Children begin learning about language at birth as infants.
Believe it or not, you can teach literacy to a baby!
To keep it simple, start a bedtime routine by reading books to your baby.
Show them pictures and read to them. Now is a good time to practice your reading voice (intonation).
As your child grows, you may include reading before their afternoon nap time and/or when they wake up in the morning.
If you are short on time, keep it to a night time routine. Throw some books in your diaper bag for times when you are out and about with a spare few minutes (like when you are waiting with a infant or toddler at the doctors office). Keep books in the car for your child to look through when traveling from here to there. The important point to take away here is to read to your child every. single. day.
Once your child starts communicating verbally with you, you can start adding the following to your reading time which will increase your child’s reading comprehension. It should start to come naturally and it shouldn’t feel like you are in a classroom. Cozy up with a good couple of books and have at it!
Ask Questions: Ask questions about what’s happening in the story or even in the pictures.
Make Predictions: Ask your child “What do you think might happen next?” or “What do you think this book is about?”
Infer: Making inferences is an advanced reading strategy that children can begin doing at a young age. Inferring is making a smart guess based on clues in the story on something that isn’t written. For example, What do you think it means when the little girl cries after her friend calls her a name? Answer: she is upset and her friend hurt her feelings.
Pictures: Teach your child to “read” the pictures by simply looking at the pictures and talking about what’s happening in them.
Making Connections: Help your child make connections to story lines in the books you read. For example, if you are reading a book about Thanksgiving, you can make a connection by saying something like “We are getting ready to celebrate the same holiday! Barney is thankful for his friends, what are you thankful for?”
Determining the Importance: This is a more challenging and advanced strategy but you can begin teaching children to reflect on what the story was about. What was the author’s message? What was the theme of the book?
Reading with your child is a such a special time. It is especially a good time for Dad to connect with their little one because they don’t have to know much about the stages of child development to know what an appropriate game or activity might be, they can simply snuggle up with their child and read. We read together as a family every night before bedtime….all four of us, including our newborn daughter!
To find out more about reading to your child and the importance of it, click here.