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How to Foster a Love for Reading in the Toddler Years

November 10, 2017 in Homeschool, Toddler Activities - No Comments

How to Foster a Love for Reading in the Toddler Years

November 10, 2017 in Homeschool, Toddler Activities - No Comments

This post was written in exchange for books from Kate’s Growing Readers & Usborne Books; however, all opinions are my own. 

As a teacher, a question I hear time and time again from parents is, “How can I help my child to enjoy reading”? While I do not claim to have all of the answers (not even close), I do know that engaging with texts from a young age is certainly a good starting place for setting your child up for a future relationship with them. That being said, I thought I would take a moment to share with you all today some things that I am working hard to do with my little (as a mama and teacher) to set the stage for what I hope is a lifelong love for reading.

1. Make books accessible. We keep books in multiple locations. Asher can access them in his room, in the living room and even the car, for that matter. It is important to me that he is able to select texts at his leisure without having to wait for mom or dad to get them for him. You wouldn’t believe how much it makes my mama heart flutter when I walk in a room to see he has picked out a book himself, and he is joyfully reading along in his own little way.

2. Read frequently throughout the day. While we certainly have those routine times of the day where we always read, like bedtime, we also try to find other times throughout our day to make reading a priority. For instance, in the summer, we took time each afternoon to head out to our front porch and read a few books in the sunshine. Now that it’s a bit cooler, we enjoy simply lying down together on the rug or snuggling up in Asher’s rocking chair throughout the day to indulge in a few stories together. I imagine as we get ready to put up our Christmas tree here in just a few short weeks,  that will provide us with another cozy locale for a few daily delights as well. Research has shown time and time again that the absolute best way to foster reading skills is by reading. Fancy that – the more you read, the stronger reader you become!

3. Don’t force it. I think this goes back to really being authentic with your child’s reading experiences. As adults, we generally don’t continue reading a book if it isn’t “fun” anymore. The same should and can be modeled for kids. It is okay to abandon a book if it has moved from being enjoyable to a drag – or in a toddler’s case – a kicking, screaming arm wrestling match. If you have to abandon a book midway through – it is what it is. At the end of the day, I want him to remember his experience reading being a joyful one and not one where he felt forced to participate.
 
4. Let them choose.  Even our littlest friends are capable of beginning to make choices. I want Asher to be able to be invested in our reading ventures, and one of the ways I make that happen is by giving him a choice in books to read. I will often present him with 2-3 books at a time and ask him to pick one (he will generally just grab or point at this stage), and then the one he selects is the one we will dive into. Not only is this giving us the chance to read something that interests him, but shows him that he has a voice and opinion, and it matters. To take this point a bit further, I love it even more when Asher actually picks out a book himself and brings it over to me to read at any given point throughout the day. Whenever possible, I make it a point to stop what I am doing to be present in that moment to continue to ignite that desire he is demonstrating.
5. Read a variety of texts. I recently heard that as parents we should do our best to read one favorite, one familiar and one new book with our kids each day. This makes a lot of sense to me, as I know that those familiar reads bring comfort and confidence, while those new texts present an opportunity for new content and new vocabulary. So as much as possible, I work to do this throughout our day. We have our favorites – which are basically books about anything with wheels at this point. We have a particular love for buses, so Usborne’s Baby’s Very First Bus Book, which even comes with spinning wheels I may add, is a huge hit right now. We also have a variety of familiar books, many being those classically told children’s stories. And then finally, we take a trip to the library every other week or so to pick out our new books. The neat thing about the library is there is an incredible array of texts at your fingertips for free! And I don’t know about you, but I remember going to the library as a kid and just being overjoyed with the possibilities in store. Right now, we currently are just overjoyed by pulling as many books as possible off of the shelves…but hey we’ve got to start somewhere.
6. Get them involved in the text alongside you. We are huge fans of interactive texts around here. If it has flaps, doors and textures – sign us up. One of our recent favorites is Usborne’s All Better book, where there are a variety of animal favorites that seem to keep getting hurt. It teaches kids the routine of “clean it, kiss it and bandage it” while actually providing these adorable reusable bandages for them to stick on each animal’s ouchie. I mean, seriously, does it get any cuter? Books such as these gives kids at this age a very concrete way of getting involved. Plus, it gives them an opportunity to hone in on those fine motor skills. But let’s be honest, books don’t even have to have all of these bells and whistles to get your child involved. Have your child turn the pages for you, or when they are able maybe they are in charge of reciting a specific part. Whatever it may be, make them an active participant in the experience as much as you can.
7. Connect texts to real life. Whenever possible, work to connect what you and your child are reading together to their real life environment. For instance, if we are reading a story about “brushing teeth”, I may grab Asher’s toothpaste and toothbrush and show it to him simultaneously. If we are going to visit the zoo, then we may read a book about the animals we will see in the morning, have the experience, and then when we return we may review the book again to point out those we did see. Asher also absolutely loves those “first words” type books, because he constantly sees pictures that are familiar to him from his environment. One that we are loving right now is Usborne’s My First Spanish Word Book. He can’t get enough of pointing to the dog and saying “woof” or looking at the body parts and working together to locate them on his own body. Connecting texts to real life gives kids the opportunity to see from a young age what a powerful learning tool reading can be.
8. Make it sound fun! So this one may come as a shock to you, but the more fun you have while reading with your toddler, the more fun they are likely to have as well. So don’t be afraid to get a little goofy, get into character, and even sing through the book if you so choose. Not only are you modeling good reading habits then in general, but you are modeling the joy that can come alongside a great book. And that my friends, is contagious.
If you are interested in seeing any of the other texts that Usborne Books has to offer, I would encourage you to check out the site Kate’s Growing Readers. Kate would be more than happy to chat with you as well to discuss your family’s specific interests and needs and continue the conversation about developing life-long readers.
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About Me

Hi, I'm Mrs. Happ! I love Jesus, Mr. Happ and being a mama to our little man. I live off of a steady stream of bone broth, kombucha, Spanglish & top knots. And when I'm not busy chasing a toddler, I love me a good creative endeavor. Welcome to our "HAPPy Healthy Casa". I'm so glad your here. Read More

Krista

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#ad Not only do we enjoy crafting top notch towers over here, but we appreciate using top notch supplements as part of our daily routine as well. I started using @ancientnutrition Bone Broth Protein a few years back to support my gut and immune health, and I’ve only grown to love this company, their products and what they stand for more since. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In addition to our Bone Broth Protein, some other products we are loving lately include:
*Multi Collagen Protein Strawberry Lemonade 🍋: Supports skin elasticity and healthy joint function, not to mention it’s perfect for sipping in the summer time.
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So now I’m curious, if you could build a tower out of some of your favorite supplements, what would you use? #ancientnutrition
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I know I always say vegetables make the best paint brushes. But asparagus may be top dog when it comes to mimicking the real deal. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We practiced some letter tracing today with this vegetable, and I let Asher pick out some all natural paint from the refrigerator to use for dipping.
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His choices today: Organic Maple Syrup 🍁, @tessemaes BBQ Sauce and @sirkensingtons Chipotle Mayo. Quite the array 🤷🏼‍♀️. He dipped, traced a few letters, and then basically just went to town using his asparagus as a spoon to indulge in all of his “paint” selections 😂. Kinda figured that may be the case- and I was 100% okay with it as each time he snagged some sauce he also put that asparagus in his mouth and even ventured to try a bite. Plus it made for a great sensory experience as he was covered in it all by the end. .
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(Or as we call them in our “casa” - Dátiles.)
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We love dates over here and they are darn close to being called a staple in our home. We love wrapping them in bacon for mealtime. Stuffing them with nuts, nut butters or vegan cheese for snacks. And we love adding them into smoothies and treats if we are looking for a pop of natural sweetness. This fruit is chalked full of potassium and fiber and rich in antioxidants, and thus, I think it deserved to receive a day of recognition 😉. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This morning Asher helped me pit our dates and combine them with other ingredients like avocado, hemp seeds, coconut and cacao powder to create this “No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Bites” recipe from my incredibly talented amiga @thenaturalnurturer. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After we created our balls, I asked Asher what he would like to roll them in. I told him he could choose three things, and I would choose three so we had a variety of different tastes. Asher chose to roll his in food-dyed sprinkles, cinnamon, and coconut. I chose walnuts, hemp hearts and beet powder for mine. And yes, in case you are wondering, they taste as heavenly as they look.
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Through that time I would notice on and off that when I ate certain foods they seemed to “run right through me”. And that my gut maybe wasn’t “pleased” with my choices. But, let’s be honest, it tasted good, and I wasn’t really gaining any extra weight, so it couldn’t have been that bad right?
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Flash forward a few years into teaching, I came down with what appeared to be hives all over my chest, neck and face. The doctors thought I was having an allergic reaction and prescribed me steroids to calm it down. After a few days, it hadn’t gotten any better. In fact, it was getting worse. Which is when they decided to do a strep test and realized I had been misdiagnosed and actually had a case of scarlet fever, which is caused by the same bacteria as strep throat. Thus, after being on a steroid for several days, I was now put on an antibiotic protocol as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Needless to say at the time, I had no idea about how I could use probiotics, diet or supplements to support me through this. I just thought once I finished my course of meds I’d be good as new. However, what I learned the hard way was that after years of not caring for my gut the way I should, and after countless rounds of antibiotics in high school and now, my gut, and in turn, my body had finally reached their tipping point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
To be continued...
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Outfit: @fabletics Use the link in my profile to snag it or check out their other options to best match your shape and style. #myfabletics #moveinfabletics
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Sticky fingers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sweaty hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
No pants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is what most days entail right now, and we are soaking it all in. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I spent some time this morning refreshing a blog post I wrote last summer about this time entitled “9 Front Porch Activities for Toddlers”. While we love getting out and about and exploring our community this time of year, we also love hanging right outside our own front door. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The post highlights different learning, sensory and family activities with minimal prep you can do alongside your little one on those day’s you just feel like laying low. And, while they are geared toward toddlers, all are still things that are certainly appropriate for preschool and even early elementary as well. {Link in profile}. .
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1. Watermelon and cucumber water to hydrate 🥒 🍉 
2. Essential Oil “Cool Down” spray to sooth my skin 💦 
Here’s the recipe:
5 drops Peppermint
5 drops Lavender 
3 drops Eucalyptus

Add to a 2oz spray bottle. Fill the remainder with half unscented witch hazel and half distilled water. Shake er’ up, and it’s ready to go!
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Spray Inspo: @byoilydesign .
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