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Sharing Literacy Experiences

Being able to read, write, speak and listen are important skills for all people as they grow up. We used to think that while young children needed to learn to listen and talk, reading and writing didn’t start until first grade. However, from studying many, many children over the years, we have learned that the foundation for all four of these literacy skills (listening, talking, reading, and writing) begin while a child is still an infant and toddler.

In fact the experiences that your child has right now will impact his or her later ability to read, write, spell, and express thoughts. As a parent, the most important thing that you can do to promote your child’s development of literacy skills is to read, read, read!

Every day make it a point to read to your child. Find a comfortable and quiet spot away from the television where you and your child can enjoy this special reading time together. Choose books with bright, appealing pictures and read them many times. After you read a book, go back and talk about it with your child. Point out pictures or events and describe them in different words. Point out key characters or actions.

As your child gets older increase the amount of time you spend reading to him or her. Think about ways to make your child an active participant in the reading time. Let your child choose the books you will read each night. (By the way don’t worry if the same book is chosen over and over. Children love repetition and it actually indicates your child is paying attention to and learning about the book. Research tells us that some children want to hear their favorite stories more than 200 times!)

This site contains a book, activities that go along with the book, and some supporting materials. Also include online are directions for making your own books and materials. You are encouraged to add other materials from around your house that help your child become an active participant. Including toys and other objects in your play help your child understands the meaning of the story. Use some of the same words from the story as you play. For example you might have a book about farm animals and a toy that includes farm animals. Read the book. Then get out the toy and repeat some of the lines from the book while playing with the toy. Then read the book again and show your child the toy that corresponds with the picture of the animal in the book. Each day vary the routine a little bit, but include enough of the same routine that your child can begin to anticipate what is coming next.

On this page are some indicators of early literacy skills that you may look for as you enjoy these books and their accompanying toys. Happy reading!