When kids sit next to a caring adult and hear engaging stories, they develop positive associations with books. Reading aloud to your child strengthens the part of their brain associated with visual imagery, the ability to understand stories and word meaning. When you read to your two-year-old, they pick up on important book smarts, like how to hold a book and which direction to turn the pages. These skills are called "concepts about print," and they help kids prepare to be successful independent readers.
Literacy The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Two-Year-Old
Make the most out of story time:
Reading to young children helps build bonds, vocabulary and habits. If reading a story is part of the bedtime routine from infancy or toddlerhood, your child will likely become even more invested than you are in maintaining the tradition. Keep at least one small basket of books at kid level — and expect them to get chewed on, stepped on, spilled on and adored!
ABC Scrub With Me
In this activity, you'll find ways to emphasize hygiene and handwashing while practicing letters and letter sounds with your child.Do This Activity
Read the Pictures
Illustrations can help kids build their vocabulary and start to understand emotions. When a sad, happy, angry or surprising event occurs, pause to look at the characters' facial expressions. Ask, "How do you think she's feeling right now?" Authors who are particularly skilled at portraying emotions in both words and pictures include Kevin Henkes, Patricia Polacco, Arnold Lobel and Mo Willems
Make a Feelings Photography Book
Talking about feelings as you make a photo book of faces can help your child identify how faces can show emotion.Do This Activity
Give Kids a "Part"
Predictable books follow a pattern — such as repeated lines or obvious sequences (days of the week, letters or numbers). Young kids love "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and, more recently, the Pete the Cat series, because they can quickly anticipate what comes next and can become involved in the reading experience. Once children pick up on the pattern, prompt them to recite key lines or complete a sentence that you start. Nursery rhymes and rhyming books, such as "The Cat in the Hat" or "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," also help to get children involved in the story.
Abby is waving her magic wand in different habitats! Your child can help her find all of the things in a specific habitat that begin with the letter she says.Play This Game
Get a Library Card
Parents sometimes struggle to find books that will hold their child's attention. The children's room at your local library can be your best ally. Browse the stacks and displays or — better yet — ask the librarian for recommendations based on your child's age and interests. Many libraries host story hour — a great opportunity not only to expose your child to reading but also to hear how another adult reads and engages kids with books. For online book recommendations by age, try Reading Rockets great read alouds for babies through Grade 3
Act Out the Life Cycle of a Butterfly
A trip to your local library can be lots of fun! Help your child find a book on butterflies and metamorphosis and then act out how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.Do This Activity
Pause Before Turning the Page
It's tempting to rush through books on the way to another activity. But by occasionally pressing the "pause button" before you turn a page — stopping to notice something about a picture, to explain a word, to ask a question, to make room for your child to ask a question — you can support your child's learning
Explore Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Encouraging open-ended, imaginative play, this app let's your child explore as they visit familiar places and create stories.Play This Game
Raise a Reader with Sesame Street
On this very special street, children learn early language and literacy skills such as letter knowledge, vocabulary, and reading and writing fundamentals.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Two-Year-Old
ActivitiesView All Activities
Taking a trip to the grocery store can provide many opportunities for your child to practice math, literacy, and science skills. In this activity, your child can help pick out vegetables at the store and then sprout some vegetables at home.
AppsView All Apps
PBS Parents Play & Learn
Designed specifically with parents in mind, this app provides more than a dozen math and literacy games that parents can play with their kids. Each game builds on the natural curiosity of children and is themed around a familiar location like the garden or grocery store.
GamesView All Games
Home Alone in Dr. Two-Brains' Lair
Dr. Two-Brains has left his lair and his henchmen are feeling mischevious. Your child can learn new nouns in this game by aiming a cheese ray at objects to turn them into cheese.