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The Top Reading Challenges for Toddlers


Children love stories no matter their age, and reading to your child early in their development can help them learn how to communicate. According to PBS Parents, reading to children ages 1 to 3 helps them learn about the world around them and that books and stories are special toys. In fact, Chareese Ross, liaison to the National Organization on the National Engagement Team at the U.S. Department of Education, wrote in a blog that children with parents who read to them most nights of the week - as in at least five nights - often do better academically than their non-read-to peers.

Reading to your toddler sets him or her up for success later in life, so it's helpful to know what issues your little one may experience as he or she begins their reading journey and what resources are out there to help your child learn to read. 

"Find books that you can pair with fun activities."

Consider toddlers' short attention spans

Whether your child participates in a reading program or not, remember that little ones have short attention spans. Even if they love a story, they may be squirmy while reading a book with a loved one, often wanting to run around or fidget while they sit there. Reading Rockets, an organization dedicated to improving childhood literacy, noted families should be careful to choose books that are short and simple, encourage your toddler to ask questions and allow them to move around. Also, find books that you can pair with fun activities, such as books about sports or different types of play, to keep your child interested. 

Participate in national reading challenges

Tons of bookstores and libraries across the country offer free summer or seasonal reading programs, and some organizations, like Barnes and Noble, even offer free books to children who participate in programs and complete certain criteria. Ross suggested parents and guardians look into programs through Scholastic, the National PTA, PBS Kids and Reading Rockets, to name a few, to find a reading challenge that works for them. Don't discount libraries outside of your area, as large libraries often have global reading challenges that you can participate in as well.

Summer programs are often the most popular type of reading challenges, and while most of these programs are ending across the country, you can participate in other seasonal challenges as you begin planning for next year. Your family can also consider reading age-appropriate books from these programs to continue reading until the next wave of reading challenges begin. Scholastic's list for its summer reading challenge separates recommended books into age categories, such as newborns to 2 year olds, and three year olds to five year olds. Check out your local bookstore or library to see if any of these titles are available.

Encourage your child to love reading from an early age by participating in a local reading program.

Research local reading programs

A great way to get your child reading is to become part of local reading challenges where little ones can interact with one another through reading together and sharing their favorite books. Look into local reading programs to see if your toddler is able to participate in a reading challenge and to learn more about how you can help your little one become a reader. While there may not currently be reading programs happening in your area, talk to your local librarians for reading recommendations - and even consider starting a reading challenge of your own to get your child and other toddlers in the area reading together. 

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