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Choose the Best Books for Toddlers This Holiday Season

“Read another!” exclaims the 3 year old with excitement. They place a third book into my lap and look at me with glee. Their love for books is apparent. As our children grow, it’s crucial to develop their reading habits. Reading books at an early age can boost their language skills, cognitive development, and even imagination. However, with so many book options, it’s easy to get confused. How do you know which books are ideal for your child? In this blog post, I will discuss tips and tricks on how to choose the best books for your toddler.

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How to Choose the Best Book

1. Look for interactive books- Toddlers love books with lots of engagement. Choose books with touch-and-feel elements, lift-the-flap pages, and pop-up books. These features will significantly increase their tactile experience, making the book more exciting. A great example of such a book is the “Find Spot” series by Eric Hill, which are all lift-the-flap books. The Pop-Up Peek-a-Boo book series is also fun for toddlers. 

2. Choose books with simple words and sentences- Avoid choosing books with complex vocabulary or stories, as they may be too challenging for your toddler. Opt for books with simple words, fewer syllables, short sentences, and easy-to-understand storylines. A great example of such a book is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, by Eric Carle. The sentences are simple, and the story is easy to follow. 

3. Consider their interests- As your toddler grows up, they may develop an interest in particular topics. When choosing books, consider their interests and select books that revolve around their likes. If your little one loves animals, for example, choose books like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” by Eric Carle, which features many animals.

4. Go for durable books- Toddlers are known for their rough handling of books, so choosing books that can withstand their rough play is essential. Choose sturdy board books that can survive the occasional tug, tear, or chew from your toddler.

5. Mix things up- Toddlers thrive on variety, so it’s crucial to keep things new and exciting. Switch up the types of books you choose, from board books to picture books to interactive books, to keep your little one engaged.

My favorite type of book for children of all ages is wordless books. Wordless books are stories told via illustrations. 

Benefits of Wordless Books

1. Promotes Creativity and Imagination

Wordless books offer a blank canvas for young readers to exercise their creativity and develop their imagination. With no written words, children can interpret the story through the illustrations, allowing them to engage more actively with the book’s content. Children can develop narratives, ask questions, and think critically about the images they see, ultimately enhancing their creativity and imaginative skills.

2. Increases Vocabulary

Wordless books foster language development as children must use words to describe the images they see in the book. The lack of text encourages children to use descriptive language, helping to expand their vocabulary. You can ask your child to describe what they see in the book, encouraging them to use words to explain their interpretation of the story.

3. Enhances Reading Comprehension

Wordless books are an excellent tool for developing reading comprehension skills, especially for children who struggle with reading comprehension. The lack of text enables children to rely on the illustrations to understand the story’s context. Children must analyze the gestures and facial expressions of the characters in the book, which helps to develop their reading comprehension skills and enhance their understanding of the story.

4. Encourages Social-Emotional Learning

Wordless books can help develop young children’s social-emotional learning skills, as they can learn about emotions and social interactions through the illustrations. Children can observe how the characters interact with each other, how they show their feelings through facial expressions, and how they resolve conflicts. This type of learning reinforces a child’s emotional intelligence and helps them develop empathy.

5. Provides a Fun Learning Experience

Wordless books provide a fun and interactive learning experience for children and parents. Children can invent dialogues and create their storylines, while parents can ask questions, encourage their child’s creativity, and enjoy quality time bonding over a book. The visual elements of wordless books make them attractive to young readers, making reading time an enjoyable and positive experience.

How to Read a Wordless Book

  1. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to read the book. Allow your child’s imagination to run wild.
  2. Look at the book’s cover and title. Make predictions about the story.
  3. Study the illustrations and talk about what you see.
  4. Enjoy the pictures and get a feel for the story.
  5. Return to the start of the book and begin to tell the story.
  6. Finish your book by asking questions about the story. 

My favorite wordless books include:

Tuesday by David Wiesner

Good night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola

Wave by Suzy Lee

Choosing the best books for your toddler can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By keeping their interests in mind, opting for books with simple language and easy-to-understand stories, and choosing durable books, you can find the perfect books for your child. Remember to keep things exciting and engaging by switching up the types of books you choose. Providing your toddler with the right books will set them up for a lifetime of learning and imagination.

Do you want to more ways to build language in your child? Check out ‘ 5 Ways to Build Language in Children’.

Do you want a free E-Book with tips and tricks to build language in your child? Take a look at our language guide.

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