Right now, reading probably doesn’t feel much like “reading.” Your toddler might touch or pat pictures in a book as if they are trying to figure out if the dog they see is alive. They might try to turn two or three pages at a time, turn the pages backwards, hold the book upside down, or not even bother to look at the pictures at all. This is all normal.
Your 15-month-old may not be willing to sit with you and a book for even 5 minutes at a time, and likely will not want to read the book from beginning to end. Some toddlers may notice a single favorite object, like the moon, and want to find it in multiple books rather than “read” through one single book.
Here are some suggestions for reading to your toddler:
Read every day
Try to read for up to 5-10 minutes a day, every day. A few short sessions might work better for your toddler than one longer session.
Bring books to life
When you and your toddler are spending time with a book, use as many dramatic voices, gestures, and expressions as you can to make the words and/or pictures come alive. You might feel a little bit silly at first, but toddlers love silly 🙃
Read books with photos
Great books for this age have real-life, clear color photographs, especially of things that are familiar to your toddler.
If they name an object in the book, keep the conversation going by expanding that one word into a short descriptive phrase. For example, if they say “baw” to name a picture of a ball, you could say, “yes, ball! I see there is a ball that is big and yellow in the picture.”
Connect to the real world
Connect the book to your toddler’s real-world experiences. For example, you could imitate the sound of the dog in the picture and talk about a time when the neighbor’s dog walked by.
Keep books everywhere
Keep a couple of books in your diaper bag, next to the changing table, even in the pockets of your car doors.
Expect wear and tear
Model your enjoyment and proper care of books, but don’t expect them to handle books with care for quite a while. If they seem to be purposefully tearing book pages, they may be more interested in exploring cardboard or paper. Remove the book and offer them something to tear.