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 him the right kind of books!
Baby’s growing tastes
As your little one’s understanding of the world around him grows, right along with his cognitive skills, his taste in books is going to grow too. While before, he may have been into counting books, books with textures he could touch, books that make funny noises, books that identify animals, or very simple stories, now he is starting to have both the language skills and the figurative thinking that will allow him 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 he’s 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 his interests through books is a great way to help him 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 he wants to read, so taking him to the children’s section of the library and letting him pick out the books he is drawn to is a great place to start.
Even if he starts off by choosing books that you think are too simple or too advanced for him, giving the books he chooses a chance will show him that you respect his choices, and will help him build confidence around reading. And who knows – you may be surprised by all the interesting stories Baby is ready to read and enjoy!