Not every two-year-old is an avid reader – for one thing, it’s the very rare two-year-old who can read on their own – and that’s okay. Even when reading happens while happily snuggled up in a parent’s lap, there are some tots who like nothing better, and others who just don’t take to it as quickly. If you find that Baby isn’t too interested in reading yet, it doesn’t mean you should give up on storytime. Because this is a stage that’s already full of amazing developmental growth and the desire to explore new interests, it can actually be a wonderful time to turn lukewarm feelings about reading into a lifelong interest – and one way to make sure your little one is getting the most out of reading is to read them the right kind of books!
Baby’s growing tastes
As your little one’s understanding of the world around them grows, right along with their cognitive skills, their taste in books is going to grow too. While before, they may have been into counting books, books with textures they could touch, books that make funny noises, books that identify animals, or very simple stories, now they are starting to have both the language skills and the figurative thinking that will allow them to appreciate stories that are a little more involved. Toddlers at this age are able to make connections between the words you’re saying, the pictures in the books, and the real-world objects they represent.
Some toddlers around this age are also already developing longer attention spans. Others may not be just yet, but introducing more interesting books can be a good way to practice – just don’t get discouraged if your little one still isn’t ready to sit still through a whole book right away. You can always come back to a good story when they're feeling more up for it. Reading is supposed to be fun, after all!
Finally, as with so many things involving toddlers, giving Baby the chance to make choices and explore their interests through books is a great way to help them get excited about reading, even if it leads in the direction of books you might not necessarily pick out yourself. In many cases, the best book to read with Baby is the one they want to read, so taking them to the children’s section of the library and letting them pick out the books they are drawn to is a great place to start.
Even if they start off by choosing books that you think are too simple or too advanced for them, giving the books they choose a chance will show them that you respect their choices, and will help them build confidence around reading. And who knows – you may be surprised by all the interesting stories Baby is ready to read and enjoy!