Reading with your toddler is one of the best things you can do together. It helps your child learn new skills and vocabulary, while spending some much needed time with you.
One thing parents never have to worry about is reading TOO much with their toddler. By making sure you have plenty of books for 2 year olds, it will help to make story time so much easier.
You can spend all day reading together; it’s one of the most educational experiences for young kids without any added pressure. Plus, who doesn’t love snuggling up with a good book?
The great thing is that there are some amazing books for 2 year olds out today. Whether you want a silly book or books that focus on letters and colors, you can find an abundance of options.
I put together a list of some of our must-have books for my toddlers to help you build an awesome book collection.
Related: 21 Best Books for 1-Year-Olds You Need on Your Bookshelf
This post may contain affiliate links for which I would receive a small commission on your purchase, at no additional cost to you.
What is the Reading Level of a 2-Year-Old?
At 2, your child should definitely get the concept of “reading” a book. Of course, they won’t actually be reading the words, but they will most likely grab a book and snuggle in the corner of the couch to flip through the pages.
At this stage, you don’t want to focus on whether or not your child is identifying letters or not. Just make sure they understand how to read the book from front cover to back cover and the right way to hold it.
They will simply look at the pictures at this age, but as they get later in their 2’s, they’ll start to recognize that there are letters and words on the page that actually mean something.
Reading to your two-year-old is incredibly valuable because it improves language skills and early literacy development. Experts also say that reading boosts social and behavioral skills.
Don’t forget it’s also a time to bond and have fun with your toddler during a meaningful time.
How to Pick Books for 2-Year-Olds
Amazon and store shelves are full of amazing books for kids of all ages, so you might wonder how to pick a book for your two-year-old toddler.
Toddlers are “pre-readers,” which simply means they aren’t able to read yet. So, if you go into a bookstore, look for the pre-reading section.
Here are some suggestions when picking books for toddlers.
- Colorful with Nice Illustrations
One of the first things to make sure is that the book is colorful with attractive illustrations. Children are visual, so they will naturally gravitate to books that look visually appealing first before the storyline catches their interest.
- Rhyming & Repetitive Words
Rhyming is an early literacy skill that helps with reading, and when you read books with plenty of rhyming, your toddler develops this skill. Repetitive words are easy to memorize and predictable, allowing your toddler to finish the sentences.
Look for books with flaps or moving parts to allow the child to interact with the book while reading. Books that encourage movement or asks questions are fun too.
Most books have a suggested age range, but you don’t have to stick to that totally. A two-year-old would enjoy a book for three or four year olds, as long as the storyline isn’t too complex.
- Board Books
I would suggest having plenty of board books available for your two-year-old. The thick covers and pages allow a toddler’s small fingers to turn them easily, and it’s much harder to rip and destroy the books. Paper pages tear too easily. Save the paper books for reading with an adult!
20+ Best Books for 2 Year Olds
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Every little kid loves this board book. The story follows a brown bear and what is seen throughout his travels. It’s a great book to introduce colors – a red bird – and the predictable text is great for early literally skills.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Two year old is a great time for little toddlers to start working learning the alphabet in a fun way. This board book introduces your child to the alphabet without being boring.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is the story of 26 letters as they race to the top of a coconut tree. The letters climb the tree, and the branches bend under the weight, eventually snapping. Then, the letters come tumbling down!
Dear Zoo: A Lift-The-Flap Book
In this book, a little child writes to the zoo, asking them to send him a pet. The zoo sends a pet, but each one is returned home for being too large, too tall, or something else.
This is an interactive book that gives you some clues as you try to guess what will be the perfect pet. It has repetitive phrases, large texts, and pretty illustrations.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
You may shed a few tears reading this book with your two-year-old. It celebrates the kind of people we want our kids to grow up to be.
The book doesn’t focus on jobs or abilities but rather being kind or brave adults. It’s a rhyming book that makes it easy for you read aloud, and the illustrations are captivating.
Everyone has woken up on the wrong side of the bed from time to time. This adorable story follows Jim and his friends who cannot understand why he’s acting so grumpy that day.
The story is comical, and it teaches emotions. It’s good for toddlers to learn that it’s okay for them to feel their feelings!
Related Post: 21 Important Things to Teach Your 2 Year Old
Potty – Board Book
Many toddlers at two years old show interest in learning how to use the potty. This board explores where cats and dogs go to potty, but the baby doesn’t think he can use the outside as a potty.
He ends up trying out the toddler potty and uses it successful. Then, his parents celebrate.
This book is a great way to prepare your toddler for toilet training while still being a gentle introduction.
Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book
Babies, toddlers, and even preschoolers think this book is adorable. It teaches numbers and counting; you count all the kisses between the mom and her baby.
Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?
Is your toddler obsessed with vehicles? Then, expect this book to be a huge hit!
The story follows diggers and dump trucks, along with cranes and tractors as they go to sleep. It uses adorable rhymes about bedtime routines, making this an adorable book for going to bed.
Little Blue Truck
This story about a blue truck and different farm animals has a funny storyline, but it’s also an educational story as well. The book teaches your two-year-old toddler about life, kindness, and perseverance.
Kids of all ages, even older kids, enjoy reading this story.
A Little Stuck
Oliver Jeffers writes incredible books for young kids, and A Little Stuck is a favorite for kids of all ages. This story will surely send everyone into giggles.
Floyd has to rescue his kite from the tree, so he tries throwing everything he can think up there to knock down. He even throws an orangutan!
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Your toddler will love this book about a pigeon who wants to drive a bus, but the bus driver asks the reader – your toddler – to not let the pigeon do so. That means your toddler gets to say no – a lot.
There aren’t too many words, but the illustrations are fun. You also can talk about the feelings the pigeon has based on the pictures.
No list of books for 2 year olds is complete with Goodnight Moon. It’s one of the best bedtime stories for toddlers; the little bunny says goodnight to all the familiar things in the room.
It’s really quite adorable!
Sally the dog has to find her puppy, Spot, because it’s supper time. She looks all over the place but can’t find Spot.
This is a popular series, perfect for teaching spatial concepts, and your toddler will have a find time lifting the flaps to find Spot.
First 100 Padded Books: Numbers, Colors, Shapes
Introducing new vocabulary to your two-year-old is an important part of their development. This book is a simple way to help your toddler learn new words, focused on numbers, shapes, and colors.
Opposites with Frank Lloyd Wright
If you want to add some more educational books to your bookshelf, grab Opposites. This is a great learning book for 2 year olds, teaching vocabulary and the concept of opposites.
Toddlers learn words like round and pointy, bright and dark, and city and nature. All of the words are based on Wright’s famous works of art.
There’s a Bear on My Chair
There’s a Bear on My Chair is a cute story about a mouse who finds a bear in his chair. Then, he tries all sorts of tricks and tactics to get the bear to leave.
The story uses short, rhyming texts with detailed, funny illustrations. It’s a book that inspires conversations about how your child could handle situations.
Whistle for Willie
Ezra Jack Keats writes amazing books for kids of all ages, and Whistle for Willie is a winner.
This book follows Peter who wants to learn how to whistle, but he realizes its not as easy as it looks. The story is set in a multi-cultural urban setting, and it’s regarded as a children’s classic book.
Press Here: An Interactive Book
Press Here is an interactive book, perfect for toddlers who have tablet or play on their parents’ phones. The pages instruct the reader to follow directions with new results each time.
This book teaches cause and effect, along with counting and color identification.
Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too
Here is a silly book that shares the adventure of a little girl and her dad. I love books that show dads can and should be involved with their children. This is quite an endearing book.
One Duck Stuck
You might be able to tell from the name that this book is all about rhyming. One Duck Stuck has been a family favorite for almost two decades.
Toddlers enjoy the rhyming words and the building excitement as the animals try to help the duck get unstuck. It’s quite a funny story with lines your two-year-old will remember easily.
Here is an adorable springtime rhyming book that shows it’s possible to have a fun day when it’s a rainy day. Your toddler will count up and down, enjoying the details on each page.
You might end up on rainy day adventures because of this adorable book for 2 year olds!
How to Read with a 2 Year Old
Many two-year-olds like to “read” by themselves, but it’s still important for parents to pick up a book and read with them daily.
Here are some tips for making reading time one of your toddler’s favorite times of the day.
1. Let Your Toddler Pick
It’s okay for you to pick the book sometimes, especially when you bring new ones home, but toddlers love having the feeling of control. This is an easy choice they can make each day that you support; they love the autonomy.
2. Yes, You’ll Read It Again
Listen, I know reading “Green Eggs & Ham” one more time might be the death of you, but you have to do it. Seriously, I think the books get longer after reading them three dozen times.
Repeated readings are great for toddlers. They learn more about the book, text, and storyline. It gives them a solid foundation, and they often pick up on different things as they read repeatedly.
3. Encourage Your Toddler to Participate
Two year olds love repetitive text because they can “read” the words on the page. So, when your toddler knows phrases, let them say it and participate in the reading. It builds pre-reading skills.
Also, let them hold the book! Parents usually like to hold the book during bedtime stories, but why not let your child hold it? This will teach them the correct way to hold a book and flip the pages.
4. Let Your Toddler Read the Pictures
A 2-year-old can’t read real words just yet, but they’re able to read the pictures in the story. Once they read a book so often, they understand what the pictures mean.
So, ask your toddler to read the book based on the pictures. If they don’t get it right, that’s okay, but it’s fun to try.
5. Track with Your Finger
When you are reading to them, be sure to use your finger to follow along with the words on the page so they start to associate the letters with what you’re saying.
At this point, you can stop making up your own words or just describing the pictures on the page and actually read word-for-word. This way, your toddler will get the concept that a story is being told.
I love finding new books for 2 year olds that my kids love. These are just a few of our favorites; make sure to let me know your other favorites in the comments!