Reading to Toddlers
At around the age of 2 years old, toddlers have a language explosion. They are starting to express through words everything they have learnt over the past 2 years. A toddler’s vocabulary may include as many as 200-300 words. 2 year olds also use connecting words such as “and” between phrases, while also adding details to their descriptions. Over the next year their language will also become clearer as they master the formation of certain sounds.
This age presents a fantastic opportunity for vocabulary development. Here are a few simple ways to further your 2 year old’s vocabulary:
- If you are at the supermarket, talk about the colors of different fruits
- Count out the bananas as you put them in a bag
- Notice the different sizes and shapes of fruits
With this acquired vocabulary comes the question, “Why?” This questioning is valuable to your child as they develop greater understanding, and it is likely to continue for many months. Answer the questions simply, allowing for development of thought, and show a real interest in what they’re doing and saying and you will enhance confidence in speaking. Ask open-ended questions that don’t have a yes/no answer. This helps your child develop her own ideas and opinions.
For example: “What would you like to do today?” or “Can you tell me about your drawing?”
Toddlers mimic much of what they hear in their environment. Don’t be surprised if you hear exactly what you said yesterday come out of your toddler today. Talking with your 2 year old helps expand their vocabulary and learn more complex sentence structures.
Two year old toddlers can converse with you in short sentences rather than just in phrases, and they may be able to continue talking about a topic for a short period. They will probably now refer to themselves as “I” rather than by their name.
What are the best Toddler books?
The best toddler books are simple picture books with familiar themes and straightforward stories. Read aloud to your toddler and talk to them about the pictures. Your toddler will often have a favorite title and want it read over and over again. This repetition allows your toddler’s learning patterns to be firmly established. Use the questioning from your toddler to create learning opportunities during reading time.
You can also make up your own rhymes or say some of your favorite Kids Nursery Rhymes, recite child-friendly poems, and sing songs with your child. This helps develop phonemic awareness – the ability to hear and identify the different sounds that make up spoken words. Allow them to make requests and also say some back to you. Here are some of our top books for 2 year olds:
See our complete Books for 2 year olds booklist