In our Storytimes we love promoting language because language is a key ingredient in developing young readers. Something really simple that you can do at home to begin developing reading skills is to simply talk to your child. Children, even infants, begin learning language by watching and listening to loved ones talking to them, you are their first teacher! When you talk to a child you are expanding their vocabulary and good readers have a big (enormous, huge, gigantic) vocabulary. When you talk to your child they begin to understand what words mean and the more words they understand, the easier it is for them to read. Also, talking to children helps them make connections to their own life, which improves reading comprehension skills.
Things to try at home:
1. Create a photo journal for your child. Take photos of your child doing things such as going to school, playing at the playground, picking a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, etc. Print these pictures and put them in a photo book that your child can keep on his/her bookshelf. You and your child can look through the photos and talk about those fun experiences in the book, your child will love telling you about what they are doing in the pictures!
2. Play guessing games. Pick a game you want to play with your child and have them guess what it is, give kids clues to help them guess. This also works with food…have them guess what you will make for dinner by telling them how you will make it.
3. When you are reading to your child you can talk about the pictures they see on the pages. You can also talk about the story or the characters, books are great conversation starters!
4. Talk about what baby is seeing. Even if you feel silly talking to an infant, it is important to talk! “Look at the big green leaves on the tree; they are high in the air!” You can talk at the grocery store, on a walk, in the airport—help your child understand the world by explaining what is around them.
If you would like to learn more about how to talk to children, you might like to read
How to talk so Kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk.
If this book doesn’t interest you, we have plenty other books on family communication you can try!