Ask Babybug

Reading with Toddlers
My 15-month-old loves books. She ...

My 15-month-old loves books. She brings me books and crawls up on my lap and it's absolutely lovely. How much should I be trying to control the whole reading experience? Is it fine to let her flip through the book as quickly as she likes? And to go backwards and forwards through the book? We can read some books in a very standard manner, front to back, page by page, with a chance for me to say each word. But others are quite the random experience. Does this matter yet?

submitted by Karen K., rst121, vwx238
(March 28, 2008 - 10:12 am)

It might help to think of her actions as a toddler version of grown-up book behavior. You've probably picked up an interesting book at the library, flipped through it, gazed briefly at the author's photo, or read a few paragraphs here and there before taking it home. Your daughter is gathering her own toddler-sized information about books.

A fifteen-month-old is likely to be interested in manipulating all objects, including books, to find out what she can do with them. Toddlers are pleased to discover that not only can books be read but they can be stacked, carried, sat on, and, like any good friend, hugged. Books can be shut, and when you open them again, the same pictures are still there! How amazing!

By flipping through books, your daughter is verifying that pages can be turned slowly or quickly--and from back to front as well as the standard front to back. She's finding out that she can go directly to a page she likes and even skip those she doesn't care for.

Over time, her curiosity will be satisfied and she'll be ever more eager to enjoy stories from beginning to end. In the meantime, your flexible responses to her explorations build her sense of pleasure and competence in handling books.

-Sally Nurss

submitted by Anonymous, rst121, vwx238
(April 4, 2008 - 2:04 pm)

What wonderful insight into a toddler's behaviour!

submitted by Muriel F., rst121, vwx238
(October 3, 2012 - 6:44 pm)