Parents cradle, sing and tend to infants while agonizing over safety and the future; yet research shows that the more exposure babies have to books early and often, the more likely they are to establish learning pathways (brain synapses) vital to later educational success. Reading also exposes even the youngest child to language, visual stimulators and an early love of books.
Literacy Pop Quiz:
1. Without looking, name one book in your diaper bag right now.
2. If you do not carry books in your diaper bag, put some in, quickly!
Reading the words in a story is only one small part of smart book sharing. Exploring the pictures in your books is one of the best ways to expose your child to vocabulary and images they may not typically come across. As you read with your child today, maximize the reading experience by pointing out items, colors, characters and interesting details on each page.
Playing is an essential learning tool for your little one, and young children are not discerning. They will ‘play’ with whatever is presented to them. Keep interesting, easy to manipulate books open and available on your child’s eye level. Then sit back, and watch the play.
"A young child’s ability to talk, listen and understand spoken and written words directly correlates to later literacy achievement in reading, writing and spelling. " [The National Early Literacy Panel]
Reading to and with your child not only bolsters print literacy, but can also contribute to oral language acquisition. Reading aloud to your child exposes him or her to vocabulary, which may not often be used in every day speech.
Will you being seeing family and friends for an upcoming celebration or holiday? This is a wonderful opportunity to give your child some special bonding time with a loved one, and reinforce the idea that books are a valuable part of family-life. Pull out a few favorite books for sharing and have your camera ready to capture the moment.