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Choosing Books For Your Child: Toddler

Tips for choosing age-appropriate books for your child

1-2 Years – Young Toddlers

  • Bright, bold, simple pictures still catch the eye. Try to find books with photos of familiar objects or activities or set in a familiar place, like at the park.
  • Durable books are still useful at this age, board books with thick pages make page turning easier.
  • To develop your child’s oral language skills, pick books with short, simple stories or stories with rhyme and repetition, one to two sentences per page is just right!
  • Children are developing particular interests; choose books that match his interests, like animals, vehicles, or characters– like Elmo or Dora.
  • Tactile and moveable books like touch-and-feel, pop-up, or pull the tab give him the opportunity to explore and help to keep his attention.
  • Continue to read wordless books to promote oral language development and vocabulary skills.

Reading tip! Your toddler may get tired before you finish a book; keep in mind you don’t have to finish every book you start. On the other hand, he may be busy moving around a lot while you are reading, his are most likely still listening to the story.

  • Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman
  • Maisy’s Big Flap Book by Lucy Cousins
  • Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • You Are my Perfect Baby by Joyce Carole Thomas
  • The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky

2-3 Years – Toddlers

  • Choose books that are creatively illustrated with greater detail, and show actions.
  • Toddlers have short attention spans, select books that are relatively short, and tell simple stories. Books about a familiar activity or favorite interests help to keep her attention!
  • Simple cause and effect books will help your child develop problem solving skills and begin to relate what happens in stories to real life.
  • Children love rhymes, especially funny ones!  Choose humorous books, to develop her sense of humor and to get a laugh.
  • Books with repeated text or words that rhyme are often favorites. 
  • As previously mentioned, wordless books with vivid pictures can help develop your child’s oral language and imagination. And movable and tactile books still help to keep attention.
  • You may wish to introduce basic concepts, such as numbers, letters, shapes, and colors… but remember at this age reading should be fun!

Reading tip! Don’t be shocked if she wants to read the same book over and over again, memorizing a book is an important step for pre-readers!

  • Duck’s Key: Where can it be? By Jez Alborough
  • Where does it go? By Margaret Miler
  • The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • One Afternoon by Yumi Heo
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • Do You Know What I’ll Do? By Charlotte Zolotow

For more reading lists visit the following websites:

International Reading Association – Choices Reading Lists

Reading Rockets – Recommended Books for Kids

American Library Association Children’s Book Council Joint Committee – Books to Grow On (Ages 0-3yrs)

Reading is Fundamental – Books Lists

The National Education Associations – 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read

James Patterson’s Read Kiddo Read


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