Two and Beyond: Interaction Is It
As they begin to talk, children transition from labeling pictures to having a dialogue with books. At this time, it is especially crucial to "follow their interests," says Dr. Moustafa, such as the moon or trucks or even car exhaust pipes. As parents talk with their children about a passion, these conversations help create children's "'schemas,' or knowledge of the world," Dr. Moustafa says, allowing kids to make more sense of the subject.
Also key is to discuss stories with kids and make sure they understand the language and the meaning. "It is OK to focus on words," such as, "Do you know what gigantic means?" and then talk about how that word appears in the story, says Dr. Stevens.
More generally, parents can read "in a way that enables the child to comprehend the story," says Dr. Moustafa. "This could mean anticipating comprehension problems or responding to the child's questions." If a parent simply reads through a story in lockstep, without stopping for questions or checking to see if a child understands, the child might physically remove herself from the room in frustration, Dr. Moustafa says.