When you look at your 3-year-old child running and climbing it’s hard to remember that just a short time ago she was a tiny baby in your arms! Since her birth, your child has soaked up all the words she has heard spoken, sung, and read aloud to her. Now she has more of the words she needs to tell you how she is feeling and to describe the wonder of the world she encounters every day.
Your 3 year old has his own opinions and is becoming more independent. He can imagine, and even though he is still the center of his own world, he is starting to understand that other people have different ideas and feelings than he does. He may even be able to take turns and share toys!
What should you read aloud to this newly confident, yet still dependent child? 3 year olds have a longer attention span and can listen to books with more words. They also appreciate stories that are silly and make them laugh.
Since your 3 year old is busy and on the go, read when there is a natural break in your child’s activity, such as during snack time, bedtime, or during a bath. Reading aloud is a great way to unwind and refocus a child’s energy. Ask lots of questions about the story and the pictures so your child can develop his or her curiosity and keep building vocabulary.
Here are some books that keep reading fun and introduce new ideas:
- “Bark George!” by Jules Feiffer. A humorous encounter with a dog who has trouble saying, “Arf!”
- “Pete’s a Pizza,” by William Steig. Pete’s mom and dad make him into a pretend pizza with some things they find around the house. Do this at home for loads of giggles!
- “Yoko,” by Rosemary Wells. When Yoko starts school she is the only one who brings sushi for lunch. What will the other children say?
- “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. A baby bird hatches and finds his mother isn’t in the nest, so he starts on an adventure to find her, making many unintentionally silly mistakes along the way.
- “The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins. Grandma makes cookies, but then friends come to visit. Will there be enough for everyone?
- “The Salamander Room” by Ann Mazer, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Francher. A boy finds a salamander and his imagination turns his whole bedroom into a woodland paradise for his new friend.
- “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson. Three baby owls are left in their nest while their mother goes off to find food. Will she ever come back? The end of the story is reassuring.
- “Lyle, Lyle the Crocodile,” by Bernard Waber. This series of books about a lovable crocodile who lives in an apartment on East 88th Street in New York City is filled with many occasions that need creative problem solving and end up in fun.