Read­ing with tod­dlers and preschool­ers is an impor­tant part of their devel­op­ment. It’s not only a way to bond with chil­dren, but it also helps them devel­op lan­guage skills, increase their vocab­u­lary, and get ready for school. But some­times get­ting tod­dlers and preschool­ers inter­est­ed in read­ing can be a chal­lenge. In this blog post, we’ll out­line the ben­e­fits of read­ing with tod­dlers and preschool­ers, as well as pro­vide some tips on how to encour­age literacy.

Let Children See Reading Valued

One of the best ways to get chil­dren inter­est­ed in read­ing is by show­ing them that read­ing is impor­tant. When­ev­er pos­si­ble, let chil­dren see you read­ing a book or news­pa­per. Read signs, labels, and lists out loud, run­ning your fin­ger under the words as you read, and mak­ing the details come alive. Demon­strate how inter­est­ing the world of text is.

Cloth­ing tag: “90% cot­ton, 10% span­dex. Span­dex! What a fun word. Kind of like a rub­ber band that you can wear as cloth­ing. It’s used in clothes like leg­gings and super­hero cos­tumes because it allows peo­ple to move around eas­i­ly and feel com­fort­able.”

Infor­ma­tion on food con­tain­er: “60% of your dai­ly vit­a­min C! That means that this snack

Bandaid box: “CVS Brand. Did you know that stands for Con­sumer Val­ue Store? Some­times let­ters stand for whole words.” 

Tiny stick­er on apples: “Look at that teen­sy tiny lit­tle stick­er! It says ‘93283 organ­ic hon­ey crisp apple.’ Did you know that the “9” on fruit and veg­gie stick­ers means it is organic?” 

Create a Cozy Reading Nook

When it comes to read­ing with tod­dlers or preschool­ers, set­ting up a cozy spot can help cre­ate an invit­ing atmos­phere for them to explore books. Make sure to have plen­ty of com­fort­able cush­ions or blan­kets near­by so they can snug­gle up and relax while enjoy­ing a sto­ry together.

Visit the Library

Vis­it­ing the library togeth­er is anoth­er great way to get chil­dren inter­est­ed in read­ing. Not only does it allow them to explore dif­fer­ent gen­res and titles, but it also gives them access to plen­ty of free resources like sto­ry­time events, children’s book clubs, pup­pet shows, craft activ­i­ties, and more! Plus it’s great for teach­ing kids about respon­si­ble bor­row­ing habits from an ear­ly age.

After a Vis­it to the Library — So Many Books!

Incorporate Books into Other Activities

Incor­po­rat­ing books into activ­i­ties like dur­ing tran­si­tions and in learn­ing cen­ters can help pro­mote lit­er­a­cy too! 

Use Voice Inflections While Reading & Do Letter & Sight Word Hunts

To keep things fun for tod­dlers and preschool­ers while you’re read­ing aloud, use voice inflec­tions when­ev­er possible—this will engage them more than plain monot­o­ne read­ings would! Also, try doing let­ter hunts (find­ing spe­cif­ic let­ters on pages) or sight word hunts (find­ing words that chil­dren have learned by sight and do not need to sound them out)—these are great ways to rein­force their ear­ly lit­er­a­cy skills while still keep­ing things live­ly enough so they don’t lose inter­est halfway through the book! 

Ask Children to Make Predictions about What Happens Next

Ask­ing chil­dren what they think might hap­pen next in the sto­ry can help keep their atten­tion engaged as well as stim­u­late their prob­lem-solv­ing skills. This activ­i­ty may even encour­age crit­i­cal think­ing skills as they come up with pre­dic­tions based on evi­dence from ear­li­er parts of the story!

Choose Diverse Books

Final­ly, make sure you are choos­ing diverse pic­ture books with char­ac­ters that look like the chil­dren. This helps chil­dren see them­selves reflect­ed in the sto­ries. When chil­dren see char­ac­ters that look like them or have sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences to them, it can boost their self-esteem and sense of belonging.


Read­ing is an incred­i­bly impor­tant part of a child’s development—it helps build lan­guage skills, increas­es vocab­u­lary, and stim­u­lates cre­ativ­i­ty. For child­care providers who want to nur­ture these qual­i­ties in young chil­dren, there are many strate­gies avail­able including:

  • let­ting chil­dren see that read­ing is val­ued by those around them
  • cre­at­ing a cozy read­ing nook
  • vis­it­ing the library
  • incor­po­rat­ing books into dai­ly activities
  • using voice inflec­tions when reading
  • run­ning fin­gers under each word as you read
  • doing letter/sight word hunts
  • ask­ing chil­dren to make pre­dic­tions about what hap­pens next
  • choos­ing diverse pic­ture books

All these meth­ods will help encour­age young chil­dren’s nat­ur­al inter­est in lit­er­a­cy while pro­vid­ing bond­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties between adults and chil­dren alike. With these tips in mind, you can help chil­dren devel­op lit­er­a­cy skills and get chil­dren inter­est­ed in reading!

Click here to find more blogs on activ­i­ties for young chil­dren!

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