Reading a baby or toddler book requires a little imagination on your part to get your child to really look at the book and begin to experience the joys reading can bring.
The typical baby or toddler book has few words and lots of colorful illustrations. The absence of a lengthy, complicated story is intentional – children this age aren’t ready for that. But just because the page might only have one word or one sentence, there are lots of teaching opportunities with every page you turn.
Take colors, for example. If your child is just learning about colors, point and talk about the pretty red flower, the green frog and so on. Once your child is more familiar with colors, ask him to show you where the blue balloon is or the yellow cat.
You also can do object identification on each page. If your child can’t speak yet, ask him to show you where the kitten is or the butterfly. If your child can speak, ask him to identify specific objects, and later, to count how many of each item is on the page.
Another idea is to ask your child what he thinks the animal or child is thinking or might do next.
Most importantly, be creative and use enthusiasm when you read to your child. No one likes a dull storyteller. And use your imagination when you’re reading books to your child. Before you know it, you’ll be coming up with all sorts of creative ways to gets more miles out of those baby and toddler books than you ever thought possible.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries:
Bunny Cakes, written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells (Dial, 24 pages)
Read aloud: age 2 to 3
Read yourself: age 6 to 7
Those famous and well-loved picture book bunnies, Max and Ruby, are up to their light-hearted funny business again, and this time it revolves around Grandma’s birthday.
Max wants to bake Grandma an earthworm birthday cake. Ruby says, “No, Max.” and sends him off to the store with her neatly written list of ingredients for the cake she wants to bake: an angle surprise cake with raspberry fluff icing. But Max decides he will bake Grandma that earthworm cake anyway. What he needs from the store, however, are Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters to put on the top of his cake. Max can’t write as well as Ruby, however. How can Max make the grocer understand what he has “written” on Ruby’s neat list?
Library: Peters Township Public Library, 616 E. McMurray Road, McMurray
Library director: Pier Lee
Children’s librarian: Heather Blake
Choices this week: “Gregory the Terrible Eater” by Mitchell Sharmat; “Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems; “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch
Books to buy
The following books are available at bookstores:
Baby Be Kind, written and illustrated by Jane Cowen-Fletcher (Candlewick, 2012, 18 pages, $5.99 board book)
Read aloud: age 1 to 3
Read yourself: age 6
This charming little book is brimming with small acts of kindness from one child to another. Whether it is saying hi to your friend, sharing, saying thanks or giving a hug, these and many other important gestures make “Baby Be Kind” a warm, important book for all young children.
Let’s Get Dressed! written and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church (Scholastic, 2012, 20 pages, $7.99 board book)
Read aloud: birth to age 2
Read yourself: age 6
This adorable book walks tiny children through the steps of getting dressed, beginning with “a brand-new pair of super-duper underwear” all the way through to putting on socks and shoes to go outside to play. Written in rhyme with fun, sturdy flaps to lift revealing each successive article of clothing baby puts on, getting dressed and learning through the process has never been more fun.
Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at her website, www.greatestbooksforkids.com.