Toolkit: Developing a Child’s Attention – Reading

Looking at books together will help expand your child’s focus and attention. Remember that young children learn through repetition. Therefore, you may find yourself reading the same books over and over.

  • Infants can safely feel and explore cloth books. Books with simple images or just a few images per page are better. That’s because your child’s vision is still developing during his first year.
  • Older infants and toddlers can learn to turn pages and correctly orient a simple cardboard book. Ask your child simple questions about what she sees in the pictures. Eventually she will begin to point out things she wants you to label. She is building receptive language and developing an understanding that words have meaning.
    • Toddlers also enjoy little family photo albums. As language emerges, they can begin naming their favorite people.
    • Flap books help children develop emerging fine motor skills and build excitement in discovering pictures within.
  • Preschoolers continue to develop early literacy skills through reading. They begin to recognize and identify letters and even familiar words and phrases in text. Children also can relate to experiences in books and develop their imaginations through stories.
  • Children will begin to tell their own stories as they relay their experiences. Parents can write these stories down and keep a “journal” of their child’s experiences. Encourage children to draw pictures to pair with these stories.
  • Here are ideas for adapting books:
    • Try gluing different-colored Popsicle sticks (to the sides) or small foam pieces (to the bottom corner) of a page to make turning pages easier.
    • Add textures to books to enhance sensory properties. This can make books more inviting, especially for children with visual impairments or sensory processing challenges.
    • Laminate pictures related to the content to create an educational matching activity.