Babies 0 – 18 months
Raising a Reader
Experts have identified activities that can help your child get ready to read. Engaging children in these simple activities every day can help them develop early literacy skills.
Babies aged 0 – 18 months can benefit from these activities:
Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation. Talking, telling stories, and stretching conversations are ways children learn new information, new vocabulary, and other early literacy skills.
Reading and writing go together. Both are ways to represent spoken words and to communicate information. As children scribble and draw, they practice eye-hand coordination and exercise the muscles in their fingers and hands. This helps develop fine motor control they need to hold a pencil or crayon and to write letters and words.
No matter what the age, reading to your child is the single most important activity that you can do to help your child get ready to read. It introduces children to “rarer” words that they may not hear in everyday conversation. Shared reading develops a love of reading and an appreciation of books. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read.
Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. Play helps children to think symbolically; a ruler becomes a magic wand, today becomes a time when dinosaurs were alive, a playmate becomes an astronaut exploring space. Play helps children understand that written words stand for real objects and experiences. Dramatic play helps develop narrative skills as children make up a story about what they’re doing. This helps them understand that stories happen in an order (first, next, last).
Songs help children develop listening skills and pay attention to the rhythms and rhymes of spoken language. Singing slows down language so children can hear different parts of words and notice how they are alike and different. Clapping along to rhythms help children hear the syllables in words, and it improves motor skills.
Building a Home Library
A home library for your child is important for developing lifetime readers.