Reading with Infants + Toddlers

Birth Through Age 2

What to Do at Home:

Talking to and reading to infants and toddlers are two good ways to prepare them for later success in reading.

Talk To Your Child:

  1. Begin talking and singing to your child from birth.  Your baby loves hearing your voice.  Play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.  Recite nursery rhymes or other verses that have strong rhythms and repeated sounds.  Sing lullabies and other songs.
  2. Let you baby know that you hear her babbles, coos, and gurgles.  Repeat the sounds she makes.  Smile back.  When you respond to her sounds, she learns that what she “says” means something and is important to you.  Sometimes, you can supply the language for her.
  3. Play simple touching and talking games together.  These games help a child learn what different parts of the body are called.
  4. Point to familiar objects and name them.  When a child hears an object called the same name over and over, he learns to connect the spoken word with its meaning.
  5. When your child begins to speak, build his language.  A child starts talking by using single words and short sentences.  You can help by filling in missing words and using complete sentences.
  6. Encourage your child to talk with you.  Ask questions that show you are interested in what she thinks and says.  Ask her to share ideas and events that are important to her.  Ask her questions that require her to talk, rather than just to give “yes” and “no” answers.  Then listen carefully to what she says.
  7. Answer your child’s questions.  Listen to your child’s questions and answer then patiently.  Take time to explain things to him as completely as you can.  Keep answering questions that your child ask again and again, because children learn from hearing things over and over.