The Joy of Reading With Your Toddler

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I have always loved books, and as a result I've been reading to my little girl ever since she was born. Every day, almost from day one, we would snuggle up together in a rocking chair, and I'd read her anything I could find.

For the first couple of months, I could not tell if she was listening to me or not. She'd lie peacefully on my lap, staring around the room, while I'd read stories and try to throw in funny voices here and there. Gradually I could begin to see that she was focusing on my voice.

I think it was at around four or five months that she began grabbing for the books. She would reach out her pudgy little hand and grass a page, sometimes yanking it out of the book entirely, and pull it toward her so that she could chew on it. This was when we switched to board books!

Her first attempts to turn the pages met with mixed success, but once she discovered that she could control them, she was no longer content to passively let Mommy do all the work.

Once she was able to walk, she began picking books off the shelf and bringing them to me. This was really cute, but what is even better is what she does now, which is to bring me a book, drop it in my lap, and then turn and plop herself down in my lap as well.

Her favorite books are the ones with bright photographs of animals, babies, and trucks. She learned very early on to identify kitty cats (in fact, her first words were "kee cat"). Ever since then her vocabulary has just exploded. At eighteen months, she knows more words than I can count. I firmly believe this is due in large part to her love for books. When she sees one of her favorites, her eyes light up. Reading with her is great fun. She'll point to a picture and I'll say "That's a monkey!" Then she'll repeat it after me, "monkey, monkey!" She does not sit still for very long, so we never make it through an entire book. Sometimes we'll get to page two and she's already jumping up and running to the bookshelf, looking for another one.

It's been a pleasure to watch her behavior evolve and change as she grows older. The time that we spend reading together is a wonderful bonding time, and it's something that I look forward to every day. I highly recommend it!

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