At this stage, your toddler learns about reading through everyday experiences with books. Simply through reading with adults, your toddler learns that books contain lots of interesting pictures and words and that stories show her worlds to explore.
Toddlers who have been read to will invite others to read to them. When adults stop and talk about the pictures, label objects on the page, and describe what they see, they are also promoting the child's language development. As his language develops, your toddler will do these same things when he looks at books.
Toddlers learn that books are special. Your toddler's experiences interacting with books teach her how to handle books. She learns that there is a front and a back to the book. She also learns how to hold a book and how to turn its pages.
Toddlers may use "storybook language" in their everyday conversations. For example, over a bowl of hot macaroni, you may hear your toddler say, "I'm gonna huff and I'm gonna puff." Some toddlers may also incorporate reading into their fantasy play. For example, your child may read stories to his stuffed animals as he puts them down for a nap.
Toddlers learn about the structure of stories from books. Through reading different books, toddlers learn that most stories contain the same parts: a setting, characters, a series of events that lead to a problem, and a solution to the problem. When your toddler understands the way most stories are built, it helps her to understand new stories that are read aloud to her. Years later, this will help her to understand stories she reads independently.
Toddlers often show clear preferences and will ask to have a book read over and over again. Although parents may not want to read the same book, rereading is useful for toddlers. Reading a favorite book like Goodnight Moon for the one hundredth time will actually help your child relate what he hears to the words and letters on the page.