Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Read Aloud! Grow, Brains, Grow- 10 Ways to Read to a Busy Toddler

Today marks the beginning of Read Aloud's October campaign to get all parents reading with their kids at least 15 minutes a day. Of course I want to help grow my child's brain! I am completely on board with this message and the organization. However, getting a 16 month old toddler to sit still for a whole book can prove to be quite a feat! In our house we have found some fun ways to keep even the busiest of toddlers interested. Here are the top ten ways I get my Little Miss J to sit still and listen for 15 minutes each night before bed:

1. Begin book reading in the bath. We have this fabulous Sandra Boynton book that is made for bringing in the bath- Bath Time! The best part is the squeaky toy on the last page.
 2. Find books that create play. We have this soft cloth version of Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. There is a little bird that you can make fly all the way through the book. It is great for reading and playing at the same time.

3. Find books that feel squishy. The publisher Usborne makes this fabulous series of books that have all sorts of textures for a child to feel. My daughter loves That's Not My Dinosaur.  Her favorite page is the rough horns of the triceratops.

4. Sing your bedtime story. We have this very old and worn version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Pippa Goodhart. If my little one has a case of the wiggles, singing to her is one way to capture her attention.

5. Play peek-a-boo. We love the book Puppy Boo! by Sarah Phillips. Little ones love playing peek-a-boo, and what better way to make reading fun then to shout boo over and over.

6. Make animal noises. My daughter LOVES dogs right now so we read Doggies by Sandra Boynton at least three times a night because we get to make 10 different doggie sounds. Her favorite is howling to the moon.

7. Count the animals. Candlewick Press has this gorgeous picture book One Spotted Giraffe- A Counting Pop-up Book by Petr Horacek. Not only can you count the animals on each page, but there are also flaps that you can turn over to see a large pop-up version of the number.

8. Read books with moving parts. Matthew Van Fleet is a genius when it comes to books with engaging moving parts. We love his book Sniff! My only complaint I would have about this book is there is a picture of a mouse sniffing a peanut hanging from a vine. The scientist in me would be remiss if I didn't mention that peanuts grow underground.

9. Read and build. We received one of the Duplo Read and Build storybooks as a gift. Little Miss J loves to play with the blocks while we read through the book. I think she really enjoys making what she can see on the page; however she enjoys taking them apart even more.

10. Read what they love. My little one LOVES balls and dogs. For this reason, Mirabelle and the Bouncy Red Ball by Michael Muller is our all time favorite book at the moment. We met Mirabelle and Michael Muller at the Decatur Book Festival, and I have been in love with his board books ever since.

How do you get your toddler to sit still and read?


  1. It's funny how different kids are. All my kids would sit and read books just as long as we let them - if it was prolonging bedtime! But we did stick to board books at that age, so they were all short. I guess that helped keep them interested as well.

    1. My oldest was like that, she would sit and let me read to her for the longest time. And now, she uses books to prolong bedtime, too. However, reading to Little Miss is a full contact sport- no matter what the book is about.

  2. My two year old is a big fan of Puppy Boo and One Spotted Giraffe too. Anything with flaps and hidden pages!

    1. Isn't One Spotted Giraffe just a beautiful book? You are so right- flaps and hidden pages are great. Thanks for reading.


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