Toddler books are very important in your little one’s development. Cuddling up on the couch reading board books with your toddler may seem a very humble, unimportant activity, but it’s not. It is part of your toddler’s education continuum; a continuum that goes on your child writing research papers in highschool or putting together a doctoral thesis twenty five years letter. Not that your toddler has to do a doctoral thesis. But an early love of learning and enjoyment of books will add color and dimension to anything he chooses to do in his future life.
What are the best books for toddlers? Here are a few criteria:
• Fun to look at
• Easy to understand
• Imaginative & Educational
Fun To Look At
Toddler books should be visually appealing. But what does that mean? That when your toddler sees them, he wants to pick them up. Bright colors are fun for toddlers, but books with very engaging pictures can get away with more muted color schemes. What you are looking for is books that appeal to your toddler’s sense of aesthetics—as well as to yours.
Easy to Understand
Books for tots should be easy to understand, too. The idea of listening to the words of a book and gaining information from them is a completely alien one to your toddler. That’s why you need to start with the very simplest of stories: for a young toddler, look for books with not more than one sentence per page. As your toddler grows and his understanding and attention span expands, he will be able to enjoy more and more complex books.
One thing your toddler will not have learned yet is how to be gentle to books. That’s why books for toddlers need to be sturdy. For a one year old board books are most appropriate; they can handle a lot of rough treatment, are not easily torn, and will even survive being slightly chewed. Two years old can enjoy board books too. Although a two year old is old enough to learn how to handle paper books, you’ll probably need to keep a roll of clear tape handy and be ready to play book repair man when accidents happen. Don’t give your toddler valuable heirlooms or borrowed books that you need to return in pristine condition.
Imaginative and Educational
Some of the books you and your little one read together should be educational; helping your child learn more about his world. This doesn’t mean it has to be anything grandiose; a book of animal sounds, for instance, is perfect toddler educational material. So is one with the story of ‘where milk comes from’. Even a simple wordless book with lots of colors that you can discuss together can be extremely educational.
Not every book has to be ‘educational’, per se. Books that appeal to your toddler’s imagination are important too. Look for easy retellings of the Gingerbread Man, for example, or simple, fun stories that involve animals or children. These books will give your toddler’s imagination a workout, and will also help him by improving his attention span with every listen.
Your Toddler’s Library
Every toddler should have a little library of favorite books, to be read again and again and again. Add to this collection on Christmas, birthdays, or whenever you have a few dollars extra and are out near the bookstore. But not every book that you and your toddler enjoy together needs to be owned. The public library is a wonderful treasure trove of toddler books. One of the best ways of raising a child who loves books is by making regular expeditions to the children’s library--- and making those expeditions fun.