What do you do when your little one isn’t interested in books?

I find that children between the ages of one and three often have a hard time sitting through an entire book- especially if it’s a wordy book.

Here are a few tips to get started: Start with a shorter book.

  1. Wiggle while you read. If your child is really wiggly, then get out those wiggles while you read. Act out the book. As you go through the book, act it out. The book I’m showing here, I Like It When, has so many activities incorporated throughout the book! Way back in my twenties, when I taught English as a foreign language, one of the methods we were taught as teachers of a foreign language was to use Total Physical Response or TPR. This method meant that as we were teaching new words, especially action words, we would incorporate physical movement. And it really is a key that works so well for children, whether your child is learning one language or two.
  2. Start Small. If your young child has a lot of energy and they’re brand new to being read books, then the best place to start is with a shorter book.
  3. Do a book walk. You don’t need to read each page, word for word. Instead, do what we call a “book walk.” That’s where you look through each page and allow your child to show you what they’re interested in on that page and then comment on that!
  4. Age Appropriate. Another quick tip I’ll offer is to find books that are in your child’s age range and around their interests. I think we can always strive to provide our children with language rich environments, and so don’t be afraid to experiment with books that may be more challenging, but also, pay attention to what books are magnetic to your child. Give them a steady diet of those, and then try out new books or books that may be a little more challenging occasionally.

Finally, you may wonder, should I read the book in the both languages if it’s a bilingual book? Do you need to go through and read it in each language at the same sitting? No. You can focus on one language if that feels best to you. Your child most likely won’t have the attention span to sit through the story twice. And, your child will really learn new words when they have a chance to understand them and then say them. So, it’s better to go slower if that means your child stays interested, listens to the words you’re reading, and tries to repeat what he’s heard, or comment or ask questions on what you’ve read. This is what will really grow his language(s).

And finally, you know I don’t discourage code-switching (switching back and forth between languages). I do encourage parents to remember that the home language or the minority language (the language that isn’t the official language of a region or country) is the language that needs the most nurturing. So, if you feel comfortable speaking that language with your child, then it might be worth emphasizing that language a little more during story time!

What’s your little ones favorite book to read right now? And, what books does your child love reading and how do you read books with your child? Please like, share, and comment below if you found this video helpful.