It’s up to us, as parents, to encourage our little ones to pick up a book and read it

Toddlers operate at only one level – and that’s full steam ahead! Which is why it’s sometimes tricky to get them stuck into a book.

But, it’s imperative that we, as parents, do just that – in doing so we will instil a love for literacy from a young age.

Author and senior lecturer at Embury Institute for Higher Education, Nicole Rimensberger says it perfectly:  Books represent quality time with mom or dad, be it with cuddles before bed, or to calm down and bond after a tantrum, or to giggle and laugh about together during the day. It’s about so much more than just a book or a story at this stage, it’s about fostering the relationship as well as a love of books”.

Little eyes are always watching and they notice the objects that occupy the hands and minds of the adults around them – is it a cell phone or is it a book?

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 Below, she shares five ways parents can encourage their little ones to pick up a book and read it:

5 Ways to get your toddler excited about reading

  1. Leave books scattered around the house – they should be everywhere so that they become part of your child’s daily life.
  2. Make quality time for some ‘lap reading’ with your little one as this strengthens both a bond between the child and a story (book), and between the child and their parent. As Emilie Buchwald said, “Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.”
  3. Garner interest in books by exposing your young ones to books that are fun, bright and tactile. It is normal for your toddler to treat books like objects to play with. Tactile books are very attractive for young children, such as books with holes, pop-up pictures or flaps. These can provide endless entertainment for curious fingers and curious minds.
  4. Parents should consider using story time as a means for fun interaction. There’s no need to stick to the script – much amusement can be had when a familiar story is told with a new twist. Repetition, rhyme, word play and prediction are all part of the parental toolbox when it comes to storytelling and language.
  5. One of the most important tips to get your toddler interested in reading is for parents to show an interest in books themselves. Little children mimic their parents and primary caregivers; if the adults are regularly seen reading books, browsing through a library or bookshop, the child is more likely to become interested in reading as well.