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Reading Levels

Using Books to Interact with Your Toddler

Toddlers’ ability to move independently and observe the world around them opens up a smorgasbord of potential new interests. So how can you harness their adventurous hunger and steer them toward a good book when they’d seemingly rather grace your walls with a crayon masterpiece?  

Show them the many ways books come alive, no heavy-duty cleaning products required. Here with some helpful tips and recommendations for books with built-in toddler appeal, Literati can help you channel your child’s energy into an interactive and enriching reading experience!

Tips for interactive reading

One of the guiding principles of reading to toddlers is to directly involve them in the storytelling process. In other words, it’s a two-way street (and you can help make it a low-traffic one!) Here are some ways to get the most out of this valuable time together: 

Stock the shelves
Update your current library with books that put your child’s budding interests—animals, sports, horticulture—front and center. Make these books easy for a toddler to access and flip through whenever a craving hits.

Prepare the environment
When it’s time to read, make sure the book is the primary focus. Set the right mood by turning off potential distractions (like those pesky screens) and finding a quiet and comfortable reading spot.

Enlist help
Invite your child to choose the book you’ll be reading. You can also set out a handful to choose from. Gladly accept the decision (familiar as it may be) and let them turn the pages themselves. This gives them an empowering sense of agency.

Get inquisitive
Find moments to ask open-ended questions about what’s happening in the story so your toddler can get inside characters’ heads and practice critical thinking skills. You can also take deliberate pauses to encourage your child to finish a familiar phrase for you, offering helpful nudges when needed.

Be theatrical
Show off your versatility by making sound effects and using different voices for various “roles.” Toddlers also respond to rhyme and music. Even if a certain book doesn’t include a rhythm, feel free to break out the jazz hands and improvise a tune, encouraging your child to clap or sing along. Variety of sound and pitch helps hold their attention.

Best books for toddler interaction

You may well have the gusto to enthrall a young audience just by reading aloud from a dictionary. But if you’re looking for more hands-on options, these books (available through Literati subscription boxes) feature vibrant colors and interactive elements such as mirrors, peekaboo flaps, and on-page textures:

Book Cover See Touch Feel

See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book

by Roger Priddy

The vibrant colors will draw toddlers in and the textured imagery will keep them occupied. As they explore the book with their fingers, you can ask about their sensations.

Book Cover for Peek a Who

Peek-a Who?

by Nina Laden

Lift the flaps to reveal the many colorful members of the animal kingdom. The visual fun is balanced out by rhyming text that accompanies each new discovery.

Book Cover for Guess What's in Space

Guess What’s in Space

from Clever Publishing

This is a perfect choice for young space enthusiasts. The liftable flaps and prompts for guessing make for an active and educational look at the cosmos.

Book Cover for Playtown


by Roger Priddy

For a more down-to-earth experience, this colorful lift-the-flap book portrays the hustle and bustle of urban life. Reading this will give toddlers insight into common sights outside the home.

One page at a time

It may take some experimenting to find out which stories your child finds most compelling. Be prepared to return to a particular story many times; toddlers don’t tire of repetition. Try to read a little every day, and don’t feel the need to force it if your little one’s attention starts to wane. With regular practice, the shared act of reading will become a comforting interaction that builds a loving rapport—and keeps your walls clean!

Interact with Literati Book Clubs to get titles like these delivered

You can get these books and others like it by signing up for a Literati Book Club. When you share your toddler’s reading interests with the Literati team, they’ll get to work selecting personalized titles that match up. Soon, you’ll receive regular handfuls of hands-on books that make for a special shared experience, complete with flaps and sound cues.

Authored by Team Literati
November 11, 2022


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