You’ve heard that early childhood is a critical period for child development and you know the positive impact of reading to your child. Now let’s talk about some nuts and bolts of early literacy.
For infants, exploring a book is the first step. So be sure to have books nearby for your baby to explore. Remember infants put everything into their mouths, this is how they learn. Initially, read board books with high contrast pictures and then picture books with bright, bold pictures. Talk to your baby about the picture. Respond to your baby’s movements, expressions and coos. Build your baby’s attachment as you make sharing a book a part of your daily routine.
Toddlers are on the go. They are playing, talking and exploring. Make books a part of their exploration. Choose interactive books that engage your child. For example, a book with textures or a lift-the-flap book. There are also numerous books that engage the reader by interacting with the reader. Ask your child questions about the story and wait for a response. Read your child’s favorite book again and again. Nurture your child’s developing vocabulary by reading every day.
Preschoolers are independent. They reinvent each day through their play. Use their play and interests to connect your child to books. For example, find books about princesses or about trains, whatever is their favorite thing at the moment. Consider concept books – books about shapes, colors and numbers. Make a special fort, reading basket or chair just for reading. Read a repetitive phrase together. Praise your child for “reading” a favorite book.