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Ages & Stages

How to Share Books with Children 2 and 3 Years Old

​​Even toddlers can enjoy books and learn from sharing books with you. Sharing books with your children can help them learn to talk better and get them ready to listen and learn in school.

Making books a part of your child's bedtime routine:

Set aside 10 to 20 minutes with the TV off for sharing books as part of your regular bedtime routine. Regular bedtime routines started when children are young will help prevent future bedtime struggles. Teaching your children how to fall asleep alone by putting them in bed awake helps prevent future night wakings.

Your 2-year-old child can…

  • Choose a book to share.

  • Enjoy sharing the same book over and over and over again!

  • Repeat some of the words and phrases you say or read.

  • Ask you questions, such as: "What's that?"

  • Enjoy a trip to your local public library for story time or to borrow some books.

What parents can do:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place for book sharing.

  • Use book-sharing as a way to calm and comfort your child.

  • Start a conversation by repeating an important word your child has just said, You can say: "Balloon. Lots of balloons. The girl has lots of balloons." Then wait for your child to say something more.

  • Count pictures and wait for your child to repeat the numbers after you.

  • Respond with enthusiasm to your child's questions and comments.

Your 3-year-old can…

  • Name the books they want to share with you.

  • Pretend to read a favorite book aloud to you.

  • Tell you how a story is like things they have seen or done.

  • Ask you questions about books you are enjoying together.

  • "Correct" you if you skip a word or page in a favorite book.

  • Tell you the story in a favorite book in their own words.

What parents can do:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place for book sharing.

  • Ask your child to tell you about the pictures and the story.

  • Respond with enthusiasm to your child's questions and comments.

  • Ask your child to show you all the things in a picture that are alike in some way. You can say: "Can you find all the blue things?" or "Show me all the things that can fly."

  • Point out colors, shapes, numbers in their books.

  • Take your child to the local public library to borrow books or to enjoy story time.

More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2021)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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