MidPointe’s Summer Reading Program is a great way to develop and strengthen early reading skills. Early literacy focuses on more than just reading to your child from a young age. Below are some ideas for your baby, toddler, and preschooler to encourage learning while talking, singing, playing, and reading. Please note, each child is unique and learns at his/her own pace. These tips will not be followed by every child in every order. If you have concerns about your child, please talk to your health care provider.
Baby (0-12 months)
Talk to your baby often. When babies hear sounds, they learn sounds. As your baby gets older, focus on words you want them to learn and repeat.Sing and listen to songs with your baby. They will start to learn familiar songs and rhymes and will develop favorites as they grow.Play will develop as your baby starts to grow and become stronger. During these months, babies will be most attracted to toys that are colorful and noisy.Reading to your baby will help instill a love of books from a young age. At this stage, babies will most likely be more interested in the pictures.
Toddler (12-36 months)
Continue talking to your child by using common words and phrases you want them to use. Words and sounds are challenging to learn; adding sign language for common words during this age helps with communication from child to adult, as well as adult to child.Continue singing and playing songs with your child. As your child grows, they will continue to develop favorite songs and rhymes. Dancing helps develop their gross motor skills (dancing, jumping).As your child grows, the more play they will take part in. Play is essential for developing many skills but can be used to strengthen hand/eye and foot/eye coordination.As you read to your child, they will continue to have favorite books. They will start to connect the words on the page to the story rather than strictly being interested in only the pictures. Having a picture walk is a great way to get your child’s imagination going. Instead of reading the words on each page, ask your child what they think is happening in the story based on the pictures in the book, page by page.
Preschooler (3-5 years)
Your child’s talking will develop as their vocabulary expands. Another way of expanding their vocabulary is to label common items in your household. This will help connect words to objects.Singing will continue to build rhyming and sentence structure and is also another way of building vocabulary.Play will be even more intentional and may consist of coloring, scribbling, and writing. As your child’s ability to write develops they will go from scribbling to making the connection to writing words during this time.The more your child is read to, the more they will learn that words have meaning and are helpful. They may even read their favorite books to you through memorization.