use with our 13 month
old. He's at the stage where he points at things and wants to
know the sound and matching ASL sign. But it is not always clear
just what he's pointing at in a cluttered picture.
We have the Webster's Children's Visual Dictionary (ISBN
0-7853-101402) but it is a bit too much (the difference between a
suspension bridge and a bascule bridge seems a bit academic at
the moment, as does the distinction betwen a sarong and kabaya).
It will be great later.
For now we're looking for something simple, with one picture per
page, for easy pointing. Either photographs or drawings would be
good, we're not sure what's best. Any ideas?
When my daughter was 15 months old, she also loved to point to pictures and hear
what she was seeing. We spent lots of time in bookstores looking at books that
would have many images that we could label for her. None of these we found have
single pictures per page, but as your son can point more easily perhaps that won't
be as much of a problem? (A benefit of the multiple images per page is that the
book doesn't get old as quickly! We could always flip to a new page and find some
things of interest.) I'm listing these in our approximate order of preference. She's
now 2 years old and still enjoys them.
1. Betty Root, My First Dictionary, DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), 1993. Mix of
photos and drawings. Words and short written definitions (making it easier for
adults to come up with something to say about it!).
2. Gyo Fujikawa, Gyo Fujikawa's A to Z Picture Book, 1974 (though has had later
editions). Possibly out of print, but copies are available at Amazon. All drawings,
no definitions. A page or two per letter, with cute drawings of things starting with
that letter. Some of the spreads are a little strange (which is why I haven't put this
at #1) but others are delightful. Our daughter loved this one.
3. Betty Root, My First Dictionary, Parragon Publishing, 2002. All drawings (no
photos), with short definitions. By same author as #1, so very similar in content and
text, but we didn't like it quite as much.
4. The American Heritage Picture Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin, 2003. All drawings
(no photos). Some words are used in a sentence, others have no text. They use the
same characters in pictures over and over, so there is some sense of continuity, but
this doesn't add much. Overall fine, but I prefer ones that include definitions.
I don't have a one-item-per-page book to recommend, but the
Roger Priddy picture books are fantastic. These were our
daughter's favorite books until she was about 18 months old.
There are many of them and they're beautiful. Our daughter used
sign language, too, a lot of it. She learned many, many words
from these books and their very clear pictures. There's a good
selection of Roger Priddy books at Mr. Mopp's.
Roger Priddy fan
My baby boy (17 month old) is very active. I am trying to induce
the habit of reading books to him but so far havent suceeded. He
will look at a picture book for 5 sec then keep it aside. Even
if I read aloud the book to him, he does not pay attention. Any
I was in your place just a couple months ago. My son, now 21
months, would not sit still for a book. I did worry that he
wouldn't learn, and that it would be a problem -- but I decided
not to push it. The only thing I did is get lots of pop up and
peek a boo books bcs he seemed more interested when he could
physically interact with the book (opening flaps, sliding pages
open). I also just let him destroy those books (bcs he really
wanted to do it himself, and it was hard for him to be gentle).
And you know here we are a few months later and he loves sitting
down and reading books with us. He points to things, says all
the words, laughs because he knows a joke is coming up (a turkey
with a shoe on his head? oh my!) etc. So my general e! xperience
and belief is that you just kind of have to let them pursue
their interests in their own time frame, and not push.
That boy loves to run
Try reading ''interactive'' books - books where you lift a flap, pull
something out, or an animal pops up. These got my very active child
hooked on reading books, and also allowing her to turn the pages. I
also didn't force her to sit on my lap - we'd lie on the rug next to
My boy reads now because he saw me reading all the time from his
infancy and wanted to copy me. This was sort of counter-
intuitive for me--I wondered if he would resent my reading
because it was taking me away from him. But somehow he liked it
when I read on my own in front of him--it meant I was nearby but
not bugging him, he could do his own stuff and know I was! right
there. He just made the association that reading is what grown-
ups do, it's what people do when they aren't babies. So he
wanted to learn to do that, too. (He also thinks when you're
grown up, you read to other people, so he likes to read to me,
which I love.) I think 17 months is a great time to do that.
Your boy is lucky that you're thinking about that for him now.
Mom with Boy and Books
When my almost 4-year old daughter was a baby we read somewhere
that one thing you can do to get your kids into reading is to
make sure they see YOU reading books to yourself. The easiest
time for this, we found, is early in the morning if you have
an ''early riser''. Let your son play by himself while you sit
near him and read to yourself. This also works at other times
in the day, of course, we just found that the early morning
time is when the kid! s have a lot of energy and we were still at
an energy low. In any event, my children do see us read
regularly and both my daughter and my 19 month old son LOVE
books. I just have to remember to hide ''Brown Bear, Brown Bear
What do you See?'' to stay sane...
My son was never interested in books until he turned 2 - At
that age he became interested in turning the pages and looking
at the pictures, and eventually he wanted to hear the story
too. I wouldn't push it, it just takes time. Now my son is
4.5 and loves to listed to stories for 1/2 every night, even
stories without pictures! Just leave the books around, and he
will let you know when he is ready.
loves to read too
Don't sweat it. Kids are different; maybe yours can teach my
book-fiend toddler how to be more active. 17 months is too
! young for most children to follow a story, so I wouldn't expect
him to sit still for that as you read to him. Picture books are
great, so you can keep doing that, asking him to show you things
in the book, flipping through it, etc. . . don't focus too much
on the idea of ''reading'' as much as the idea of having fun with
books. There are simple picture books designed around themes,
so you can pick a theme that he's interested in (animals,
trucks, whatever). Or, if such books seem too simplistic, go
with something like the Richard Scarry books, which are chock
full of things to look at. Build it in to the routine, like
with bedtime or pre-naptime stories, at a time when he'll be
less active, and more wanting to snuggle up with you anyway. Go
to the library and let him explore the kids' section. Make sure
he sees you reading. And enjoy!
Interactive books are great: touch-and-feel ones, or ones that
make sounds, even pop-ups. Add a lot of suspense and drama to
your telling of the story. Try singing stories (this old man,
there was an old lady who swallowed a fly, etc.)Edit down the
text, you can make the stories very simple to start with, then
gradually add back the more complete text with repeated
readings. Read mostly when he's worn out and tired and happy to
rest on your lap. And mostly very simple board books. And keep
trying... without ever making it into an activity to resist.
First, find books that appeal to him. Maybe take him to a
bookstore and get the books he picks up and plays with. There's a
great bookstore with a great kids section in Orinda Village (
north of the fwy).They have low racks so the kids can see the books.
Then find a nice quite time during the day, maybe a time when you
cuddle him or rock him and enjoy closeness.
Then put out the books and let him choose one. Let him do it all,
choose the book, turn the pages, point at what he likes, close
the book when he's done. I don't read the text to my daughter. I
comment on what she's pointing at,mostly by naming things for her
like ''that's a birdie''. When she closes the book I say ''the end''
and let her look thru the rest of the books to find another to
look at.Sometimes she looks for 30 seconds sometimes for 5
minutes. It depends.
After she gest to know a book, I sometimes say ''where's the X''
when she opens a page with something of interest on it. This lets
her look for it and show me that she knows her words. A great
book for this is Goodnight Moon which has kitties and a mousie to
look for on nearly every page.
I read with her daily.Don't make it a struggle. Let him ''drive.''
I don't have a boy so I'm not sure of this but you might also try
some of the books with wheels on them ( they really roll like a
car). They have topics like trucks and construction trucks and
stuff) That might be of interest ot him. My daughter likes them
and we got them used from a posting on this network.
My boy is very active too, and I've been trying to introduce him
to reading for many months now. At 20 months now, he has
settled down quite a bit, so your child may just grow into it,
but I would suggest trying some different books. My boy is
particularly enchanted by books that have little flaps to look
under as you read the story. It really engages him in the whole
experience. Also, for some reason, he is more likely to sit
still with his dad for stories than with his mom, so you might
give dad a try and see if he fares any better. Also - sometimes
my son wants to read the pages out of order, and that's okay
too. Sometimes he is happier talking about the pictures on the
pages than actually reading the story. I think it's good to be
flexible in this regard.
Don't waste time worrying that you didn't start ''soon ! enough'',
just hang in there and you are bound to see some progress.
Mom of active child
Whatever you do, don't make reading boring, or a chore, or
something he ''has to pay attention to.'' That will surely spoil
it! My advice is don't worry. I was a bit concerned when my
son as a baby and small toddler didn't pay attention to books
for more than a page or so. But he loves books now at 3 and a
half, and we even read chapter books with no pictures already
at bedtime. So my advice is to just keep reading to him and
exposing him to books. It doesn't matter that he only pays
attention for 5 seconds. Let him pay attention for 5 seconds,
and then go on to something else if he doesn't come back in a
minute or two. We had the best times with picture books during
bathtime (with a few good rubber books to ''read'' over and over)
and after pajamas we! re on in bed for nighttime reading (he had
a little less energy to zoom off then).
With an established routine and some tips, your child will soon
be demanding that you read with him. He'll soon realize shared
reading is one of the easiest ways to command your attention.
You can find family literacy tips on the internet (e.g.,
http://www.famlit.ca/resources/resources.html) but a visit to
your local public library's children's librarian may be the
most straightforward approach. He or she can see how you read
and interact with your son, and offer constructive tips - and
good books to start!
A librarian (of course)
Just wait. He's just not ready yet. He will be one day. Give it
a month, take a book out again and read to him and see how he
does then. Still not inter! ested? Wait another month. Continue to
keep books around; have him see you reading; you might try
reading (even just 1 or 2 pages) at bedtime when it's quiet and
cozy. (You may already be doing this), but if he's a hi-energy
child, don't try to get him to read when he's zooming around.
Choose a more quiet time when he might be able to focus better.
I had a friend who used to read to her son while he was in the
bath in the evening!
I have a 13 yo daughter and 9 yo son. They both love reading
now, and I still read every nite to the boy (she reads on her
own), but he was definitely not as interested as a baby as his
sister was. Boys are wired differently and have different
priorities (at most points in their lives), it seems to me. At
17 mo your son is probably much more interested in how the world
works, but he'll get into reading (and writing) when he sees a
need for it. (As a matter of fact, I think my son first got
interested in reading words when he realized that they had an
impact on all the vehicles he was so crazy about -- road signs,
words on trucks, etc.) My daughter knew the alphabet by 2 1/2
yo, was writing (with spelling assistance) little love notes to
the family at 4 (yes, it was very sweet)...her brother didn't
even really know the whole alphabet (nor how to write the
letters) until mid way thru kindergarten. He is now an excell! ent
reader --has been for years -- and still absolutely adores a
significant amount of visual and physical stimulation (cuz he's
a boy and he always will be).
FYI: There is lots of really fascinating new research about
brain development out there these days, but one thing I read
awhile ago said that the part of the brain that is responsible
for reading/writing/lang development isn't fully ready to ''work''
(isn't fully myelinated, technically speaking) in a boy until
about age 7 (for girls it's age 4). In contrast, the spacial
acuity part of the brain is ready to go in boys much earlier
than in girls. So there ya go. Just enjoy your son where he's at
for the moment, try things gently, and trust your instincts.
My oldest son was just to busy being active to stop and do much
reading; but he's 9 years now and loves reading and being read
to. Just keep offering books and it will happen.
This is a response to the mother of an active 17-month old who
didn't want to be read to. My son was initially too active to
read to except when he was nursing and sleepy. Even now - he's
five - we normally only read to him at bedtime, or at potty time.
I started with one or two very short books with lots of pictures
of things that interested him - trucks, trains, and construction
equipment, and worked our way up to five or ten books per night.
I figure one way to instill a love of reading is to make it a
cozy and happy time, like it was for me as a child. I want him to
like the library so I let him son pick out what he wants, which
is mostly videos, and one or two books. I pick out 5-10 books he
might like. My husband doesn't read much for pleasure, so I am
not taking for granted that my son will have a love of reading
unless I cultivate it. (My kid only occasionally looks at picture
books wh! en not being read to, so I wouldn't expect that with your
I don't really have a problem, I would just like some advice.
My 13 month-old daughter is crazy for books, to put it mildly.
She spends hours (literally) paging through books.
Sometimes she ''reads'' them to herself, saying the words
that she knows (duck, frog, cheese, etc.) Sometimes she
just turns the pages rapidly.
When she wakes up in the morning and I go in to get her,
she doesn't say ''mama,'' she says ''book,'' and she wants to
run over to her bookshelf for a joyful reunion.
If we are in an environment in which there are no books (at a
park, for example), my daughter is very interested in playing
on the slide, running around, etc. However, if she were to
see a book while playing, she would stop and immediately
switch over to book mode.
I am pleased that my daughter shows a strong interest in
reading and books, but I am wondering if this is normal
behavior, or if I should make a stronger attempt to
supplement her book mania with other toys? She does
have plenty of other things to do in her room, but remains
uninterested in any activity but books.
Her book mania took hold at around 10 months and shows
no signs of stopping at 14 months.
I am a first-time mom and I don't know what, if anything, I
should do about this. I guess I just want to know if there is
anyone else out there whose child went through the same
phase, and what happened in the end.
Baby Bookworm has me Baffled
Wow, what an interesting little person you have! I say relax,
she's showing a strong interest very early, and one that will
only be positive for her in the future. Both my sons showed
_very_ early and strong interest in, what else? trucks. Not
necessarily the obsession I would've chosen for them, but there
it is. Their interests expand, though, so please don't fret.
Worrying about what's ''normal'' can drive a poor parent crazy.
Enjoy your child, encourage her interests, and don't worry about
what other kids are doing.
Please don't worry about your daughter's book mania yet. There
are much worse things she could be into.
I was the exact same way when I was a wee one. If there was
something to read, I was happy. The nice thing is, I could read
when I was in preschool b/c I was so into it. I read
Charlotte's Web in kindergarten. And I am *still* a bookworm.
I have 21 books checked out from the library at the moment. =)
If I got in big trouble my parents would send me to my room.
They quickly learned that was no punishment at all as I would be
content to just sit and read. So eventually my punishment was
to have all my books taken away for the afternoon. I still
laugh about it.
The mania part of it may just be a phase, but you may have
yourself a life-long bookworm and insatiable learner!
enjoy your little bookworm
Dear Baby Bookworm -- I could have written your post. My
daughter is 14 months going on 15 and has not stopped her book
mania either. I'm not worried about it, actually I think it's
very positive. My daughter also would be uninterested in other
activities. When she's on her own, she always go to her books
and ''reads'' them to herself endlessly. What I try to do is when
I think she's been into them for too long, I will instigate a
game or we'll go outside or I'll play with her doing something
else besides reading. We do read before bed as well and she
likes to sit and read together as well as read on her own. As
for what else might be helpful instead, at least for my
daughter, the latest 'toy' she's caught onto is playing with a
baby doll. She's doing so many things herself now like kissing &
hugging and patty cake and waving bye bye. We do all these
things with the dolly too. It intrigues her that the 'baby' can
do it too. Maybe your daughter would enjoy this too? Unless
the 'problem'(?) is getting in the way of her social development
or hurting her, I don't think you need to be worried. This
book 'phase' has not ended with my daughter yet. I also think
that since they are such sponges right now, books are their
introduction to hundreds of other words, actions, etc, that it's
one of the only ways you could possibly 'give' them all these
experiences so that they can take it all in and begin to
understand all of the things in the world around them. I truly
hope that the books will be a lifetime love. I guess I didn't
really have too much advice, just sharing with you. Feel free to
My daughter is the same way -- she loves books, and has from a
very early age. She is now 3.75 years old and has lots of
interests and still loves books. She's really reading them now!
I delight in it and encourage you not to worry. Your baby will
Welcome to the club! My daughter started sounding out letters at
2, reading actual words at 3, and putting the whole thing
together at 4, so that now, at 5, she is rabidly consuming
chapter books like ''Pippi Longstocking,'' and ''Charlotte's Web'' on
her own. Books are her one true love -- even at Christmas,
everything stopped when she got a book for a present and had to
read the whole thing then and there.
There are a few things that we have to pay attention to: 1)
there are times when we think reading is not appropriate (at the
table, in certain social situations, if we're in a hurry getting
out of the house, etc.), and it can be a struggle to get her to
stop reading when she needs to; 2) she sometimes uses books as
an escape from difficult or challenging situations, so we need to
help her learn how to deal with them in more effective ways, 3)
schools are not always equipped to deal with advanced readers,
other than giving them harder books or isolating them from group
reading time, so it's important to make sure you ask about how a
potential school will deal with the situation, and that you like
their answer; and 4) while my daughter's reading skill is very
advanced, her comprehension is still that of a 5-year-old, which
means that some of the older-kid boooks which she could read are
filled with situations and language which are hard for her to
understand or to process, so it can be a challenge to find
appropriate reading material.
In general, though, we're having a great time reading all kinds
of wonderful things with our daughter and opening her up to books
that we thought she wouldn't be ready for for years. We read
poetry together (adult, as well as children's), too, which she
loves, and we write stories and make books, to build on her
interest. My only regret is that she's no longer enchanted with
picture books, which I love. But I can always read them on my
Enjoy your budding reader -- it really is a lot of fun.
I agree, this is not a problem.
My daughter (now 3) and my son (now 1) both ''putter'' with their
books. She is now reading to herself, and to her brother, and he
enjoys books on his own, and when someone is reading to him.
They also play with people and toys when not at home with their
books. Sometimes they ''play toys'' at home, too.
For what it's worth, I am still a book ''maniac:'' I always have a
novel or something going, read when I brush my teeth, during tv
commercials, while drying my hair, while eating breakfast...
In my experience, this is ''normal.''
I love books!
My 21-month-old has always loved books. I think it's great. I
mean, why shouldn't he be that way: that's what he sees me
doing when I am relaxing . He now can recognize a lot of
letters and numbers, and points them out to me as we read - I'm
not pushing it, but I have a feeling he'll learn to read by
himself really early. He also has favorites that he asks for
by name (and has for months).
We keep books for him in every room, by the crib, by the
changing table, in the car, etc. We have sought out books
about things that he's shown interest in (or that we want him
to get more interested in, like the potty and toothbrushing).
He's happy to play with other things but always will prefer a
book. As he's gotten older he has become more interested in
other appropriate play (imitating us, using crayons, etc). I
say, encourage it as much as possible and trust your daughter
to follow her interests.
Ha ha -- we should introduce yours to mine, they could read at
Mine is now 15 months old and loves books and turns up her nose
at stuffed animals...trucks and plastic thingers occupy her for
a couple minutes, but books are much better. A couple of months
ago, she woke up from a nap, saw her book, snuggled up with it,
and went back to sleep.
Of course, this all seems rather enchanting to me, because I've
always been the same way...GRIN....
Some folks may write back and freak you out about compulsive
disorders and Asperger's and stuff, but I'd suspect your kid is
just really, really into books -- and that's cool, and really
probably a good thing!
my son is very similar! when waking up, i lift him from the
crib and he says ''book''. he is almost two and has been like
this for a long time. but, he also adores balls and his little
pool and lots of other things. he generally only wants to read
with me, not by himself. he is talking a lot and knows tons of
words and already can say his abc's and knows colors and
numbers. i really think his interest in books has been
Has anyone tired to prepare his child for daycare or preschool
using picture books? I am wondering if a child would make that
connection, and I am looking for good picture books on the topic
(any suggestions?) It seems to help children with weaning, potty
training etc., so I thought maybe also for easing the transition
to daycare or preschool. Our daugher will probably start around
18 months, after being cared for by us and friends who also have
babies, that is mainly in a small group situation.
I used one of the ''Spot goes to school'' books to help my
daughter get ready for school. It has simple pictures and
themes and generates discussion regarding school in simple
terms. My daughter likes the Spot character and has made a
painless transition to preschool in the last few weeks.
We also visited the school one to two days a week before the
school year started and had play dates with some of the kids
that will be attending.
I found a book that my son loved through the transition to
daycare and beyond. It is a paperback called Benjamin Comes
Back, published by Redleaf Press. It is bilingual
English/Spanish, so it looks like it has a lot of words when you
flip thru it, but it really reads well.
I've been looking for a good, fun book that introduces a range of feelings
(beyond sad, glad, mad) in an engaging way for a toddler/young preschooler.
Just great pictures would be fine, but a fabulous story line would be even
better. Oddly, the bookstores haven't been helpful. Has anyone found
something like this? Thanks!
I just got a recommendation from a friend for my 2.6 year old called
"My Many-Colored Days" by Dr. Seuss. I haven't seen it yet, but she
read exerpts and it sounds lovely. I don't know how far beyond sad
mad glad it goes, though.
We really enjoy the book "My Many Colored Days" by Dr. Seuss. The book
came out after his death and was not illustrated by him, so don't expect
Seuss-like pictures. Instead, there are brightly colored, non-race-specific
of people and animals. There are a wide range of feelings and moods expressed,
and while there isn't really a storyline, there are some great Seuss rhymes.
Comes in board book and "real" (as we call it) versions.
Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis covers a range of different feelings
accompanied by wonderful illustrations. Shy Charles by Rosemary Wells is a
great book about shyness as the title suggests.
I have a hard time finding good books for our 20-month old
daughter, and I am looking for suggestions. My requirements are:
- entertaining for the adults
- good graphics, little text
Some of the books I particularly like are:
- We're Going On A Bear Hunt, by Rosen/Oxenbury
- most of the Boynton Board Books, by Boynton, such
as: The Going To Bed Book, But Not The Hippopotamus,
Blue Hat, Green Hat.
- Where The Wild Things Are, by Sendak
Thank you ---Luigi
One book that my husband's boss gave us as a present,
which we all love (parents and kids), is called _Good_Night,_Gorilla_,
by Peggy Rathmann. It was a year before we stopped
finding new subtleties, which I won't catalog here.
The text is extremely simple and the illustration is beautiful.
Also, have you asked the children's librarian at the public library?
The first book on the list is my daughter's and my favorite book. My mom
teaches first grade and says even her first graders still enjoy the book
because they like thinking about how they were as 'babies'. All of these
books pass my 'read it again mommy' test although The Very Hungry
Catepiller might need to be retired soon.
"More More More," Said the Baby Vera B. Williams
My Very First Mother Goose Iona Opie
Katy Cat and Beaky Boo Lusy Cousins
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Bill Martin Jr.
Ten, Nine, Eight Molly Bang
The Snowy Day Erza Jack Keats
Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown
The Very Hungry Catepiller Eric Carle
The Very Busy Spider Eric Carle
few long-time favorites of my two-year-old daughter's (and the
adults in her life!) are:
- A Hole is to Dig, written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Maurice
- Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
- Good Night, Gorilla (the only text is along the lines of, Good Night
Gorilla, Good Night Giraffe, Good Night Armadillo, etc. The
illustrations tell the story.)
- a board book called something like, There's an Elephant in Your
Kitchen, which cracks my daughter up every time we read it
From: Dianna (3/98)
Dr. Suess and his cohort of writer, Theo LeSieg, et al. are good
for this age. I can particularly recommend "Mr. Brown Can Moo,
Can You?" I had to read this over and over again to my son
when he was one and a half. Also,
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Fox in Sox (only if you are good with tongue twisters)
The Foot Book
The Hair Book
The Nose Book
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