You’re Never Too Young For Story Time!
When my oldest son was little, I bet we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See ten times a day. He loved it! I wish I could remember how old he was the first time we read it. I know he was little because I can picture his tiny hands helping me turn the pages of the board book and his little jammied feet kicking away as I made the animal sounds.
I don’t think a child is ever too young to enjoy a good story in a caregiver’s lap. In fact, the earlier we expose children to books, the more we can foster language development, as well as a love of reading later on in life. Plus, reading together can be an important bonding time with your baby. After all, you have to give your child your undivided attention when you read to them.
Here are some things to think about to get the most out of story time with your infant or toddler:
Don’t wait until the child is tired to read to them. While nap time and bed time are a great opportunities to snuggle up with a book, they shouldn’t be the the only time you read with your child. After all, anyone who has spent any time with young children knows that kids are not at their best when they’re tired.
Sing the words to stories that rhyme. Make up a tune for the rhyming stories that you read to your child. Music has a way of sticking with us, so it’s a great way for kids to begin to remember vocabulary and concepts.
Make sure to point to words and pictures as you read, and encourage children to turn the pages. By doing these simple things, you are encouraging print awareness in even the youngest children.
Look for books with simple stories and rhymes. We don’t want to bombard young children with lots of words that they may not know. It’s better to start simply with both content and pictures.
Don’t forget to be enthusiastic! This is your chance for your inner drama king or queen to come out! It’s fun to be theatrical and creative, and your kids will eat it up!
Read the same stories over and over again! The Read It Once Again curriculum is based on this idea, and we’ve got units that infants and toddlers will love!
- Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- From Head To Toe
- I Love You
- Oink, Moo, How Do You Do?
- Silly Sally
- Good Night Moon
- Clap Your Hands
- Mother Goose for Preschoolers
Obviously, infants and toddlers aren’t ready for all of the activities in the curriculum, but there are plenty of activities that can be adapted even for the youngest children.
- Print the sequencing cards and place them in order from the story at eye level for the child to explore as they crawl or toddle around. If the child isn’t mobile, walk them around to look at the images from the story.
- Put the sequencing cards near the changing table so infants can look at the pictures during dressing and diapering routines.
- Use contact paper to adhere the images from the story to blocks so that the child can build the characters into play time.
- Use a sing-song voice when repeating rhymes or make it into a song.
- Adhere images from the story on stacking cups to reinforce sequencing of the story.
- Use simple signs with the story, such as color words or signs for animals. Signing images like the one below are available in our Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See unit.
- Print sequencing cards on magnetic sheets to use on the refrigerator or a metal baking sheet.
- Create craft stick puppets and put on a show for your infant or toddler.
- Put laminated sequencing cards in a sensory bin, bottle, or bag. Be sure to look for our how-to video on Facebook! I don’t like the idea of using toxic gels like soap or hair conditioner in something I’m going to give to a young child who will likely put it in their mouth, so I used gelatin instead, and it worked great!
What are some of the things you like to do to engage your infant or toddler in story time? Share your ideas with us and other in the Read It Once Again blog community below!