Some interesting facts…
Did you know that the greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five? In fact, by age 3, roughly 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. In contrast, the majority of our investments are made in the traditional education years of K-12, which begin at age five. (“Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through age 40.” Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 2005).
Here’s another interesting fact: Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory (Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby!(2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co).
What are you waiting for?
Creating Together is here to help – each Monday Creating Together hosts “Literacy Mondays” – where reading is a community event! Designed for one-on-one or small group storytelling, our Literacy Mondays feature developmentally appropriate books and CDs for children to enjoy – and they also have the choice of listening to a story with their headphones all on their own!
Some reading tips for the road
If you’re looking for reading tips, here are some great ones provided by Reading Rockets:
Don’t expect your toddler to sit still for a book
Toddlers need to move, so don’t worry if they act out stories or just skip, romp, or tumble as you read to them. They may be moving, but they are listening.
Recite rhymes, sing songs, and make mistakes!
Pause to let your toddler finish a phrase or chant a refrain. Once your toddler is familiar with the rhyme or pattern, make mistakes on purpose and get caught.
Choose engaging books
Books featuring animals or machines invite movement and making sounds. Books with flaps or different textures to touch keep hands busy. Books with detailed illustrations or recurring items hidden in the pictures are great for exploring and discussing.
Keep reading short, simple, and often
Toddlers frequently have shorter attention spans than babies. Look for text that is short and simple. Read a little bit, several times a day.
Encourage play that involves naming, describing, and communicating
Set up a zoo with all the stuffed animals. Stage a race with the toy cars. Put your toddler in charge and ask lots of questions.
Every day is an adventure when you’re a toddler
Choose books about everyday experiences and feelings. Your child will identify with the characters as they dress, eat, visit, nap, and play.
Take time to listen to your toddler’s answers. Toddlers have strong opinions and interesting ideas about the world. Encourage your toddler to tell you what he or she thinks. You’ll build language skills and learn what makes your toddler tick at the same time.
Play to their favorites
Read favorite stories again and again. Seek out books about things your toddler especially likes — trains, animals, the moon. These books may extend a toddler’s attention span and build enthusiasm for reading.
Not having fun?
Try a different story or a different time during the day. Reading with a very young child is primarily about building positive experiences with books, not finishing every book you start.