Sharing Books With Your Toddler

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Sharing books with your toddler | Eastside Speech

Sharing books is a great way to connect with your young child and to stimulate their speech and language development. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when sharing books with your young child:

  • Get face to face with your child. Enjoy sitting close to your child but try to position yourself so you can see each other’s faces. This will help your child to engage with you and learn from you.
  • Let your child “read” the book their way. Encourage your child to be actively involved so they can get the most out of their story time. This could mean letting them hold the book and turn the pages, or spending more time looking at the pages that interest them and skipping other pages altogether. Make sure you wait to let them show you what interests them. As your child’s interest in books grow, they will learn to attend to books for longer.
  • Give your child a chance to take turns. Pause regularly to give your child a chance to take a turn in the interaction. They may take a turn by making a sound, pointing to a picture, or copying an action. With a child who has begun to talk, they may take a turn by describing the picture or even by relating the story to themselves (e.g. if you are reading a book about going to school, they may share about a time when they have had a similar experience at (pre)school).
  • Change the words in the book. Some stories may be too difficult for your young child to understand. Feel free to simplify the story and tell it in your own words.
  • Use the Four S’s to help your child understand the words you are using. Say Less. Use short, simple sentences to help them understand your words. Stress. Highlight important or interesting words. Use sound effects (e.g. brmm-brmm), say the word a little louder or quieter, change your tone to help engage your child and illustrate the words. Go Slow. Slow down your speech to give your child plenty of time to process your words and to give them a chance to take a turn. Show. Show your child what the words mean by pointing to the pictures, or by using actions and gestures.
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! Not only do children enjoy reading a book many times, having the opportunity to hear the same words and sentences repeatedly and in different ways, will help deepen their understanding of the words and help their vocabulary grow.

Click here to find more information about our Speech Therapy for Toddlers.


Pepper, Jan, and Weitzman, Elaine. It Takes Two to Talk. Toronto, The Hanen Centre, 2004.