Birth to Age 2
Letter Knowledge: Being able to tell letters apart is basically a shape recognition skill. So talk about shapes with your baby! Tell them that their rattle is round or that their book is square. You are helping them get ready to learn their letters!
Let your child explore different shapes, different textures and different tastes. Talk to them about what is the same and different. This practice will help them later when they try to figure out what is the same and different about all the letters of the alphabet.
Print Awareness: In order to start learning how books work, babies need to be able to play with them. Keep some board books in the toy box & let them use all their senses to explore them—touching, seeing, even tasting!
Children love their own names! Write their name on the pictures they draw, then put your finger under the letters and say their name out loud. This will help them start to learn that print represents the words they hear.
Vocabulary: Sings songs like “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes” and point to the body parts as you sing them.
Talk to your baby and toddler all the time—even before they can answer you! The more words a child hears, the bigger their vocabulary will be. The more words they know, the easier it is to recognize words when they start to read.
Print Motivation: Babies have short attention spans. Unless your baby really wants to, you don’t have to read for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time. Keep the reading sessions short and fun!
Babies and toddlers who grow up with books around them become more motivated to learn to read. Keep books everywhere—in the diaper bag, in the car, in their bedrooms, all over the house!
Narrative Skills: When your baby babbles at you, say something back! Then pause and wait for an answer. Don’t worry if your child can’t say anything back, or that you do not understand each other—your baby is learning how conversations work.
Talk about what you’re doing, out loud, while you’re doing it. Your baby or toddler will soak up your words and start learning about how stories work.