Toddler Tips for Every Family

Parents, you are your child’s first, and most influential teacher! City’s First Readers has a number of resources to help you build strong literacy skills with your children. It’s much easier than you think, and we give you ideas to make learning fun for the entire family.

Book List

Your toddler will love books with large, colorful pictures. Sitting still for long periods of time will be a challenge so be sure that each page contains few words. Also look for books that repeat language often, and are highly predictable. Try these engaging books through your local public library:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Truck by Donald Crews
  • Where’s Nicky? by Cathryn Falwell
  • Rain Feet by Angela Johnson
  • Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Early Morning in the Barn by Nancy Tafuri
  • Have You Seen My Duckling by Nancy Tafuri

Bilingual Toddler Books:

  • Maria Had a Little Llama/María Tenía una Llamita by Angela Dominguez
  • Only One You/Nadie Como Tú by Linda Kranz, translated by Teresa Mlawer
  • Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale/Cucú: Un cuento folklórico mexicano by Lois Ehlert, translated by Gloria de Aragón Andújar

Fun Activities to Try at Home

Playing, singing, and speaking play an important role in literacy development.

  • Sing to your toddler often. The songs you sang as a child are great (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, ABCs, The Wheels on the Bus, etc.).
  • Talk to your toddler about things as you go through the day (“When you eat your broccoli, you’re making your bones stronger!”), and ask questions (“Would you like applesauce or crackers for your snack?”).
  • When playing with your toddler, use toys or objects to talk about colors, sounds, faces, and feelings.
  • Now that your child is a little older, he or she can help with simple tasks at home (putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket and carrying a dish to the kitchen sink after it’s used). Be sure to talk to your child about the process as he or she performs the task.