Looking for books to read with your toddler? EPL staff have compiled excellent titles that are sure to thrill your little one!
These titles are featured in EPL's recommended reading lists, along with early literacy tips and information for parents and caregivers. Click the images below to see the full reading booklet (also featuring titles for babies and preschoolers!)
Free printed keepsake copies of both of these booklets are available from any EPL around the city. Pick up a copy to keep and personalize it with your toddler's preferences as a way to keep cherished memories forever!
Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn: Learn strategies to enhance your child's communication and development through repetition, visuals and movement. For babies and toddlers younger than 3 years.
Rhymes That Bind: Join other parents with young children in a caring setting. Support your child's language development through positive interactions using songs and rhymes. This program is offered in partnership with the Centre for Family Literacy.
EPL offers over 6800 programs each year; search the current listings to find one that's right for you and your family.
EPL Can Help!
We have books, free programs, expert advise from staff and great early literacy resources - all ways to help your toddler with essential early literacy skills.
Sharing songs together can make everything more fun! Add songs to your everyday activities to make them more fun—bathtimes, folding the laundry, making dinner or diaper changing! To your children, you have the most beautiful voice in the world! They don’t mind if you sing off-key—they are just happy that you are sharing music with them! Singing helps children understand how the little sounds in language work, which helps put them on the path to becoming readers!
Some of the first words a child learns are face and body parts! Rhymes that include touching faces and moving fingers help children learn words, but they also offer you a chance to cuddle with your child! Babies love to have their faces touched, and toddlers and preschoolers love to master their fingers! Rhymes that encourage loving physical contact help children feel safe and loved and ready to learn!
Early Literacy for Toddlers
Toddlers are putting all of the information that they are collecting about the world into use. This is an excellent time to instil the 6 skills of early literacy. Here are some ways to do this at home (watch the matching videos):
- Read alphabet books together; they are a great way to focus on one letter at a time
- Point out things around the house and say what letter they start with
- Play with magnets or cutout letters – move them around to make new words!
- Use books as a starting point to talk about the pictures within. Ask questions about what you see and give your toddler lots of time to tell you his answer
- When talking with your toddler, give things an order ("We will have lunch and then we will go to the park")
- Encourage their curiosity and answer as many of their questions as possible
- Read together every day.
- Have conversations with your toddler; the tone of your voice will help them learn what a question sounds like!
- Use shakers, drums, and other simple instruments to help break up songs and words into syllables
- Run your finger under a word as you read it; this will help children to see where words start and end
- Encourage your child to 'read' to you from books, using the pictures as a guide.
- Hold a book upside down and see if your child notices!
- Create a special time for reading, such as just after dinner or right before bed. It will become a time that your child looks forward to
- Talk to your child about their interests, and choose books that they like to read
- Read books with colourful pictures or special features, such as pop-ups, flaps, or textured pages
- Try putting labels up around the house with the names of objects; children will connect the word and letters to the item
- Speak directly with your child. They are much more likely to understand and remember words that are addressed to them.
- Gradually introduce more specific words (for example: when your toddler points out a bird, expand on what she's said. "Yes, that's a bird! That's a red robin!")
Other great early literacy resources are available from:
ABC Life Literacy Canada is a national organization that inspires Canadians of all ages to increase their literacy skills. There are lots of tips to help children and parents read, talk, and play together.
Located in Edmonton, the Centre for Family Literacy is dedicated to building, developing, and improving literacy with families and communities.
Find out about what the American Library Association is doing to help promote early literacy.