Early language and communication skills are critical for your child’s mental development and school performance.
This is the reason why you have to help them develop literacy as early as possible.
You are, after all, your child’s first teacher!
Neglecting to promote literacy in the early years can result in a late bloomer who may never catch up with their peers.
The brain is rapidly developing during the first few years of life.
Take this opportunity to boost your child’s brain development through early learning.
Here are several ways that parents can promote literacy in the first five years:
Self-talking involves describing feelings, events, and activities as they happen.
It is a terrific way to train infants to communicate better later in life.
For instance, you can coo, smile and describe what you are doing as you are changing the baby’s diaper.
You can do the same thing when giving the baby a bath or while dressing him up or down.
Your baby is likely to respond with coos and smiles too!
Essentially, you want to give accurate descriptions of feelings, activities, events, and objects that your little one encounters regularly.
As you paint a vivid picture of every action through words, you are putting meaning to every word.
Your baby will learn the meaning of the words early and anticipate all the actions that the words describe.
So go ahead, chat with your baby all day long and he or she will learn to talk and write much faster.
Parallel talking involves adding labels to gestures and activities that the child is carrying out.
You are essentially describing every action with words.
For instance, if your infant or toddler is playing with toy blocks and he or she is putting one block on top of the other, exclaim, “Oh, you’re trying to put one block on top of another! Are you building a tower? Such a good boy/girl!”
Use reassuring words to encourage them to carry on with the activity.
Another example of self-talking might occur at the daycare.
If your young one notices that another child is crying, encourage them to comfort the other child. Describe what your child needs to do (give the other baby a gentle pat or a hug).
Picture Book Sharing
As the name implies, this activity involves sitting down with your baby and sharing a picture book.
This daily activity stimulates their imagination and promotes literacy among babies and toddlers alike.
For infants, set a seat near the crib and show the book’s many pictures.
Choose a book with bright colors to attract your baby’s attention.
Older babies are likely to participate in the picture sharing by cooing or pointing to the picture.
For toddlers, start by sitting comfortably with them on your lap.
Let them lean against you as you open the book.
Again, show the pictures and describe the picture.
As you go through the book use a variety of tones.
Use excited tones, puzzled tones, curious or exclaiming tones to engage your young one.
If the book is filled with nursery rhymes, you can sing along with your little one to make picture sharing even more fun!
In addition to daytime reading, develop the habit of bedtime reading with your child.
This is a great way to unwind and transition into a night of quality sleep and it can help avoid some of the bedtime conflicts that parents have with their children.
Singing songs is a great way to help the baby remember the words that describe a certain action.
You can either sing familiar songs or make up songs about the baby to describe what’s happening.
For instance, if it’s bath time, sing songs about bath time, etc.
Don’t worry too much about being on key while singing.
Whether you cannot carry a tune or not, your baby will adore your singing voice!
Playing Turn-Taking Games to Promote Literacy
Taking turns when playing games such as peekaboo is a great way to train your little one to engage in conversations later on.
Hiding behind books, a pillow or just covering your eyes and then saying “peek-a-boo!” as you reveal your face will incite a delighted reaction from your baby.
Play the game every chance you get until the baby is able to participate with you!
By promoting literacy at an early age, your child will be able to express himself or herself using words, gestures, and facial expressions.
He or she will understand what others are communicating and that will allow them to respond appropriately.
On top of that, children with advanced literacy levels become fast-learners in school.
They are able to learn how to read and write much more quickly than children who don’t get this early nurturing.