Reading to My Toddler, How to Pick Books That Aren’t Picture Books

My son is that wonderful age of 3, where he wants to explore everything, pick his own dinner, and talks way too much. Actually, it’s a good thing he talks a ton considering he was diagnosed with a speech delay when he was 2. But now he repeats everything he hears. His dad and I are always asking each other, “Where did he learn that?”

I long for the days when I could just read whatever book I was reading to him, the days when it didn’t matter as long as I got some language into his head every night. He’s long past those days, but not quite at a point where he can or wants to pick the books we read to help him drift off to sleep. He gets his picture books (we’ve practically memorized 8 Curious George stories) and then we turn off the lights and read something else to help him drift off to sleep. I started doing this when he was 2 months old and now he needs it every night.

So, what on Earth do I read to him?

1. Child-friendly, for a start. Now, not everything we read is aimed at kids, but sometimes the bad words and sex and violence can be left out. I do try to find interesting Middle Grade books for him, but I don’t always find ones that we want to read. It may sound a little selfish, but we at least need to stay awake while reading, right?

2. Adventure. We live surrounded by concrete and cars. I try to get the kids out as much as I can, but sometimes my son just wants to stay home. So, I like books with some grand adventure, something that might help give him fun, exploratory dreams, where he can go somewhere while he sleeps.

3. Tone down the possibly scary. There are often bad guys in books, and people who do things they shouldn’t. But I really draw the line with anything that has a darker tone or something potentially frightening. After all, he is a 3 year old with an active imagination. When he started asking if there were any bad guys in his room, it was my cue to find even more innocent reads for him. The 3 night lights can only ward off so much terror.

4. Co-ed. We read books with male leads. We read books with female leads. But, most of all, we prefer books with mixed company. Boys and girls working together? Yes, please!

5. Good writing. It’s no secret I adore good writing. But when I’m trying to impress language into a 3 year old, a book must be well-written. After all, we’re reading it aloud to him. We am giving him that language. I will not read poorly written books to him. For one, they confuse me. For another, I don’t want him picking certain things up.

I can’t wait for him to dictate what we read at night.We


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9 thoughts on “Reading to My Toddler, How to Pick Books That Aren’t Picture Books

      1. Why wait? There are some great children’s/young teen books in fantasy that I loved as a child. Tamora Pierce and Patricia C. Wrede come to mind, with the latter featuring a dragon and a princess!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for those recommendations. I think I would read them myself 😂 every book is going to be amazing with a dragon in. Also my daughter loves anything todo with princesses 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you with the oldies! I enjoyed your list. My son went through an attachment to Good Night Moon and my daughter has just discovered The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s hard to go wrong with them!

      Liked by 1 person

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