Benefits of reading and storytelling

  • Promotes brain development and imagination
  • Teaches your child about language and emotions
  • Exposes children to new and different words which are not used regularly in everyday speech, thus promotes language comprehension
  • Lays the foundations for literacy
  • Fosters an early interest in reading before children reach school age

When and how to read to toddlers

  • Having a regular reading time (especially before naps and bedtime) is helpful.
  • Be guided by your child's interest in reading.
  • You can have the child seated in your lap which helps them to feel safe and relaxed. Let your toddler help you turn pages and point at the illustrations.
  • Don't expect your toddler to sit still while reading.
  • Turn off the TV or music or any distractions so your child can focus.
  • Read slowly and expressively. Puppets, props or fingerplays can be used while reading.
  • Point to the pictures and talk about them. Ask questions and praise them for their response.

Choosing books for toddlers 

  • Toddlers like to do things on their own. Place a few books and let them choose. Praise their selection.
  • It's OK if he chooses the same one over and over.
  • Board books or cloth books are durable, and the pages don't get ripped off easily.
  • Books with detailed illustrations (Picture books) are easier to be related to the text.
  • Choose books-
    • that have good rhyme, rhythm and repetition (poetry or songbooks) in which the child can clap, sing and dance along.
    • featuring their favourite topics- like cars, fairies, animals, insects, pirates, machines, trains or trucks
    • with lift-up flaps or pop-ups, with different textures to touch which keeps their hands busy
    • that are educational with alphabets, shapes, sizes, colours and counting
    • that uses humour and have a sense of fun
    • that are homemade, scrapbooks, or photo albums full of known friends and relatives (try adding simple captions)

Reading is a great way for you to bond with your child and share time together.


  1. 2006-2020 Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited.
  2. Vanessa LoBue, 9 Months In, 9 Months Out: A Scientist's Tale of Pregnancy and Parenthood.
  3. Kandia N. Lewis. Toddler Reading Time.