Early Literacy For Your Baby and Toddler

Children learn about language, reading, and writing when they are shown reading materials and share interactions with these materials with adults and older children.  Exposure to literacy materials does not mean teaching a child to read before they are ready.  Early literacy involves sharing books with children, describing the pictures, letting your child turn the pages and handle books.  The following is a list of suggestions for how you can share books with your young child (Suggestions taken from Zero to Three):

  • Make Sharing Books Part Of Every Day: Read or share stories at bedtime or on the bus.
  • Have Fun: Children can learn from you that books are fun, which is an important ingredient in learning to read.
  • A Few Minutes is OK- Don’t Worry if You Don’t Finish the Story: Young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will be able to sit longer.
  • Talk or Sing About the Pictures: You do not have to read the words to tell a story.
  • Let Children Turn the Pages: Babies need board books and help turning pages, but a three-year-old can do it alone. Remember, it’s OK to skip pages!
  • Show Children the Cover Page: Explain what the story is about.
  • Show Children the Words: Run your finger along the words as you read them, from left to right.
  • Make the Story Come Alive: Create voices for the story characters and use your body to tell the story.
  • Make It Personal: Talk about your own family, pets, or community when you are reading about others in a story.
  • Ask Questions About the Story, and Let Children Ask Questions Too!: Use the story to engage in conversation and to talk about familiar activities and objects.
  • Let Children Tell the Story: Children as young as three years old can memorize a story, and many children love to be creative through storytelling

-Julie Manyak, CCC-SLP

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