reading toddlersOne of the most valuable gifts you can pass on to your toddler doesn't cost you a cent. A love of reading pays immediate intellectual and emotional dividends that continue throughout the years. Books give your child a head start in preparing for school and help them develop social skills by teaching them about the rest of the world.

Reading to your toddler creates a special bond that results in lifelong memories. These story time tips help you keep the process engaging for both of you.

• Grown-ups demonstrate their focus by sitting still. No such requirement applies to toddlers. Allow them the freedom to move around as you read. It doesn't interfere with their enjoyment.

• You are probably already familiar with your child's short attention span. It may be more beneficial to have several short periods of reading rather than one long session.

• Teens and adults often enjoy reading science fiction and other adventures, but for toddlers, everyday life holds new experiences. Choose books with characters your child can identify with.

• Make reading an interactive activity. Ask your toddler questions about what you've read, encouraging him or her to share ideas honestly and openly. It's great for improving communication skills, and you'll be delighted with your child's imagination.

• As you repeat your child's favorite stories, make "mistakes" in familiar phrases or refrains to develop observational abilities.

Literary skills are a major focus of our toddler care program at Horizon Education Centers. We use stories, songs and physical movement to help your child become comfortable with all facets of communication. Our centers are conveniently located throughout Cleveland, Elyria and Lorain. Please contact the one in your area for more information.

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