I don’t get as much time to read to the twins as I read to my oldest when she was two. In fact, the only thing that keeps me from feeling incredibly guilty about this is the fact that my oldest two children can and often do read to the twins themselves! One of my favorite types of books to read to toddlers is what I call the “point and learn” books.
These books have lots and lots of pictures of things little boys and girls love. Some of the best books are by Roger Priddy and Usborne. My boys aren’t quite old enough for Usborne’s 101 Things to Spot in… series but the Roger Priddy books are just about perfect. I think this one in the pictures is called 100 First Words.
They are learning so fast! Today, Peter was pointing to one of the animals in a different book we’ve read maybe three times, called Big Cats. He correctly identified a Cheetah by name! And, he just turned two. Later we got out the 100 First Words book out to read together, and he decided instead of telling me the names of things he was going to be in charge. He pointed to every single picture and said “What’s this?” and he even said “Okay, good.” when I got the answer correct… He even got Joshua in on the same scheme very quickly and Joshua is not nearly as verbal yet.
We had a lot of fun, and it reminded me once again how very important it is to sit down and read every day with my littles. You can never read enough to the little ones, even if four or five other people in your family will read to them.
Ways to read a “point and learn” type of book as your child grows.
1. Point to each picture and say “This is a ___________.” This is the best way to start, when your baby or toddler is too little to know any of the names of things on the page.
2. Open to the page and say “Can you find the __________?” or “Where is _____________?” This allows your non-verbal baby or toddler to answer and show what he knows without speaking.
3. Point to each picture and say “What is this?” Once your child is talking, you can ask them to verbalize what they see with one word answers. Of course, they can turn the tables on you too — as mine did — and that’s okay, your children are still learning.
4. Ask questions like “What is this lion doing?” “How do you think this child feels? ” “Which picture on this page is your favorite?” “What is the baby wearing?” “Find something red.” “Can you name the fruits on this page.” “Can you name the vegetables on this page?” “Can you do whatever xyz is doing? — Show me.” These types of questions allow a preschool age child to verbalize his thoughts, use full sentences and practice describing what he sees. As you look at the page try to think of questions that will draw out the details.