Read to your Baby
You are your baby’s first teacher! From the moment a baby is born, they are ready to learn, and they begin to understand language long before they begin to speak.
Read to your Toddler
A burst of research activity in the past few years is giving us a whole new understanding of how the brain develops and the crucial role of early language experiences, including reading.
Read to your Preschooler
Preschoolers are almost ready to read – and the opportunities to read are everywhere! Children this age can sit for longer stories and begin to retell the story to you.
Six Skills Your Child Needs to Learn to Read – Starting from Birth
Vocabulary – knowing the name of things
Why is it important? Children need to know the meaning of words to understand what they are reading. The more words a child hears, the more words they understand which helps them make connections when they begin to read.
How you can help! You can help your child develop his vocabulary by naming things. Name things children see in their daily lives, point out things in books and name them or ask your child if he knows what something is.
Print Awareness – noticing print, knowing how to handle a book and follow the written word on a page
Why is it important? Children with print awareness understand that the squiggly lines on a page make up words, and that words make up the story. They also understand that the story continues and learn to flip the page.
How you can help! You help your child develop print awareness every time you read to them. You can also help by pointing out that print is, literally, everywhere. Point out signs – stop signs, names of stores – whatever print your child sees regularly!
Narrative Skills – the ability to describe things and tell stories
Why is it important? Narrative skills are important for children to be able to understand what they are reading. Good narrative skills lead to good reading comprehension.
How you can help! Tell your child stories – even short ones. Engage in conversation with even the youngest of children. Ask your baby, “Should we get dressed now?” (pause) “Okay, lets get dressed! First we’ll take off your pajamas…” Ask your toddler or preschooler what happened to them during their day, and then ask for more details.
Print Motivation – a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books
Why is it important? A child with print motivation enjoys books, plays with books, enjoys being read to and may begin to pretend to write. Children who enjoy books and reading will want to learn how to read and will read more.
How you can help! Read to your child often and keep it fun! Keep your child close to you and read to your child when you are both in a good mood, so that the experience is multisensory, enjoyable and loving.
Phonological Awareness – the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words
Why is it important? This skill helps children learn to sound out words as they begin to read by breaking words down into smaller sounds. This skill is critical to being able to learn how to read, and is considered an early predictor of reading ability, as it indicates a child’s ability to “break the code” between written language and spoken language.
How you can help! Play rhyming games, say nursery rhymes, recite poetry and sing songs to your child. Speak intentionally, placing emphasis on each syllable or letter sound in a word and breaking words down into parts. Ask your child to think of words that start (or end) with the same sound.
Letter Knowledge – knowing that letters are different from each other, that each letter has a name and is related to a word.
Why is it important? In order to read, a child must understand that words are made up of letters and that each letter makes a sound.
How you can help! Helping your baby or toddler learn different shapes will help prepare her to recognize what is similar or different in letters later on. Help your preschooler learn her abc’s by pointing out letters and practice writing them with crayons, paint, chalk or in the sand!