March is “Read Across America” month!
Early language and literacy development begins in the first three years of life. This development is linked to a child’s earliest exposure to language, books and stories. The interactions that young children have with literacy materials, such as books, paper and crayons, and with the adults in their lives, are the building blocks for reading, writing and language development. Early literacy skills unfold simultaneously as children master other domains of developments, such as social and emotional skills.
We read stories to the children every day. Reading introduces new ideas and encourages children to develop a love for books. As children listen to us read, their own early reading skills begin to develop.
Research has shown the important role families play in helping children learn to read, and eventually write. The single most important thing you can do is read to your child every day, even if only for 10 minutes. When your child sits next to you as you read, they begin to connect books with good feelings. By taking the time to read to your child every day, you are doing the very best thing to help your child grow up to be a successful reader.
Here are some additional ways to help support your child’s literacy development:
- Choose colorful, repetitive books to read.
- Let your child help turn the pages as you read the story.
- Point to pictures on the pages and discuss what you see. For older toddlers, ask questions about the story.
- Show your child the words on the page. Move your finger from left to right across the page as you read.
- Be an expressive reader.
- Let your child see you reading adult books or magazines for enjoyment. This will also help them understand that reading is fun.
- Visit the library and let your child help as you choose new books to read.
Mostly, just have fun and show your child how much you value books and the time spent reading with them!