When two New York Times children’s books editors (former and current) get together to write a comprehensive guide on “How to Raise a Reader“, you expect it to be pretty good.
And Pamela Paul and Maria Russo didn’t disappoint.
While their treatise has tips for children ages 0-12 and up, we’ve curated the best information on the benefits of reading to infants and toddlers.
With help from Paul and Russo, we explore what pre-readers can learn from time spent reading together with mom and dad. Plus! How to choose books that appeal to the youngest of readers.
What do infants learn from being read to?
- The sound of your voice. They hear the cadence of your reading and engage with the timbre of your voice.
- New words, indirectly. Exposure to a large number of words, if read in person and to the child, “has a direct impact on language development and literacy” according to authors Paul and Russo.
What should you look for in infant books?
- Bold, black-and-white patterns that an infant can see. A great choice is the “Look, Look!” board book by Peter Linenthal.
- Textures and interactive features like flaps to lift or tabs to pull. That way, even the youngest children can engage with reading through their senses!
What do toddlers learn from reading together?
- Just about everything, say Paul and Russo, “vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals, opposites, manners and all kinds of useful information about how the world works.”
- Their preferences. Young children begin to determine what they like and don’t like. Part of a parent’s job is to showcase a wide range of topics like art and history and a diverse cast of main characters.
What should you look for in toddler books?
- Plot lines that explain transitions. Story books are great jumping off points to talk with your young child about big life events, like starting daycare, getting a new sibling or taking a first airplane ride.
- Text and images that work together. Illustrations are important, and especially before a child is reading independently, help provide contextual clues to a story. Give the book a once through to make sure the images are beautiful as well as relevant.
What do you look for in a book for your young child? It’s a personal choice, and every family is different! Tell us your story @guidepostparent.
Recommended for you: