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Top Book Recommendations for Toddlers to Boost Literacy

Ruth, our Education Advisor, takes us through the importance of literacy in early years alongside some top book recommendations. 

Top Book Recommendations for Toddlers to Boost Literacy

Why are stories and reading regularly to your child so important? 

On an average day at nursery children hear between three and six stories every day, we encourage our practitioners to tell stories, sing songs and recite rhymes too! These are all ways to help increase your child’s vocabulary, which in turn helps children to make sense of the world, aids their understanding and helps them to express their needs.

Hearing a variety of stories both familiar and new can really help with future literacy skills, children love nothing better than joining in with repeated refrains in stories such as The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. They anticipate and listen carefully to the patterns in stories and will happily join in.

As children begin to hear new words and learn which context to put them in this will increase their knowledge of how sentences are structured. When speaking to children for example we use the language level the child is at as a guide, speech begins with babble and then steadily increases to single word level.

Our toddlers soon begin adding words and speaking in whole sentences,  we encourage this by repeating back what children have said to an adult and then lengthen the sentence i.e.  (Child)“Car” (adult) “Ooh yes it’s a red car” 

A teacher reading a book to three young children sitting on mats in a sunny garden, surrounded by wooden planters and greenery.

Emotional times! 

Stories can also help children regulate and understand their emotions, asking questions during a story time is a good way to discuss and identify these emotions with your child. Note when characters feel sad, happy or frightened etc and ask questions such as “I wonder how the rabbit is feeling?” “Do you think the mouse is feeling frightened? “Why do you think he does?” 

At this age emotions are often on show much more readily during toddlerdom and so helping children label emotions can help them regulate their feelings. 

Top Book Recommendations for Toddlers to Boost Literacy 3

Reading regularly  

I believe that nothing is as important as finding time in the day to read a story with your child, as I have mentioned previously you will soon discover that your child has favourites which will be read over and over again by you! 

Using your local library is a really good way to incorporate lots of new and exciting stories and non-fiction books to your child. A book at bedtime is a special time to snuggle up with a story, a special time I remember well with my own children. Even now in their twenties my children remember the stories I read to them when they were little. Treasured memories! 

A young child wearing a spider-man costume sits on the floor, intently concentrating on a task, in a cozy room filled with children's books.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite books for toddlers! Rod Campbell has some wonderful titles that the toddlers at Fennies LOVE: 

  • Dear Zoo 
  • Noisy farm 
  • Oh Dear 
  • My Presents 
  • Fluffy Chick 


Along with these wonderful titles from equally amazing authors! 

  • On the farm by Axel Scheffler 
  • Listen to the birds by Marion Billet 
  • Listen to the seaside by Marion Billet 
  • Listen to the jungle by Marion Billet 
  • Five little monkeys By Sarah Ward  
  • The very hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle 
  • Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill 
  • The tiger who came to tea by Judith Kerr  
  • We’re going on a bear hunt Michael Rosen  
  • Peck, peck, peck By Lucy Cousins  
  • Ten little fingers and ten little toes by Mem Fox 
  • Fox’s socks by Julia Donaldson 
  • Flip flap zoo by Axel Scheffler 




Education Advisor

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