How To Get Your Toddler Interested In Books

How To Get Your Toddler Interested In Books

By Hallie Bulkin


I have had many parents share with me a challenge that they face with their little sprout. They cannot get their little sprout to sit long enough to enjoy a book together. I love the challenge of getting a toddler to engage in book reading. I have a few tools in my speech & language toolkit that I use to engage ANY and EVERY child in the fun of reading a book!

Today, I share with you the same tips I’ve shared with other parents who have successfully put these tips in place. It’s easy and simple and I know you will remember it with this acronym (that I tweaked just a bit):


There are many reasons why you or your child may feel overwhelmed. But today this article is for YOU, the parent!

I want you to know that this feeling is something that many people feel. If you are feeling overwhelm in your life, especially during the holidays, you are not alone. It can come from having too much on your plate in one area of life or many areas combined. Upon meeting many of my clients parents they particularly struggle with overwhelm in caring for a special needs child and with dealing with everything that comes along with tasks of every day life.

I am going to share with you some strategies to effectively deal with overwhelm in your life. These strategies have worked with friends, parents and clients, putting them in a forward-moving motion instead of keeping them in a state of inactivity.

So whatever it is that you are trying to get done, give these strategies a try to help you move past that feeling of overwhelm:

  • Tip #1: Keeping it SIMPLE.
    The first and most important tip to remember is to KEEP it SIMPLE! The simpler, the better. There are ways you can simplify a book.For example, instead of reading ALL the words on the page, you can summarize and read at your child’s level. This may mean that you need to summarize 10 words into three words! It may not be easy but it may be what your toddler needs.There are ways that you can adapt a book to make it a seamless experience during the actual book reading (and so that it is the same each time since children enjoy repetition in stories from one read to the next). If your child can handle longer sentences but some of the vocabulary may be too advanced, feel free to substitute with words your toddler knows. Again, it may be helpful to adapt the book (e.g., change the word IN the book) so it is the same for future reads. (Note: Adapting a book can occur in many different ways but that is a topic for another day!) 
  • Tip #2: BE SILLY!
    The second most important tip is to BE SILLY!Oh, if you could be a fly on the wall in some of my speech-language sessions when we play and read stories. You might think I was crazy!! The children look at me like I am crazy sometimes but that’s also why they are fully engaged and always want to come and play with my toys in the speech room when it’s their turn each week!The crazier your child thinks you are, the more likely they are to engage in the story you are reading to them. Their engagement is KEY! Use different voices for different characters, make silly faces, and just let loose so you can be the silliest you that you can be!Even saying, “Oh my that is SO SILLY” or “You are SO silly” will get your toddler interested. Go ahead, try it! Toddlers LOVE silly…so have fun being silly together when you read. No one said reading had to be a serious activity!

Let loose and have fun when reading. When doing it before bed you can limit the silly so you don’t rile your little sprout up. BUT, you will be able to tell where that fine line is for your child so don’t use bedtime as an excuse to avoid being silly!

Have fun and report back on how KISS works when reading to your toddler this week!

With Love,

Hallie Bulkin, MA CCC-SLP


This post first appeared on on January 19, 2015.

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