One of the tricky parts of storytelling to younger children is making it through a whole book without losing their interest. The younger a child is, the shorter their attention span will be. The most effective way to help them stay focused is to find a way to make the story interactive. Keep them busy throughout the story and you’ll have a captive audience.
The examples below are some suggestions of how to keep a toddler entertained and the best kinds of books to accomplish that goal.
Make them think
Books structured around challenges, such as figuring out what is under a flap, are always a big hit with the Pre-K crowd. They’re especially good for getting younger children to practice using their words, as they offer you a smooth organic transition (after a good dramatic gasp) to ask your little one questions like “What did he find?”, “Who was behind the door?”, or “What is that?”. Since the questions are always different, speech practice becomes a thrilling game.
Fox’s Socks by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer
Fox is trying to get dressed but he can't find his socks anywhere! Great for practicing clothing item names, the book is part of the Tales from Acorn Wood lift-the-flap series. Written by the creators of The Gruffalo!
Maisy Mouse series by Lucy Cousins
Follow Maisy on adventures where she learns about the world around her! The Maisy books are great for teaching your little one about concepts (e.g. colours) and places (e.g. the library, the doctor’s office, etc).
Spot the Puppy series by Eric Hill
Follow Spot on adventures as he grows up, from going to school to becoming a big brother, to exploring places in his community!
Make them moo
Books that feature lots of different noises, (such as stories set on a farm or featuring different kinds of transportation) are great for practicing onomatopoeia. Whether the text calls for sounds is irrelevant. Give your mini human the role of making the correct sound for the different noisy things and they will have a blast. Tell them that you need their help to tell the story (and that they were a great helper once the tale is done) and you’ll have a happy volunteer cheerfully oinking, clucking, and vroom-ing their part with gusto.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
You have written to the zoo asking for a pet and they keep sending you all sorts of animals that just won’t do. Great for practicing the sounds of wild animals. There is also a noisy book version where your little one can press buttons for each animal noise.
Seek & Peek Farm by Elizabeth Golding and Tony Neal
Great for practicing both animal noises and counting, as on each page you are asked to find X number of a certain animal.
By Alice Flecha (Volunteer Blogger)