Independence Through Reading
At one year of age, your toddler will be anxious to express his independence and opinions. Reading time provides the perfect opportunity for him to assert his newfound self-sufficiency. Let your toddler choose the book and the location for each session, and don’t be surprised if he insists on holding the book and turning the pages.
Although his response to the story may be limited to non-verbal cues (smiling, laughing, etc.) and babbling, this is the mark of a healthy interaction with the reading material and is an important early literacy activity.
Separation Themes: Ease Transitions Through Reading
During this stage, toddlers often struggle with separation anxiety. Your easy, go-anywhere baby who was happy to be held by anyone may suddenly become panicked at the prospect of leaving your side. By choosing books with themes of separation—such as greeting Daddy when he gets home from work or waving bye-bye to Mommy—you’ll show your little one that transition is a normal, healthy part of life.
Reading on the Move: First Steps, First Books
Most toddlers of this age are just beginning to pull themselves to a standing position, "cruise" along furniture, and perhaps even take a few first steps. Once your little guy is on the move, it will be hard to keep him still. At this stage, every step is a feat to be celebrated, and every waking minute provides an opportunity to explore. Unlike adults, one-year-olds don’t view reading as a sedentary activity. Your toddler may prefer to read standing up or while walking around, and that’s perfectly fine. The most important thing is that he’s interacting with books!
Give and Take: Interactive Reading
Interactivity is key to relating to toddlers, especially with reading. Instead of just narrating the words on the page, encourage your little one to respond to what’s happening on the page. Take frequent breaks from the action to ask questions—“I wonder why he did that?”—and to repeat favorite rhymes or phrases. Although you may not get a verbal response, your little one will likely react with smiles, laughter, eye contact, and the basic syllables that make up the beginnings of his language. This give-and-take narration style makes reading more of a shared than a one-sided activity.
Books of His Own: Learning about Possession
Toddlers take pride in their own spaces and items. Building a library of books for your one-year-old is a great way to foster early literacy. Providing him with a hand-picked collection of books shows him that reading is an important and enjoyable part of life, and gives him the freedom to choose whatever story appeals to him. Building your toddler’s library is easier than you might think. Joining a book club gives you easy access to the most popular titles. You might also ask family and friends to give books instead of toys for birthdays and holidays.