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Share your top tips for reading with toddlers and win £300 worth of books NOW CLOSED

(180 Posts)
EmilyMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 29-Jun-15 16:07:26

Every parent loves to snuggle up with the kids and a good book - but a strong case of the fidgets can often bring a reading session to a (literal) screeching halt.

This week we're asking you for your top tips for reading with babies and toddlers. What do they enjoy? What do you enjoy about the experience?

Baby Campbell's brand new series of finger trail books are the perfect interactive reads for curious children, designed for ages six months and up, each page has finger trails cut in, which follow the story across the page and there are lots of flaps to lift.

Share your tips and you'll be in the running to win a year's supply of adult books and a year's supply of children's books, courtesy of Baby Campbell. You can choose 48 books from a selection of titles on the Pan Macmillan website, up to the value of £300.

This competition is now closed. The winner will be contacted shortly

TheyGotTheMustardOut Mon 29-Jun-15 17:40:53

Start young is the best tip, I think; I started reading to my eldest as soon as we got home from the hospital!

A little patience goes a long way and so do funny voices! When he was very young, barely able to turn over, he really liked exaggerated faces and over the top voices, those things help keep his attention.

As he got older, he would get distracted by anything and that's where the patience came in, I needed to judge when I could pull him back into the stories and when to let him pursue another interest. I never want him to feel like he is being forced to read books.

Now stories are an integral part of bedtime and he also asks to read at other times of day too. We go to the library regularly and my youngest son is also growing up loving books.

CMOTDibbler Mon 29-Jun-15 17:45:47

Silly voices, reading with your whole body ( hands, face etc), and rereading books so they get to know bits

Ardagh1 Mon 29-Jun-15 18:07:16

Read books as soon as they show an interest around a year..spend time each day looking at the books talk about the story and point out parts of the pictures,talk about the colours and shapes and they will soon pick up a book and bring it to you themselves

ktmd Mon 29-Jun-15 18:07:22

Choose tactile, textured stories with sparkles and simple, bright illustrations. Act out the story and choose repetitive text so children can anticipate what's coming. Above all, enjoy!

kayewillan Mon 29-Jun-15 18:16:42

Make sure the children can hold the book and turn the pages. Use your fingers to trace the words and use facial expressions, changing the pitch and pace of your voice. Above all HAVE FUN together !

MamaMummyMum Mon 29-Jun-15 18:16:49

I love reading with my girls and I have done since they were born. I think toddlers especially become bored quickly and can be easily distracted. My best advice is to make reading fun. Any tale can be made interesting, don't just read the story, make it come to life. Use different voices, get loud, make faces and ask questions. Point pictures out get them focussing on what you are talking about, let them help turn the pages. Books are there to be enjoyed not a chore that has to be done.

pennwood Mon 29-Jun-15 18:19:33

Commence reading & showing books when your youngster is just a baby so it becomes part of the general routine such as prior to bedtime. Make it fun, put effort into voices, pull funny faces when appropriate, & give them time to enjoy the pictures. Talk about what they like best, & if there is anything they don't enjoy so you are prepared for future reference. Never force your child to read, & enjoy quality time cuddled together.

starlight36 Mon 29-Jun-15 18:23:34

Keep books accessible so children can see and reach them. We have a basket next to the toy basket in the living room which has a selection of the current favourites.

Agree completely with introducing books to babies and with making it a fun interactive process. Lots of silly voices and looking at all of the detail in the pictures. Some of the sound books which have noise buttons to press during the reading to bring stories alive have been really popular in our house.

Lots of libraries run free singing or have craft sessions and also have big sofas to snuggle up on and read stories together which helps to nurture a love of books.

hermancakedestroyer Mon 29-Jun-15 18:29:32

I surrounded my house in books from the word go. I let my babies touch the books, chew the books and play with the books. I read and still read to them every night until they could read the books with me - then we read a chapter each. Your children will love books of they see you reading books. Read in front of them, talk enthusiastically about books you have read and it will give your children a love of books.

Ausflug Mon 29-Jun-15 18:32:39

Start young, lots and lots of expression and different voices and remember that young children love, and benefit from lots of repetition. I liked to ask questions about the pictures too, and let the DC say (or shout) the last word in a sentence.

Choose books that you enjoy too, so that it is fun, rather than a chore.

seezee Mon 29-Jun-15 18:32:58

Using different voices for different characters in the books, making faces, asking questions, asking kids what they see on the page that you are reading (asking them to point out animals and trees etc), and most important if you have a bilingual home then read the same thing in both languages as it makes kids more involved.

StickChildNumberTwo Mon 29-Jun-15 18:35:11

Once they're old enough to state a preference, letting the child choose the book works wonders for their desire to sit still long enough to read it all. Can lead to having to read the Gruffalo for the 73rd time this week, but actually my daughter has a whole repertoire that she loves so it doesn't get too boring.

cornflakegirl Mon 29-Jun-15 18:37:38

DS1 loved books from an early age and was happy to sit still for a book. DS2 was much more impatient and wriggly, so we didn't really do baby books with him. Once he hit toddlerdom, he loved books like Ketchup on your Cornflakes - the mixture of simplicity and silliness really appealed, plus the fact that he was in control of the pages. He also loved Dear Zoo - flaps / spinny wheels / tabs to pull were all a winner. We also do audiobooks at bedtime - they keep him company while he falls asleep.

truckingirl Mon 29-Jun-15 18:43:40

.keep the kids mesmerised & wanting more. Use props wherever you can & learn to be a good actor too.storytelling should be fun for both of you (or more)
Learning is repetitive,so your child will have several stories they like best...so don't groan ..."oh not again" when asked for yet another tale that you know off by heart already,as this is where your child will learn to enjoy reading for themselves

OrnamentalAsAnything Mon 29-Jun-15 18:49:36

We had books for DS straight from birth, and read to him straight away - it's just a good habit to get into. Read often, and instill a love of reading by associating it with focused parent-child time, snuggled up.
I love rhyming books, DS always loved them the most too. I think they help with their confidence with word recognition/reading.
But never force it. If he goes through a phase of not being bothered about reading, I don't insist. Should be about his pleasure, all at his own pace. Luckily I have a keen reader (well, for his age.)

Chiddles09 Mon 29-Jun-15 19:00:01

Start young and use books as a part of the bedtime routine. My 3 boys were always allowed to choose 3 books each at bedtime. My eldest now reads 2 pages of his novel to me and I read 2 to him, before he then reads on his own for while. Funny voices work well at any age, as does lots of expression.

I found pace was important to match to each child. My eldest liked a speedy pace, and no chit chat until the end. My youngest likes a leisurely pace and lots of chatting about the pictures.

For toddlers, something to do with their hands is useful - flaps to open, te,tures to feel.

I also believe that children will enjoy what they see you doing. My boys see me reading for pleasure and see it as a fun thing to do.

leanneth Mon 29-Jun-15 19:02:41

Definitely agree with others who have said start early! There's no such thing as too early either- even unborn babies enjoy the sound of your voice! We all love reading and joke that we have more books than our local library!

Age appropriate books work best- black and white patterns for small babies, then familiar things and faces, then flaps and textured books and then onto sentences for an adult or older child to read and then back to a few words for when the child starts to read.

We have books with familiar characters and refer to books in everyday life and vice versa.

The most important thing is persistence though -leave it and try again another day if the child is not interested but the early start will usually lead to a love of books anyway!

chairmeoh Mon 29-Jun-15 19:03:01

It's all about the voices and the actions.
And maybe set up a 'bear hunt' to go with We're Going On A Bear Hunt book - a fun walk through the woods will do.
You can do similar with other books such as gruffalo, pooh bear etc.

FeelingSmurfy Mon 29-Jun-15 19:12:50

Have book available at all times, in as many of the rooms that they use as possible and low enough for them to reach. Make it exciting for them by doing the voices when you read. If they bring a book to you then stop what you are doing and read it if possible, it won't take long and the cleaning/washing etc will wait 5 minutes

leanne2015x Mon 29-Jun-15 19:13:01

Try to read in the best possible voice, and always use actions when needed i learn the more enthusiastic you are when reading to your child the more they listen and also learn smile

RhinosAreFatUnicorns Mon 29-Jun-15 19:19:35

Reading has always been part of our bedtime routine. Fun picture books with scope for silly voices. Making it interesting as possible.

Then asking questions about what is happening in the book and what DD thinks might happen next.

We let DD choose her books. We visit the library often so have a good selection of different books, although we have our firm favourites.

As a preschooler we are now starting to run our finger under the words to start teaching her how to read for herself.

I have a love of books - I always have - and hoping DD will share that passion.

smithsurvey14 Mon 29-Jun-15 19:20:14

Reading at a time/place that suits the child is a good start. My DD loved to be read to in the bath while my DS preferred being read to on the potty then toilet. Letting the child choose the book is always a winner, yes you will learn the favourite book off by heart and so will they but if it keeps them interested it is worth it. My DS is learning to read now and the best way I have found to encourage him is to let him write a review of the book afterwards (with illustrations) and a kind lady at playgroup gives him a sticker for his hard work when he takes it in to show her.

AugustRose Mon 29-Jun-15 19:42:40

All our DC love books just as DH and I do and we have always started reading with them from being babies - we had books for DC1 before he was even born and we still have a lot of them nearly 19 years on.

With small children it isn't really about reading to them though, it's about letting them choose a book (even if you have already 'read' it 14 times that day) and looking at the pictures and talking about what they can see - colours, animals, toys etc. I found nursery rhyme books with action pictures were always a favourite and making sure I joined in with the clapping and jumping helped keep the DC interested.

One of my favourite moments is when they start realising that the funny looking shapes are actually what you are saying and they then start to follow it with their fingers. DC4 is 4 and can read a few words but he will sit for a long time looking through his books, telling himself stories from what he can see. This year he can take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at the library for the first time and that is very exciting for him and us smile

lupus Mon 29-Jun-15 19:52:07

As tinies, I would read to them whilst breast feeding and have sought to keep that snggly association since: it's a cuddly, no distraction just me, them and story time. Now they pick the books and the stories inform our games, with them suggesting voices and pausing the story to get teddies involved!

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