5 Ways to Enhance Reading for your Toddler (12-36 Months)

Ahhhhh toddlerhood. Exploration takes off. Independency blooms. Suddenly, every object in the house is an object of desire. And it may be more difficult to keep these objects out of your child’s wandering hands because they’ve, well, begun to toddle! 

It’s a wonderfully challenging stage, full of developmental milestones, impulse control (or lack thereof), trial and error, and growth. Your child will begin communicating more clearly. They will develop a greater awareness of themselves and others, and begin building a stronger sense of identity. This is a time when their social interaction will increase and they will be compelled to try things for themselves (regardless of what mom and dad say). This wondrous concoction will result in many mistakes. But remember, mistakes are the most important teacher, so embrace them.

 Another teacher to embrace? Books!

Toddlerhood is a terrific time to introduce moral lessons through stories, as well as books that can help your toddler navigate their newfound independence, curiosity, and instincts.

Below are 5 ways you can enhance reading during the toddler times:

Uncover Empathy

Empathy is key to building relationships, interacting with and understanding the world, and entering social environments. Books are an excellent way to teach empathy, especially during this time when your child is trying new things and learning right from wrong.

Read Books About Mistakes

It’s important to not simply read stories where everything goes right because, as we all know, that is not the case in life! And that’s okay. Mistakes should not be feared. One of the best ways to learn this is to see others overcome struggle and adversity. Whether it’s a story about a superhero overcoming evil or a more realistic story about facing first-day jitters, pick stories that embrace missteps and discuss them with your child.   

Let Your Child Pick Out Books That Interest Them

If your child is toddling around the house looking for something to grab, encourage them to grab a book! As your toddler explores and discovers their new sense of independence, encourage their curiosity by letting them pick stories that they are drawn to. This also instills the very important skill of making choices.

Read With Friends 

Social interaction is very important, and reading with friends can be a great way to boost both social and literacy skills. Reading with a friend during a playdate is like dipping your toe into what it will be like to read in a classroom setting.

Don’t Just Read the Story…Play the Story!

Once again, embrace your child’s sense of adventure. Sitting still can be very difficult for a child at this age, especially when they are just discovering the joys of crawling and walking. If your child has trouble keeping still during storytime, this doesn’t mean story time has to end… it just has to adapt. Who says you can’t read a story on the go? Try acting out the story or having your child collect their favorite stuffed animals to join in the fun!

Embrace the joy of making reading a special and unique experience for you and your child.

Happy reading…and toddling!

Wise Wonder 10th Anniversary Celebration


“CDC’s Developmental Milestones.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Mar. 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html.

“Stages of Childhood – Toddlerhood.” Toddlerhood – Development, Impulse, and Control – JRank Articles, https://family.jrank.org/pages/238/Childhood-Stages-TODDLERHOOD.html#:~:text=Toddlerhood%20is%20the%20period%20of,own%20survival%20(Bee%201998).

Scroll to Top