Jun 13, 2024 5 min read

Books to Read to Infants and Toddlers at Your Daycare

Leah Woodbury By: Leah Woodbury

Reading to infants and toddlers fosters early development – the roots of language are developing in babies’ brains before they can talk!  And the more words that babies hear over time, the more words they learn.

From infants to preschoolers, each age group benefits uniquely from the magic of books. Let’s take a look at how to select the best books for each age of children, as well as tips on how to make the read-aloud sessions in your child care and early childhood education programs captivating and educational!

Teacher reads to an infant.

The Importance of Reading to Infants and Toddlers

Reading aloud teaches babies about communication and introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors and shapes in a fun way, according to Kids Health.

Reading also builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills and gives babies information about the world around them.

By the time babies reach their first birthday, they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more words a baby will hear and the better he or she will be able to talk.

Benefits of Reading to Infants

Reading to infants might seem like an exercise in futility—after all, they can’t respond or even hold their heads up for that long. However, the foundation you’re laying is crucial for their cognitive and emotional development. 

Infant reading introduces them to language patterns, rhythm and tone, all of which play a role in speech development.

Benefits of Reading to Toddlers

For toddlers, books are a gateway to expanding their vocabulary and understanding of the world around them. 

Toddler reading time can improve listening skills, spark imagination and provide a sense of routine, especially when done consistently.

How to Read to Infants and Toddlers

Teacher reads to a toddler.

How to Read to Infants 

Hold infants close. Physical closeness during reading sessions helps infants feel safe and connected.

Use clear, slow speech and pronounce each word clearly and slowly to help them pick up on the sounds of language.

Engage with the book! Point at pictures, make sounds and mimic actions to keep them engaged.

Check out this blog from Read Brightly for a list of five things to look for when choosing books for babies!

How to Read to Toddlers

The National Center for Family Literacy shares these tips for reading to toddlers:

  • Toddlers will continue to enjoy books with familiar characters, but they also will begin to take interest in pictures filled with information, action and detail. Try some short stories, cause and effect stories and fictional books that describe a problem or circumstance to overcome.
  • Try predictable books with repeated text, words that rhyme and pictures that correspond to the text. Books with songs and repetitive verses are still a good choice for this age.
  • Toddlers can enjoy books with paper pages, but will still like books with a picture on every page and just a little bit of text.
  • Let toddlers decide if they want to sit on your lap while you read, or next to you on the couch or floor. Follow their cues. Talk about the characters and events in the story, relating them to a child’s own experiences. Pause when you read aloud to let  children fill in a word or phrase. This works great with rhyming and repetitive books.

How to Read to Preschoolers 

Teacher reads to preschool class.

Ask open-ended questions. Encourage critical thinking and comprehension by asking questions like, “What do you think will happen next?”

Relate the story to their experiences.  Make connections between the story and their own lives to deepen their understanding.

Encourage predictions. Before turning the page, ask them to guess what might happen next!

Pre-Kindergarten is a time to consider introducing sight words. Some “high-frequency” sight words for this age group include away, find, said, the and you. Check out this list of fun games to play to help young learners learn sight words!

Books to Read to Infants (0-12 months)

  • “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown: A timeless classic that soothes and prepares infants for naptime.
  • “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle: Simple text and vibrant illustrations keep the little ones engaged.
  • “Peek-A Who?” by Nina Laden: Sturdy with peek-a-boo holes, perfect for curious hands
Teacher reads book to baby while laying on the floor.

Books to Read to Toddlers (1-3 years)

  • “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle: Repetitive text and colorful images make it a toddler favorite
  • “Where’s Spot?” by Eric Hill: Lift-the-flap book that encourages interaction.
  • “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell:  Engaging with its lift-the-flap format and simple storyline

Books to Read to Preschoolers (3-5 years)

  • “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson: Rhyming text and an engaging story about a clever mouse
  • “We’re All Wonders” by R.J. Palacio: Teaches empathy and acceptance through its beautiful narrative
  • “Caps for Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina: A humorous tale that keeps preschoolers glued to the pages.

Let Procare Give You Back Time for Reading!

Incorporating books into your daycare routine is a straightforward yet impactful way to enrich the lives of the children in your care. With the right approach and book selection, infant reading and toddler reading can foster a love of books that lasts a lifetime!

Spending time in the classrooms of your center is important. But many directors and teachers get bogged down with day-to-day administrative tasks that take them away from doing what they love — nurturing and educating young children.

Procare saves you time and money by streamlining core administrative functions while raising the bar for the parent experience with professional communications, easy-to-access portals and the opportunity for real-time updates.

Procare can be configured to meet every need. We even make it easy to connect to other specialty systems such as payroll to make Procare the one-stop hub for everything you need to successfully run your child care center.

Calculate your potential cost and time savings by using Procare’s all-in-one child care management software by using this calculator:

Procare Cost and Time Savings Calculator Automated Payment Processing Cost
& Time Savings Calculator
Digital Curriculum Cost and Time Savings Calculator

Image of Tucker calculating your savings Image of Tucker calculating your savings Image of Tucker calculating your savings

Calculate your potential cost and time savings by using Procare’s all-in-one child care management software. All we will need from you is some information about your child care location*: Calculate your potential cost and time savings by using Procare’s secure and effortless child care payment processing. All we will need from you is some information about your child care location*: Calculate your potential cost and time savings by using Procare’s classroom management. All we will need from you is some information about your child care location*:

View Savings

* Our data model is based on our experience working with over 100,000 child care centers, before and after school programs and youth organizations since 1992.

Switching to will save you
hours and a month!* a month!

Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Family Registration
Attendance Tracking
Family Communication and Engagement
Financials
Payment Processing
Classroom Management
Family Registration
Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Attendance Tracking
Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Family Communication and Engagement
Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Financials
Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Payment Processing
Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Classroom Management
Manual Procare
Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)

The cost and time savings shown here are what the Procare all-in-one solution will help you save at your child care organization. Fill out the form below to see the full breakdown.

We understand that smaller centers and in-home daycare providers are operating on a tight budget, and that is why we provide all these features for the affordable price of just $25 per month. Let us handle the business of child care so you can get back to caring for your children.

To learn more about Procare home version, click below.

*Please note that the report you see only factors in cost and time savings for the in-home solution features. For Procare home version users that are interested in seeing how they can benefit from Procare’s full suite of capabilities, contact us today to speak to a Procare representative.​ *Please note that the report you see only factors in cost and time savings for the in-home solution features. For Procare home version users that are interested in seeing how they can benefit from Procare’s full suite of capabilities, contact us today to speak to a Procare representative. *Please note that the classroom management functionality is not available for in-home users. For Procare home version users that are interested in seeing how they can benefit from Procare’s full suite of capabilities, contact us today to speak to a Procare representative.

Image of Tucker calculating your savings
Cost & Time Savings
Date
Automation
Number of Staff
Number of Students
Hourly Rate
Savings per Month

For over 30 years, Procare Solutions has helped child care businesses big and small tackle their biggest operational challenges.

From contactless check-in, attendance tracking and staff management to family engagement, tuition collection and extensive reporting, we have the solutions that child care professionals want most.

More than 37,000 child care businesses choose Procare because we give them everything they need to focus on what they love—providing amazing experiences to the children in their care.

Our data model is based on our experience working with over 100,000 child care centers, before and after school programs and youth organizations since 1992.

Learn more at procaresolutions.com

Procare Cost and Time Savings Calculator

Family Registration Manual Procare
Task Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Enrollment
Waitlist / Lead Management
eDocuments
Family Data Entry / Management
Health and Immunization Records
Total per month
Attendance Tracking Manual Procare
Task Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Check-in/Check-out
Class Roster Management
Teacher-Student Ratio Tracking
Total per month
Family Communication and Engagement Manual Procare
Task Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Child Activity Tracking
Family Messaging
Staff Messaging
Meal Planning
Total per month
Financials Manual Procare
Task Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Payroll
Financial Reporting
Business Planning and Reporting
Staff Time Tracking / Scheduling
Total per month
Payment Processing Manual Procare
Task Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Registration Payments and Processing
Tuition Processing
Subsidy Management
Payment Reminders
Annual Tax Statements
Total per month
Classroom Management Manual Procare
Task Time(hr/month) Cost($/month) Time(hr/month) Cost($/month)
Activity Planning
Develop and Maintain Curriculum
Assessments and Milestones
State Compliance / Licensing Reporting
Total per month
 
Understanding 2024 Trends in the Child Care Industry

Understanding 2024 Trends in the Child Care Industry

View On-Demand Webinar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leah Woodbury

Leah Woodbury is the head of content at Procare Solutions. Her job includes writing about topics that matter to child care professionals and finding ways to help them do their important work. She’s a mom of two who loves getting updates about what her preschooler is doing during the day via the Procare child care mobile app!

Leah Woodbury