1 – 3 Years

As your baby becomes a toddler, she grows more curious and talkative, and moves around more. This is an important time to sing, talk and read to help set your child on the road to success in school and life. If you don’t have one already, now is a good time to get a library card. Use it to access your local library.

Explore ways to help your toddler learn and grow.

Your toddler develops early language skills.

As your child begins to speak, choose books that expose her to more words. Point to objects on the pages and have her name them. 

Use new and more words when you talk with your child. Say the names of the streets when you drive or the names of stations while riding the Metro.

You’ll also notice your toddler loves to say “no.” Read books with your child where “no” is the most appropriate answer to questions.

Your child's hands and body movements develop.

Toddlers begin to have more control of their hands and bodies. Your child will pick up and handle objects more often. He will pick up items from the floor, move items from one hand to the other and squeeze and throw things.

Introduce large crayons. Scribble together on a piece of paper. Allow your child to handle books like Moo Moo Brown Cow by Jakki Wood and Rog Bonner. Choose small books with cardboard pages that he can handle and carry.

Encourage your toddler to move around.

At this age, your child will crawl, walk and even run a little. She may move away from you while you read. There is no need to try to force her to sit still; she’s still listening. Read books with repeat words or phrases and books that encourage her to move around.  

Your toddler can do things on his own.

Your child starts to do things by himself and is proud when he can do something. Read collections of rhymes with few words on the page and allow your toddler to turn the pages.

Cardboard books with flaps on the pages, called Flap Books, allow your toddler to lift the flaps while you read.

Your child learns simple concepts and begins to sort by size and color.

Your toddler can learn simple concepts like numbers, letters or colors. Point out letters or numbers while in the grocery store.

Have fun while your child begins to sort objects. Use socks, blocks, or large crayons. Ask her to pick up all of the big socks or draw with the green crayon. Use items that aren’t too small to avoid a choking hazard. 

Your toddler uses more words.

As the number of words your child learns increases, it is important to choose books with harder words. Choose simple stories with new words. Alphabet, number, color and naming books are good options for toddlers.

Songs are also a great way to introduce new words. Sing songs you know or read books with children’s songs.

As your toddler grows, her attention span increases.

Your child is able to pay attention for longer periods of time. Short, simple stories with real-life situations help him understand that a story has a beginning, middle and end. Make up or tell a family story on the bus ride home.


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