Toddler Activities to Encourage Literacy

It is no surprise, I am a huge fan of books.  I love to read.  I miss having the time to read like I did before children, so now, I get my fill of reading with children’s books.  If I were to just say I have a ridiculous amount of books, you probably wouldn’t understand just how serious I am.  So I will show you.  This picture is only the books that we don’t have out on our upstairs or downstairs bookshelves.  They are organized by topic/season/holidays.  Most have come from garage sales, some from Scholastic’s $1 books, and some as gifts.  I love books, and so do both of my kids.


Lucky for me, both of my kids feel the same way about books as I do.  I imagine that is due in part to them seeing me read during bath time.  Whatever the reason, I am so excited about it.  And I am really excited about the Little Free LIbrary I get to set up in our community thanks to Alpha-Bits.  It arrived last week, and the kids are so excited to open it and read the books.  Plus, everybody I tell about it is excited.  They keep donating books for it which is AWESOME!

Ways to Encourage Literacy in Young Children

Okay, back to the topic at hand.  There are so many ways to get toddlers excited about books and learning about letters.  Here are a few of our favorite ways to get the kids excited about reading.


Read.  Yep, that simple.  I let them choose the books.  Anytime, and I really {almost} mean anytime they want me to sit down and read, if at all possible, I do.  Charlie has recently started getting very excited about books.  He has definite favorites and is starting to enjoy longer stories.  I encourage it by sitting down with him when he is ready for story time.  Go to the library for story time, or just to check out some books.

Encourage Literacy in Young Children

Make letters readily available in many ways.  I’m talking things that are out and available for them to play with during the day.  We have the Leap Frog letter thing on our fridge, along with regular magnet letters.  We have alphabet bean bags, a pop up letter game that teaches sounds, a caterpillar letter sound toy, and Take10 Cookie game from Learning Resources that we like to play a lot.

Ways to Encourage Literacy in Young Children

Get artsy.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant.  I found a printable {I wish I could remember where} and each page is a letter of the alphabet made of circles just perfect for bingo dobbing.  Both of the kids love these.  Or you could cut out the letter and let them paint, color, glue things to it.  It’s really fun to glue things that start with that letter or pictures of things that start with that letter.

Make it messy.  We use our fingers to create letters and words in shaving cream on the table.  Or, tape letters to the bottom of a pan of dry rice, or better yet, hide the magnet letters in the rice.


Get it to go.  It takes no effort.  We are driving, Maggie will yell out that she sees a letter that she knows.  If she sees a sign anywhere, she will tell me the letters.  I recently found an idea on Facebook, author unknown, at least to me.  Take a paper plate, not a styrofoam one, write the letters of the alphabet around the edge of the plate.  Cut a slit in between the letters and go for a walk.  As you find the letters, fold them down.  You can do this with letter sounds as well.


Food is fun.  You can make these fun alphabet crispy bars using Post Alpha-Bits cereal.  Make them as normal crispy bars and use cookie cutters to cut them out into letters.  Have fun forming words with them.  Or, just play with {I mean, search} through the cereal looking for words and letters.  Maggie loves to look through the cereal and spell words and names and glue them to the paper.


Encourage Literacy in Young Children


There are so many ways to encourage literacy in young kids.  Pretty much anything you do in your day can involve letters and reading.  Maggie is really into writing letters right now, and this may be one of the funnest stages ever!  We were driving down the road the other day and she’s in the back seat telling me, in her most excited voice, that she wrote my letter.  She made an S.  Sure enough, she did!  Then I told her the next letter, which is one she knows and is really good at.  She wrote that one too.  She has learned to write her name all by herself and it is so exciting.  There are some stories we have read a ton, and while she isn’t actually reading the words, she can “read” the story to me, pretty much word for word, turning pages when it’s time and everything.  My love for reading has definitely been passed down.


I can’t wait to set up our Little Free Library in our community to help share our love of reading with so many other families.  The kids are so excited just seeing it sit here in the living room.  Keep your eyes peeled.  In the next few weeks, we will be getting our library out into the community and it is going to be so awesome!


In what ways do you encourage literacy in your little ones?



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