When (You Think) Your Toddler Doesn’t Like To Read

Hi, I’m Jordan. I’m the co-founder of a company curating children’s books, and my daughter is a reluctant reader. Well, okay, that might be a little premature.  She’s only 1.5, but honestly, she is driving me crazy whenever we sit down as a family to read books! With our son, it was so easy. He loved reading and was selecting his own books and favorites before he was a year old. The most active of kids, he’ll sit still forever if we’re reading books to him. Not so for little miss sister, aka Boats.  Nope, she is on the move. This is how reading time goes:

“Bring mommy a book.”  Boats brings me a book.

“Okay, let’s look at the cover.  Look at…” Boats gets up, brings me a new book.

“Oh, good, I love this one.  It’s a classic!  In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon, and….” Boats gets up, brings me a new book.

And so on, for about fifteen books. It’s cute, but had me worried.  And then a few weeks ago, I discovered I Know A Lot, by Steve Krensky in our Zoobean library. It was love at first sight. Seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it. She wouldn’t put the book down.  Not only that, Boats made me read the book to her over, and over, and over, and she sat there, totally still and following along for each reading. It was a complete breakthrough, and taught me an important lesson.

Keep Reading.

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 It really is that simple. Keep reading, no matter your frustration. Boats is so young, which makes reading a lot of books easier. They’re short, they’re colorful, you know.  But as kids grow older and books are more complex, the same lesson holds true. When I taught 7th grade, I remember the magic of finding a book that inspired kids to love reading. It took a lot of effort to find them at times, but when I did, I could see the immediate change. Nose buried in a book, then asking me for more. And now, as a parent, I’m learning the same lesson all over again with my 18 month-old daughter.  

Of course, at Zoobean, we’re trying to make this a lot easier for parents, helping you identify books that excite your little ones about reading. But with the littlest of kids, who are still developing their own voices, we have to be incredibly careful not to label them early. “Oh, Boats, she doesn’t like to read like her brother. She’s just more active.”  

I admit it. I was wrong. She is a reader, I just hadn’t discovered the right book for her yet.