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Reading to the Toddler - Reading with Bean

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Reading to the Toddler

Oh boy…the toddler reader. SAME. BOOKS. EVERY. NIGHT. It unfortunately makes you dread book time at night because you know that there are only 3-4 book choices, and you’ve read each about 100 times at this point. You do everything you can to divert their attention and read a new book, but the toddler NO takes over.

I don’t know about you, but I get this: No. I wanna read dis book! And a book is plopped in my lap. The same book we read for nap and bedtime last night…and the night before…

Bean seems to listen each time like it is her first time reading the book. She has also started parallel reading. I wanna sit here. I wanna read dis. You read dat.  When this happens I feel like I am reading the same books over and over to MYSELF. (I wonder if she’d let me read one of my books aloud while she reads her book…I could maybe a finish a book of my own for once.)

When the parallel reading first happened I let it play itself out, and then pretended my book was more interesting than hers. I made all sorts of laughs, giggles, and wide eyes as I pretended to read alone. She sat across from me, sometimes inching closer, glancing in on the page to smile, and then would snap back into her position across the couch. I would say, Want to read with me? And I get a quick NO.

I have tried to get her to read on my lap or read the same book as me at these times since I was frustrated she wasn’t paying attention. But then I remember that this is early literacy. She is trying to read on her own and I am modeling for her. SO since then I have gone with it and read out loud to myself. She joins in eventually and wants to cuddle after a few minutes. Aaaahhh…my favorite time.

The read-aloud before bed is the most important time you can spend with your child. As I have mentioned previously, even when they are reading on their own, this time is critical.

So, since this time is so important what do we do about the repetition of toddler book requests? First of all, I remind myself that toddlers learn through repetition whenever I start to get frustrated. This repetition helps them connect, create new schema, and it also builds early literacy skills because they can start to “read” through the pictures or through memory on their own.

I also book shop a lot, much to my husband’s chagrin (actually, I am just teasing because I don’t think he minds me spending money on books). I try to introduce new books as often as I can. I create occasions to reward her with books.  I am off of work this summer and plan to head to the library a good amount.

I thought that I would share some of Bean’s top reads this month. They do tend to change week to week, but for a week or two we are definitely cycling in between a few key reads.


OTIS books by Loren Long




Man, these are gorgeous books. The illustrations are realistic enough for a child, but also a touch abstract. Bean always asks what the trees are because they look like big green balls.  The author has fit the perfect amount of writing on each page – enough to make the story interesting, but not enough to bore an antsy 2 year old. There are a bunch of Otis books, too- bonus!

The Mr. Magee Books by Chris Van Dusen 

Another great group of books are the Mr. Magee books. Chris Van Dusen is a magician with rhyme, and his illustrations (yes- he is one of those talented people we all envy) are colorful, vibrant, and alive. Bean was given this book, Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee, by her Pop and Grammy, and we all fell in love with Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee, his adventurous companion.


Chris Van Dusen has many other books. I recently acquired The Circus Ship and we are now reading that book daily as well. The Circus Ship is based on a true story, but Chris Van Dusen, took away the tragedy in the real story and made it a wonderfully fun tale for kids. The thing we love about Chris Van Dusen is that his books are all set in Maine – his home.  His writing stays close to home, and so we not only learn a lot about his characters, but about the land around him in Maine.

The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Ahhh…The Pout Pout Fish. A mother of one of Bean’s classmate told me about this one, and it was a dynamite purchase.  This book has rhyme, fun characters, new vocabulary, and full page cartoon like illustrations. Bean loves doing her part by making the pout pout fish’s pouty noise- BLUB, BLUUB, BLUUUUB at the end of each page.




The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

And now we come to The Day the Crayons Quit. There is a reason this book has been so reviewed, acclaimed, and talked about in classrooms.  I used this book to teach a demo lesson a year and a half ago in first grade. They loved in. Meanwhile, Bean has become addicted to this book, and she is 2 1/2 years old. I ALSO love this book.  It is such an original concept, all ages get and adore it. If you haven’t read this, it is a run-to-the-bookstore type of book. Bean has been stripping her crayons  because of this book. I’m making them naked, Mommy. 



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