Introducing Toddler Literary Circle: A Book Club for Tots

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Whether you’re looking for an alternative to a “mommy & me” music class, or you’re stone cold serious about instilling a love of reading in your child as early as possible, a new book club for the littlest of lit fans is now meeting. Read on to find out how your tiny “reader” can become a member!

photo: Toddler Literary Circle

The Story of TLC: Toddler Literary Circle
The Toddler Literary Circle is the creation of Manhattan attorney (and mother) Sania Anwar, whose lifelong love of children’s books inspired her to launch the group, which brings together young readers and caregivers to enjoy and learn from kids’ books contemporary, classic and international.

While not an educator herself, Anwar consulted with librarians and educators to compose the curriculum, and after a successful inaugural session, TLC is returning this summer for more good reads.


photo: Toddler Literary Circle

Join the Club
TLC currently offers two weekly classes:  the 60-minute “Two-Hoots” for 2-3-year-olds, and the 90-minute “Three-Bees,” for 3-4-year-olds.  Anwar limits class size to just six children to maintain optimal individual attention, interaction, and engagement, and she reads the books aloud to the children (complete with quirky voices!) while sitting with them on the floor. “I try to make the classes as engaging and interactive as possible,” she says.  Parents are sent the curriculum in advance, so they know what to expect for the week, and children can bring their own copy of the book if they’d like.
With toddlers as her audience, Anwar is prepared for anything, from boredom to tantrums, and adjusts the classes accordingly. “We’ll do some ice breakers and some nursery rhymes and dancing to get them moving, or I’ll distribute some musical instruments.”


photo: Toddler Literary Circle

Read, Learn, Create
Each class is dedicated to a single age-appropriate title and follows what Anwar has dubbed the “TLC Method.” (Last session’s titles included books such as Bears in a Band, Lemons are Not Red and Blueberries for Sal.) Members can expect three  carefully-designed components to every class: “The Keynote” (the reading of the book of the week); “The Linguistic Leap” (when kids learn relevant simple multilingual vocabulary or an ASL sign), and “Art of Play” (a hands-on creative activity and constructive and dramatic play).

So, yes, your child will be exposed to a new book, but they’ll also have an art project to take home, and expand their vocabulary in a variety of languages. “Each class has two ASL words and one non-English word — Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Hindi, or Arabic — based on the book,” says Anwar. “All three are listed on a card that the children take home with them.”

For example, Pout Pout Fish was featured as a book of the week or “The Keynote” last season. After Anwar read the book to the toddlers, she then taught them to sign happy and sadin ASL, and the word pesce, which is Italian for “fish”. Then, the kids made a fish tank sensory bag and mixed and matched Velcro expressions on fish.


photo: Ashley Webb via Flickr

TLC for Summer
Summer sessions begin in mid-July, and are held in child-friendly Upper East Side space. You can even try a class out for free to see if it’s a good match for your budding bibliophile. Note that this is not a drop-in class and parents/caretakers must accompany their child at each class. Rates are as follows:

Two-Hoots (2 – 3 year olds, one-hour class): Half session (4 classes) $160; full session (8 classes), $300

Three-Bees (3-4 year olds, 90-minute class): Half session (4 classes): $200; full session (8 classes): $375

Curious to learn more?

Toddler Literary Circle
Online: toddlerliterarycircle

Would you join a book club for kids? Tell us in the comments below! 

— Rachel Sokol