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Three Types of Books to Read To Children Under 3 To Help Them Engage and Enjoy Reading

Reading is such a fundamental part of the development of children. It encourages language development, tonal shifts, and the desire to imagine. However, sometimes it feels like a struggle to get your child to even sit in front of a book!

If you are looking for ways to encourage your child’s reading development here are 3 types of books we read to our children to help them develop their learning skills, stay entertained, and strengthen positive personality traits.

Books that reinforce family values

Family value books are great because they allow a child to connect the book with a family member, thus creating a stronger bond between the book and the material. We have a book called “Grandma Loves You”, and grandpa loves to read that one and change it to “Grandpa Loves You”. It is fun because he enjoys reading it with my children, but also my kids are smart enough to know that’s not what it says! As a result calamity, and a lot of laughing, ensues. These books can also help relax and calm children because they connect family members to feelings. When we read books about mommy to our children, they tend to run to mommy and profess their love, as if the book reminds them how much they care for her. These books are a great way not only to build a feeling of family but also to have your children learn how to retell events as these books tend to describe the actions they do with family members.

Here are some of our favourite books based on family values:

I Love You Grandma -

Mommy Love You! -

I Love My Daddy Because… by Laurel Porter-Gaylord -

I Am A Big Sister! By Caroline Jayne Church -

Books that are based on characters they may know

One of our daughter’s favourite books is Blue’s Clues Birthday. It is a great book to encourage children to read, as it forces them to find items throughout, and discover what the end goal of the book is. By finding the clues, your child engages with the material and is rewarded at the end. The best part about this book though is that our daughter was already familiar with the characters because of watching the series, and as a result, connects with the characters empathetically. As well, by watching and reading material with the same characters, you can understand how to portray the book's intentions, including songs, additional material that may not just be written, and voices for the characters. Sesame Street is another great example of this age. Best of all, if you have toys associated with these, they may already have a connection to the character without needing the connection through a television show.

Here are some of our favourite books based on characters:

Monsters at the End of This Book (Sesame Street) -

Happy Birthday, Blue! (Blue’s Clues & You) -

Books that involve physicality

Some kids just have boundless energy, so why not build upon that through a physical book. These books include lots of phrases to help your child understand body parts and actions, or they utilize using the book in a way that involves movement, touching, or feeling. They may include instructions like “jump up and down” or “touch this circle”. They can also include textured parts, parts that move, and parts that are tactile. These books help develop a child’s motor function skills, as well as their ability to follow simple instructions, and can help breed imagination as well when they have a more tactile presence. Best of all, they are fun to read and play with. My children love their “Monday the Bullfrog” book, as it is shaped like a stuffed animal frog and contains multiple soft, bumpy, and shiny fabrics. They also love the books where they get to move around and dance, or touch to create sounds.

Here are some of our favourite physical and tactile books:

Heads By Mattew Van Fleet -

Don’t Push the Button! By Bill Cotter -

Banyard Dance! By Sandra Boynton -

I hope this helps with your reading woes or gives you a great selection of new books to engage your child with. The most important thing to remember is to keep books out and visible and to engage your children in reading at every opportunity you get. The more children can see and play with books, the more they will enjoy them.

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