Suggestions for Reading Aloud with Infants and Toddlers

Before You Read

  • Create a warm pleasant social experience that supports the attitude that reading feels good! Cuddle up! Get cozy!
  • Read to one child at a time or to a very small group so that each child can interact with you and the book.
  • Demonstrate your own pleasure at reading. “This is one of my favorite books because it is about a dog and I have a dog at my house.”
  • Let the child hold the book with you.
  • Change your voice (volume, pitchand tone) as you read or tell the story.
  • For older toddlers, encourage the child to “read” the book to you!

During the Reading

  • Allow children to come and go. Do not force a child to stay with you until you finish the book.
  • It is not necessary to read the book from cover to cover, or word for word.
  • Allow the child to turn the pages back and and forth. (Infants and toddlers are very interested in the mechanics of the books, opening and shutting the pages, making things appear and disappear almost like “peek-a-boo.”)
  • Encourage the child to point to pictures and talk about them together.
  • For older toddlers, use language such as, “Look at the cover of this book. What do you think this book is about? That little boy looks sad. Why do you think he is crying? Do you want to know what these words say?”
  • Pause and let children fill in familiar words and phrases.

After Reading

  • If the child really enjoys the book, read it again!
  • And again!
  • And again!
  • And again!
  • And yet again!

© Rita Kehl, Preschool Project Resource Teacher, Madison Metropolitan School District. October, 2001.