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Talk, talk, talk about it!

Now that your child is talking, continue reading while tapping into his or her new ability to express ideas. Now it's time to do a little dialogic reading. Dialogic reading is just what it sounds like: creating a dialogue while reading. Dialogic reading is based on three techniques:

Asking "what" questions

This is a great one to start with—and one you might already be doing. While looking at an illustration, ask, "What is this?" or, "What would we use that for?" or, "What is X doing?"

Asking open-ended questions

As your child's vocabulary expands, encourage answers that require more than one word. "What do you think will happen?" "What do you see on this page?"

Expand on what your child says

When given the answer to a question, reinforce the statement. For example, when your toddler answers, "Moo!" to a question about what a cow says, reinforce it by saying, "Yes, you're right! The cow does say, 'Moo!'" Who doesn't appreciate a little positive reinforcement?

Things to keep in mind...

You might be hesitant to interrupt the flow of a story, especially rhyming ones, with questions. If you are, take time to go back and look at the book after you've read it all the way through. You can ask questions and point things out, such as, "Look, that dog is wearing a hat just like the story said! Isn't that silly?"

Be careful! You also don't want to overdo it. Asking a question after every sentence and pointing out every object on the page would be tiring. Remember, reading is supposed to be fun!

It's important to have books handy at all times. Besides at bedtime, have books available in the car, ready for the doctor's office, waiting near the bathtub. You never know when you have a few minutes to fill—why not share a story?

Did you know...

Literacy experts have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers by the time they are eight.

Picture Books for Toddlers

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