Some of the best books for toddlers are the ones that get read over and over and over. No matter how exhausting and repetitive it can be for parents, kids just love the repetition of reading childrens books on a regular basis and many times during the same evening.
Over the past couple of years we developed a nice little library of books for toddlers for our kids, unfortunately they’ve been read and used so much that most of them are falling apart, even the more durable cloth and board books! But that is a tribute to how much use our toddler books get and how much our children enjoy being read to and reading.
My wife and I take turns reading to our kids, and many times we’ll take turns during the same night. Our schedule for reading to our kids has always been the precious moments before bedtime. There’s a golden period each evening just after bath time and right before bed when the television is turned off and we spend half an hour to an hour reading to our toddler and preschool girl and boy.
Since it is one of the activities we enjoy most, feelings of joy and relaxation come naturally and take any pressure off the children. In turn, they love to mimic the sounds and rhythms of our reading when very young, followed by remembering and repeating words that come at the end of rhymes, and ultimately actually reading! Our son, now 3 has been reading books for toddlers after completing his very first book, I Love My Sister by Laura Gates Galvin.
And our daughter, now 21 months, follows and repeats words and phrases from her older brother’s books as well as books that include some of her favorite topics like butterflies and ladybugs. While she loves being read to, she is primarily responsible for destroying most of the books in our collection!
We found that introducing them to sight words in addition to reading books for toddlers regularly helped them identify them in books. Further, helping them begin their phonemic awareness through videos allows them to recognize linguistic patterns when being read to which ultimately helps them group sounds and words together in written literature.
Below are samples of our library we feel represent the best toddler books we own, judged primarily by our children.
Baby Einstein Alphabooks is a great set of alphabet books excellent for babies and young toddlers starting at 18 months. After almost three years and two rough kids, they're still standing and continue to be part of the playroom experience.
Meet the Sight Words is a great set of sight words lesson books designed as practice book for their very successful DVD series with the same name. Our kids loved the DVDs and our son rushed to the books and read them from front to back on his own with that fantastic sense of accomplishment, as demonstrated through his sinister and proud smile.
Eric Carle Books are beautifully illustrated picture books with Eric Carle's signature collaged images inspired by nature that are naturally attractive to children.
Sandra Boynton books are humorous and good natured, and a lot of fun to read. Our son’s love for them started with Pajama Time! and couldn’t wait to shout out the book’s phrase at the end of each rhyme. Her books have great rhythm as well as fun and energetic illustrations. Not the best to get them sleepy, but so much fun to share with them!
The Usborne Touchy-Feely books are perfect for tiny toddlers. We love the “That’s Not My....” series in which children learn to anticipate finding ownership of their mouse friend’s belongings, such as cars, monkeys and dinosaurs.
Karen Katz books are also great books for babies and little toddlers who love touch and feel board books. Her stories are simple and cute for bigger babies and little toddlers as they follow the rhythms while touching the fun fabric patterns.
I Love My Sister by Laura Gates Galvin and the Smithsonian Institution is the first book our son read from beginning to end all by himself. He’s read other books to completion in the past before he turned three, but they were a result of memorization and mimicking repetition. With I love my sister, he actually identified sight words and pieced together linguistic patterns all by himself. We were very proud of his accomplishment!
Spot the Dog is a great character from the Eric Hill books series beginning with Where's Spot from 1980. Inspired by a flip top advertisement seen and adored by Hill's two year old son, the creation of Spot the Dog was born and continues to provide reading entertainment for children to this day.
Helping our children read and understand the written word opens up their world and imagination. It also introduces them to the pleasure of reading as well as appreciate the time spent with parents. For parents, it is a beautiful and golden time in the relationships we share with our children. Children grow so quickly and become young adults before our very eyes, and reading in bed with them is a time shared that is profoundly meaningful and yet fleeting and almost momentary. Capturing and sharing this precious time with our children is one of the most significant aspects of our relationships with our children. Develop your own books for toddlers collection and experience that magic.