Whether you are reading with your toddler or they are 'reading' books by themselves, you might find that they are starting to outgrow some of their baby books, needing something with a bit more detail. So, we have asked Ladybird editor Nicola Bird, who has worked on Ladybird's Toddler Touch books, to give us some more detail about what toddlers need from books and how Toddler Touch caters specificially for this age and stage.
How do Toddler Touch books differ from Baby Touch books?
These books have a little bit more going on in them, in ways that benefit a busy toddler who by 15 months or so will have greater dexterity, coordination and awareness of items on a page. As well as bright images and touch–and-feels – all things that you find in a Baby Touch book – the books have flaps to lift, finger trails to follow and more in-depth, thematic content with lots to discuss together.
At what age (or stage) should parents progress from Baby Touch books to Toddler Touch books? Could you suggest a few things to look out for that would identify when a baby is ready to move onto Toddler Touch?
Each child develops at different rates, but the Toddler Touch books are particularly good for helping your child expand their vocabulary and develop better hand-eye coordination. If you child is learning to talk, then the familiar, everyday objects in the Toddler Touch books will help them to begin to link the pictures and the things they see everyday around them to words. Similarly, if your baby goes straight for the touch-and-feels in the Baby Touch books and can turn the pages with ease, then they’re ready for the more challenging finger trails, flaps and ‘peepo’ holes in Toddler Touch.
What tips would you have for helping little ones get the most out of books at this age/stage? Any tips for parents?
As your baby grows into a more independent toddler, they are likely to want to ‘read’ books all themselves, from turning the pages to making up their own stories. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, so encourage them to spend as much time as they want interacting with a book by discussing what you see on the page and asking questions of what they can see – ‘What’s under the flap?’ ‘Can you follow the wiggly line with your finger to the end?’ ‘What’s that little girl doing?’
The Toddler Touch books contain ‘finger trails’ – can you explain what this means?
These are wiggly lines that go across a double page to help children develop good hand-eye coordination, a valuable pre-writing skill. Can your child trace this line with their finger all the way to the end? As you follow the trails, there are things to look out for or text to read along the way!
An example of a 'finger trail', taken from Ladybird Toddler Touch: First Words
First Words/First Numbers. If a toddler has a very limited vocabulary – or isn’t yet speaking – is it still beneficial to buy these books, or wait a while?
Sharing books like these with your child is a great introduction to first concepts and key vocabulary, and don’t forget that just because your child isn’t yet speaking, they are still soaking up everything they hear! The more you chat about what you see on the page or practise counting, the more your child will become familiar with the idea of different numbers of things, or that, for example, a particular word means ‘dog’ .
How do you choose subjects for the books?
We wanted the subjects to remain true to the sorts of things that older babies and toddlers are doing everyday, so that the subjects are relatable for both parent and child. We do lots of research online and with consultants, and also talk to lots of parents!
The Toddler Touch app – Can you explain a bit more about this – how it works and how it differs from the books? Would a toddler be able to navigate it themselves or would you advise a parent being on hand to go through with them?
The First Words:Toddler Touch and Say app is about vocabulary acquisition, or put more plainly, helping toddlers learn new words! It has very simple functionality so that children can use it themselves one they’ve had a practice.
There are 48 words to learn and practise, in four themed sections. Touch the pictures each time to hear a sound effect, and then touch the word to hear it spoken out loud! It’s easy to swipe from one image to another within the sections. However, we would always recommend that a parent use the app with their child as a shared, interactive experience is often more beneficial than a passive one.
Lastly, are any more Toddler Touch books or apps in the pipeline?
We have two more touch-and-feel books coming up in 2014. Both of these will have sturdy tabbed edges and be about the things that a busy toddler tends to do or the places they go in their day-to-day life.
Win Win Win!! We are giving away a copy of Ladybird Toddler Touch:Fluffy Chick and Ladybird Toddler Touch: Spotty Puppy to THREE lucky blog readers! Just leave a comment below, telling us what your toddler likes most about books (it could be lifting the flaps, listening to a story or even snuggling down alone for some silent contemplation!) and we will pick three winners at random.
Leave your comment by midnight, April 29th 2013. Good luck!
Update – 2 May 2013 – the prize draw is now closed and the winners been selected and notified by email.
Want to read more? If you would like more tips on reading with your child, plus book suggestions, videos and mums' stories visit the Age and Stage pages at Ladybird.com.