Early Literacy: Reading

Reading with your child promotes all six early literacy skills.  It builds vocabulary by allowing children to hear words that are not used in everyday conversation, demonstrates storytelling, provides the opportunity to see letters and hear the sounds they make, encourages interest and enjoyment in books, familiarizes children with how books work, and allows children to make the connection between words and the objects and concepts they represent. Here are some ways to get the most out of your reading time with your child:

Reading with Babies

  • Start Reading! It's never to early to read to a child.
  • Choose books with simple, high contrast pictures, which are easiest for the youngest babies to see.
  • Speak in "parentese!" Using a higher-than-normal pitch and exaggerating sounds will help engage babies.
  • Offer language that goes beyond the text. If one or two words accompany a picture, for example, talk more about that picture to provide additional opportunity for your baby to hear vocabulary.

Reading with Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Let your child see you read! Modeling is a great way to let children know that you value reading and that it is fun and enriching.
  • Encourage your child to hold books and turn pages whey they are ready. Discovering how books work involves touching as well as seeing.
  • Feel free to shorten, paraphrase or reword passages to maintain interest.
  • Help your child make letter and word connections. Point to words when you say them and to the pictures they represent. Do the same with letters while making their sounds.
  • Build vocabulary and storytelling skills by discussing what's going on in the illustrations. Many picture books provide lots of information that isn't provided by the words.
  • Engage older children in conversation about the story.  What do they think will happen next?  Was a character's decision wise of foolish?

Back to Early Literacy main page