Eight Toddler Books that Promote Language Development

When reading with a toddler, especially a toddler with a language delay, the simplest books are the best. The characteristics I look for when selecting books for toddlers are:

  • only a few words on each page – This allows children to absorb the content of the book without having to process complex language.
  • clear/simple drawings or photographs – Simple illustrations that are directly related to the words on the page give children visual information about what they are hearing.
  • repetitive text – Children are more likely to try to read along when the text is repetitive and predictable.

All of the books below conform to at least two of the qualities listed above.

  1. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton. Check out this post to see why this is my favorite.
  2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What DoYou See? by Bill Martin, Jr. This book has one simple illustration per page and simple, repetitive text. It’s great for working on the names of colors and animals.
  3. Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz. This lift-the-flap book is highly engaging and useful for working on the names of body parts.
  4. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow. This book lends itself to gesturing (shaking your finger at the monkeys, bumping your hand on your head) and is full of repetition.
  5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This classic is repetitive and good for practicing pointing.
  6. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. With simple drawings and repetitive text, this book is great for practicing the names of body parts and fitting in some gross motor activities.
  7. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. This book is repetitive and has very few words on each page.
  8. Quiet Loud by Leslie Patricelli. You can teach the concepts of quiet and loud by adjusting the volume of your voice as you read each page.

If you don’t already have a few of these books on your shelf, check them out the next time you’re looking to buy your toddler a book or check out a book from the library.

What’s your favorite book to read with a toddler? Leave a comment below!

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