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Developing your toddler’s language skills: Ideas for reading and talking

Developing language skills in toddlers is crucial for their cognitive and social development. Language development lays the foundation for future academic success and helps children communicate their thoughts, emotions, and needs. As a parent or caregiver, you can foster your toddler’s language development through various activities such as reading and talking. In this article, we will explore some ideas for reading and talking with your toddler to enhance their language skills.

Reading with your toddler

Reading with your toddler is an excellent way to help them develop their language skills. Reading introduces new vocabulary, helps with sentence structure, and develops literacy skills. Here are some ideas for reading with your toddler:

1. Start with board books

Board books are perfect for toddlers as they are durable and have simple language and colorful pictures. Choose books with repetitive phrases and rhymes, as they will help your child remember new words.

2. Ask open-ended questions

As you read the story, ask your toddler open-ended questions to encourage them to think and engage with the story.

3. Use different voices

Using different voices for different characters in the story can make reading more engaging and fun for your toddler. It also helps them distinguish between characters and understand the story better.

4. Follow their lead

If your toddler is more interested in looking at the pictures than listening to the story, follow their lead. Point to the pictures and ask them what they see.

5. Make it interactive

You can make reading interactive by asking your toddler to help you turn the pages or point to objects in the pictures. You can also ask them to repeat phrases or words after you.

Talking with your toddler

Talking with your toddler is essential for their language development. Toddlers learn language by hearing and mimicking what they hear. Here are some ideas for talking with your toddler:

1. Narrate your day

Narrate your day to your toddler, even if they do not understand all the words. This helps them hear new words and phrases and understand the rhythm of language.

2. Use descriptive words

Using descriptive words when talking to your toddler helps them develop their vocabulary. For example, instead of saying “dog,” you can say “brown dog.” Instead of saying “car,” you can say “red car.”

3. Repeat words

Repeating words can help your toddler learn new vocabulary. Repeat words they are trying to say or words they might be interested in. For example, if your toddler points to a tree and says “tee,” you can say “Yes, that’s a tree. Tree.”

4. Ask open-ended questions

Asking open-ended questions can help your toddler learn to express themselves and develop their language skills.

5. Listen actively

Listening actively to your toddler shows them that you value what they have to say. Make eye contact and respond to what they are saying. Repeat what they say or ask for clarification if needed.

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