Reading Together

Posts Tagged ‘toddler

I recently read a blog post on Playful Learning on using DVDs to promote literacy development.  She talks about some wonderful books that were made into wonderful DVDs.  One of my favorite is the Chrysanthemum video which is narrated by Meryl Streep.  My daughter found this at our library and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it more than she did.  But then I found the book and she loved hearing the book read. 

I would take it one step farther as well and recommend reading books that are based on television shows children enjoy.  My daughter recently went through a Dora phase and the Dora books are still popular for her.  I usually try to make a book connection with anything she watches on television.   The following books you can also find a DVD or television show associated with them.  Some were books first and then a television show and some (like Dora) were shows first and the books came later.

Curious George





Charlie & Lola

Martha Speaks

Bob the Builder

Thomas the Tank Engine

Blue’s Clues


Sesame Street

My daughter often enjoys reading the books associated with her favorite television shows more than actually watching the shows.


The other day my family and I went to our local library to pick out books.  I try to make this a weekly occurence.  Of course, I bring home a stack of books every day (I just can’t help myself) but I also want my daughter to have the experience of choosing books to take home. 

A two year old’s method of choosing books to take home is basically pulling books from the shelf and throwing them in our book bag.  I often don’t “preview” the books until I get them home.  Or I am in a rush and see books I would like to read to my daughter and they end up in the bag as well.

So this method of choosing books have resulted in some not so great choices and I asked myself “should I be reading these before I read them to my daughter.” This is something I am in the practice of doing at work.  I have had some embarassing experiences being in a rush at work and going in front of a group of students and being surprised.  I really don’t have the time to read all the books my daughter and I choose at the library. 

Here are the ones we chose that didn’t turn out exactly as I expected:

Firefighter’s Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts

My daughter really like “fighterfighters” which is why my husband pulled it off the shelf.  Seemed harmless enough until the firefighters went out to fight a fire and one of them ended up in the hospital.  Not the upbeat story I was hoping to share with my two year old.

The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos

Rotten Ralph has used up eight of his nine lives and only has one more life to live.  On one page the little girl is looking for Ralph and sees a shape in the sky that could be Ralph’s ghost or something. Not really sure what they were going for here.  You don’t know whether Ralph managed to stop being rotten or did he get himself killed one last time.  Then you turn the page and there is Ralph happy as can be.  I found it a little twisted!

We only read this ones once before they were returned to our book bag and back to the library.  Not really what I was hoping for with either of them.  So, since I can’t preview every book before I read it.  What do I do? We managed to get through these mostly because of my daughter’s age and the upbeat voice my husband continued to read them in.  I think we also skipped a few parts here and there.  These books were definitely intended for older children who could perphaps appreciate the humor of Rotten Ralph. 

Oh well, atleast we enjoyed our reading together time.

Beginning with Books is an early literacy outreach organization in Pittsburgh, PA.  Every year they come up with the “Best Books for Babies”.  This year’s list has just been announced:

I haven’t seen them all yet but I imagine I will soon.  They usually put out a great list.  Here are two I would definitely recommend for babies and toddlers that are on the list this year.

buckle1,2 Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines.  Great illustrations and a wonderful book to learn to count with.  My daughter and I spent quite a bit of time talking about the colors and counting with this book.

fingers1Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox.  Such adorable babies and a smooth flowing text perfect for reading aloud.


I also love to see the inclusion of a book about sign language for babies on the list (Baby Signs: A Baby-sized Guide to Speaking with Sign Language  pictures by Joy Allen) .  I am passionate about using sign language with babies and taught my daughter sign language.  I have another blog which I have not updated in forever but will once I begin to teach my son (on his way any day now) how to sign.  You can find it at

Karen Katz is a prolific author/illustrator of children’ books.  Her books for babies are among my favorite and my daughter’s favorites.  Her folk-art  illustrations of babies are nothing short of cute and adorable.  She has created a series of holiday books for babies and toddlers that feature flaps which are always a hit with little ones.  Flaps in a book are great for babies and toddler because they get your child interacting with a book.  Some of the titles in the series are:

Where is Baby’s Valentine?

Where are Baby’s Easter Eggs?

Where is Baby’s Pumpkin?

Where is Baby’s Dreidel?

Where is Baby’s Birthday Cake?

This year she has already published several new titles.  1The first is Shake It Up, Baby!  featuring again Katz’s charming baby illustrations and a fun, interactive text.  Making it a sure hit with babies and toddlers is the spine filled with tiny beads so when the book is shaken it sounds like a rattle.  The babies in the book are shaking their rattles and clapping their hands. 

Next is a sequel to Princess Baby, which introduced the sweet baby who was called everything else besides what she wanted to be called, “Princess Baby.”  In Princess Baby, Night-Night, Princess Baby is getting ready for 2bed.  As her parents are asking her if she is putting her pajamas on or brushing her teeth, she is preparing her stuffed animals for bed instead of herself.  She ends up on her bedroom floor curled up with all her animals.  This is relatable for all toddlers who love to play pretend with their animal friends.  I hope Princess Baby returns for more.

A Child’s Good Morning Book  is a poem written by Margaret Wise Brown 3which Katz illustrated.  The babies in this book, as in all Katz’s books, are sure to catch the attention of babies and toddlers and make them favorites.  Babies and toddlers can relate to the books as well because the babies are all doing things they do themselves; whether it’s searching for a Valentine, shaking a rattle, putting their favorite toy to bed or as in A Child’s Good Morning Book, waking up and starting the day. 


index1I am a strong believer in learning important lessons through books.  This may be because some of my favorite books growing up were The Berenstain Bears.  These days you can find a lot of books to help your child transition through hard times and learn about important events coming up in their lives.  There are great books on toilet training, moving from a crib to a bed, getting rid of the pacifier, or welcoming a new baby for toddlers and preschoolers.

I recently came across a series of board books by Elizabeth Verdick for toddlers that deal with many different issues parents may need a little extra help with.  Each comes with tips for parents and are well illustrated and have simple text toddlers will be able to understand.  They are a great way to help toddlers who are having difficulty with different situations. 

Naptime by Elizabeth Verdick. This is a great book about the importance of naping.  I’ve read it to my daughter because she recently has had some trouble napping. 

Tails Are Not for Pulling by Elizabeth Verdick. I also read this to my daughter to teach not to pull our cat’s tails.  This along with some other good books helped her learn that she was hurting the cats and she doesn’t (usually) pull their tails anymore.

Here are other titles by Elizabeth Verdick:

Bye-bye Time

Clean-up Time

Listening Time

Diapers are not Forever

Pacifiers are not Forever

Germs are not for Sharing

Words are not for Hurting

Feet are not for Kicking


The best time to read together with your child is while putting them to bed.   It is a great way to wind down from the day.  If you’ve been too busy to sit down and read all day, make reading at bedtime a habit and part of your child’s bedtime routine.  This way you make sure you are reading to your child atleast once every day.  

 The image of a child nestled snug in their bed while an adult reads to them is classic and may be one of the reasons why I wanted to have children.  Reading a story or two at bedtime to my delightful two year old is my favorite time of day.  I recently discovered a wonderful new bedtime book called Sleepsong by George Ella Lyon.  It has wonderful rhythm and begs to be read in a soft soothing voice.  There is music that the author wrote as well but just reading it aloud makes for a wonderful bedtime experience.    The illustrations by Peter Catalanotto depict a child getting ready for bed on the top half of each full page spread while the bottom half are whimsical  renderings of animals going to sleep. The illustrations set the mood for going to bed each night. 

 Here some of my other bedtime favorites.  Keep in mind that some of these you will be asked to read again and again.  I now have Goodnight Moon memorized because I have read it so much.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea

Goodnight, Goodnight Sleepyhead  by Ruth Krauss

I Love You, Good Night by Jon Buller and Susan Schade

Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems

SSsssshh! Everybody’s Sleeping by Julie Markes


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  • Amber: Thanks for sharing my blog with your readers! You summed up the reason for the name better than I've been able to :) Good luck in the giveaway!
  • Musing: I wasn't able to finish Twilight myself, but I'm always glad to hear of young people being turned on to reading. :)
  • juliannahelt: I forgot about Twelve Hats for Lena. It is a great book! Thanks for mentioning it.