Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Teaching Toddlers to Read by Kathy Sempke

Learning language skills starts at birth. Children are naturally interested in mimicking sounds and words. In fact, children develop much of their capacity for reading in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90% of their adult weight. When parents sing, talk and read to their kids, brain cell links are strengthened and new ones are formed. These links are the basis for the development of all language skills.

Reading aloud to your child helps him to learn the correct way to read. By hearing you read the words on the page and sound them out, he learns that letters make words, and words make sentences, and sentences are how we communicate with each other. There are many activities that will make reading fun, and help to keep the toddler engaged in reading.

  1. Use musical instruments to create suspense, or silliness.

  2. Have the children act out what you read

  3. Use a prop bag to illustrate parts of the story.

  4. Ask your child questions about the story. Reading comprehension is one of the hardest things to teach a child if it doesn't come naturally to him.

  5. Do a fun activity after you finish the book that relates to the book in some way. For instance, if the book is about a tall person, make your own stilts using metal cans. Punch two holes on either side of each can, near the bottom. Measure a piece of rope so it is the appropriate length for children. Thread one end of the rope into each hole and secure with a knot.

  6. Reading to your child on a regular basis will give him an appreciation and respect for reading. If reading is important to you, it will become important to your child.

  7. Here's a fun sight word game called, "Stinky Cheese." Cut triangles out of yellow construction paper. On 20 triangles write sight words that you want to practice. On 5 triangles write "stinky cheese." Put the triangles in a sack and shake them up. The toddler pulls out a triangle. The child reads the sight word on his cheese. If he chooses "stinky cheese," he holds his nose and says, "Stinky cheese!" in a silly voice.

  8. Toddlers also learn quickly with hands on activities. Make clay out of flour, salt, and warm water. Form a large A, small a, and apple out of the clay. After the letters and apple dry have fun painting them and practice the letter sounds by singing silly songs. Take turns thinking of a word that begins with that letter/ sound. For example: say "A is for a a a a aaaaligator." You'll be surprised what words the toddler will come up with. Your toddler will be proud of the letters he makes and will want to show them to everyone.

  9. Another great way to teach a toddler letter sounds is to make a personalized book. Take a photo of the toddler with food that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Paste the picture on top of an 8"-11" piece of paper. Under each picture with large letters write, Aa Brian eats an apple, Bb- Brian eats a banana, Cc- Brian eats a carrot, etc.

  10. Most toddlers are physically active and love to move. Take advantage of this natural trait by moving to short rhymes that introduce letter sounds. Kathy Stemke’s book, Moving Through All Seven Days, inspires movement as children learn about the days of the week. The lyrical rhymes also teach them how to spell each day! The activities at the end of the book are designed to reinforce the concepts as well as give impetus to movement exploration.

Book available on lulu:


Sign up for a free monthly Movement and Rhythm Newsletter on Kathy’s blog:



  1. Love the trailer for your book. What a great way to really get a feel for it.
    Martha Swirzinski

  2. These are great ideas, but I wonder how practical they are. The idea of doing all of this to simply read a book to a child is daunting, and seems incredibly time consuming.

  3. Great post, Nancy!
    Kathy, you give some great suggestions on getting parents more involved with their young children.

  4. This is an excellent post. So good I'm bookmarking it to share with my daughter who has 4 kids that are learning to read. Woinderful ideas, thanks for sharing them!

    Marvin D Wilson

  5. My grandson already loves books and I think he'd enjoy some of these activities. I've printed them off to refer to next time he visits and we're looking for something new and fun to do together.

  6. Kathy, thanks for visiting my blog today. I can tell from the excellent comments that you've made us think!

  7. Kathy, writing for children is a gift because these stories not only entertain the little tykes but also contain teachings and virtues written up in a fun way. For this I have to say thank you to all children writers. It's not as easy as one may think.

    I want to wish you continued success. And loved the video. Great job!

  8. Thanks for the great comments everyone. These ideas are greatfor reluctant readers too.

    I've used these ideas and can say that kids love them.

  9. What great tips, Kathy. I really like #7 and will try it out with my grandsons. You did an amazing job on the trailer for your book.

    Moving Through All Seven Days is a wonderful book that combines rhyme, learning and movement - an unbeatable combination.

    Thanks for a great post, Nancy.


  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. What a great way to really get a feel for it.

    Work from home India

  13. Thanks for the informative information - I enjoyed reading it! I always enjoy this blog. :) Cheers, video-of-human-birth.com

  14. [url=http://tinyurl.com/y9qxher][img]http://i069.radikal.ru/1001/35/75e72b218708.jpg[/img][/url]

    Related keywords:
    order Tramadol tamoxifen online
    Tramadol alltram ingredients
    cheap Tramadol cod delivery
    dog Tramadol pain relief
    buy cheap Tramadol online no prescription
    Tramadol treats withdrawal sypltoms
    Tramadol 50 mg tab
    120 Tramadol and free shipping
    [url=http://www.zazzle.com/AlexanderBlack]Tramadol without presciption [/url]
    is Tramadol tested for in urinalysis
    Tramadol from mexico bring back
    cheap Tramadol 300ct 50mg
    Tramadol cod delivery
    cheap Tramadol delivery fedex
    buy Tramadol online pharmacy
    purchase Tramadol