4 Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Read + 15 of Our Favorite Children’s Books

If you want to teach your toddler to read, here are some suggestions for building their understanding of vocabulary. Prior to learning these ways,  my bedtime stories were okay, but not really engaging.  Now that I have a complete understanding of these, I can make even the dullest book seem like the BOMB!

Teach Your Child to Read | 2GroovyMoms.com


1. Repetitive Reading: One key to building vocabulary is to do repetitive reading. Experts suggest that parents read the same book to toddlers 3 times a week. The repetition helps kids remember and really learn the words.

2. PAT the Vocabulary: PAT stands for Point, Act Out, and Tell. Don’t just read to get it over with.  Guide your child’s eyes to certain words in the book and dramatically explain them.  (See more details at “Repeated Interactive Read-Alouds”)

3. Everyday Conversations: Use some of your stories’ vocabulary during dinner discussions or car ride conversations. Recall events that happened in the story that you and your child may experience during your daily activities.

4. Interactive Books: Below, I have compiled a list of interactive books that I have enjoyed with my toddler.  These books can be used to push in and pull out language with your toddler while building deep and complete understanding of vocabulary.  My daughter has found these books (from our Amazon affiliate) to be fun and relate-able.

Infant to 1 year old

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Baby Sounds By Joy Allen

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

 Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

 Mouse’s First Day of School By Lauren Thompson

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Grandpa and Me By Karen Katz

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Welcome Fall By Jill Ackerman

1 to 2 year old

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Mouse’s First Fall By Lauren Thompson

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Owl Babies By Martin Waddell

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Pete The Cat I Love My White Shoes By Eric Williams

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

No David By David Shannon

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Cole

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

Lola at the Library By Anna McQuinn

2 to 3 year old

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

The Monster Who Ate My Peas By Danny Schnitzlein


Will I Have a Friend? By Miriam Cohen

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

My First Day at Nursery School By Becky Edwards

Best Children's Books | 2GroovyMoms.com

The New Baby By Mercer Mayer


  1. Ashley says:

    I’m a big fan of Storyline Online. It really engages readers of all ages, especially the younger ones who might not be able to read on their own yet.

  2. aimee fauci says:

    My goal is to teach my ..now 2 year old.. to ready before she starts pre k or even k… She is smart as a whip so that will hopefully make it easier for me.

  3. purdyblack says:

    Lola at the Library has been a longtime favorite in our household – we even got it in Spanish! We started with P.A.T. early on and our 4-yr-old now loves to read aloud with an added dramatic touch, which is pretty funny yet neat to see. One more suggestion would be to get your child a library card as soon as possible and go often to pick out books, as this helps foster a love of reading, as well.

    • SummersGroovyMom says:

      Yes, my daughter loves Lola. And she has been asking to go to the library and we have not made it yet but I am going to make it my duty to get her by there next Saturday. Thank you for the advice and comment.

  4. alphabetanatomy2014 says:

    Yes, definitely make reading a FUN experience and be excited about books. There’s so much more than just reading the words. Ask your child questions about the story and really focus on the illustrations too as that can enhance the learning as well.

  5. Kacy Clontz says:

    Hi Summersgroovymom,

    This is such a wonderful article. :)

    A year ago I bought an ebook online and to my surprise, the results were very impressive. My child was able to read within 12 weeks after I had gone through the book and used the simple methods which were mentioned. I hope it will help others as well as it helped me as well.

    Here’s the link to get the book: http://www.childreadingsecrets.com/

    Here’s a tip which I would like to give: You NEED to give something to your baby in order to make them read. Remember how we all used to tame our parrots? Give it some seeds and let it sit on our finger. Similarly, you have to reward your child as soon as they hold a book. It will be difficult at start but your child will develop a habit — that is for sure.

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