Literacy starts from the beginning

In 2017 the American Academy of Pediatrics released research that shows, "reading books with a child beginning in early infancy can boost vocabulary and reading skills four years later, before the start of elementary school." Here are some tips to make reading fun from birth through school years.

Reading to Infants

  • Start when a child is first born or even while pregnant. Select rhythmic stories. They may not understand the words, but they will feel the rhythm.
  • Talk to your child all of the time, this is true at every age but especially as a baby. Singing is fun too!
  • Read magazines or books out loud and expose infants to an array of vocabulary.
  • Have cloth books and board books in the toy box.

Reading with toddlers

  • Make it a routine. Weather at bedtime, as the day is getting started, or a mid-day story time, make reading a part of your daily schedule.
  • Toddlers can help!
    • Have them turn pages.
    • Talk about the illustrations.
    • Wordless books let the child be the storyteller.
    • Pause occasionally and let you child guess, or Ask, "What do you think happens next?"
  • Show feeling and emotion as you read. Read with excitement, inflection, and annunciation.
  • Read the book they love over and over, but introduce new books and characters too!

Reading Resources

  • Local libraries have wonderful programs for children. Take your toddler to the library for story times, craft activities, or even just browse the stacks to pick out a bedtime story!
  • Local bookstores are also great places for story times and author events. Check out Indie Bound for a bookstore near you.

Getting Ready to Read

  • As you read, follow along with your finger. Children will see the pattern that words are read from left to right.
  • Use the word-highlighting feature on digital books to begin word recognition
  • Add books with repetitive phrases to your library. As you read, have your child repeat the phrase with you.
  • Point out letters wherever you go. Start with the letter names and then sounds. Turn learning letters into fun with finger paints.
  • Associate books with fun activities! Read a book about the zoo before a trip to the zoo. Take beach books along on a trip to the beach.
  • Be silly! Relate books to play. Sing, play outside or pretend to be a character from their favorite books.

Starting to Read on their Own

  • Always have books available. Make trips to the library a regular part of your weekly routine. Discover new books and classic favorites.
  • Continue reading daily and listen to your child read. For shy children, have them read to a sibling, the dog, the cat, the goldfish, or their favorite toy.
  • Literacy is not just reading, but writing too! Have crayons, pencils, markers and paper available. Write letters and help them to mimic your writing. Have your child draw and tell you a story as they illustrate it.
  • Ask your child questions about the stories. Get them to think about what they are reading in fun and different ways.

Lifelong Readers

  • Be a reader! Let your child see you reading, or have quiet family reading time.
  • Let children read for enjoyment.
  • Talk to kids about what they are reading.
  • Read the book before watching the movie.