Here are some insights:
Literacy starts early, even though your young child is not formally being taught to read and write. Literacy starts with language development, with communication.
At this stage the best way to support your child’s language/literacy development is to offer as much input as possible, motivate their curiosity and open doors to discovery. Help your child learn new words and understand the world around him/her.
You can do that through conversation, singing, playing games and of course, reading aloud.
What does reading aloud to a baby or toddler look like? Can they sit and listen to a story? They might. Or not. And it’s ok.
It’s ok not to finish a book.
It’s ok to read a story over and over again.
It’s ok to stop and play, laugh, talk, cuddle.
It’s ok not to have a set time and place to read.
Follow your child’s lead. Don’t push.
Reading with such young children involves more looking and talking that actual reading.
Look at the pictures in the book. Describe them. Ask questions. Teach new words. Go beyond what’s on the page.
Reading aloud needs to be engaging, dynamic, memorable. Choose books that are interactive, that have textures, flaps, pop-ups. Pay attention to the language: does it have a good rhythm? Rhymes? Repetition? Interesting words?
Are the topics and characters relatable to your child?
Then, the way you read is crucial. You need to show enthusiasm! Use your voice, facial expressions, props.
Reading together as often as possible, having meaningful conversations, singing, playing, drawing, building… this is the foundation upon which literacy instruction will be built later on.
★ ★ ★
You might also like:
Home Literacy Environment Checklist (Reading Rockets)
Literacy Milestones Birth to age 3 (Reading Rockets)
Literacy Milestones ages 3-4
Strategies for reading aloud to young children (video)
Support literacy even before your child starts to read
No Print, No Prep - Phonological Awareness Games (PDF)
Reading Magic, by Mem Fox
Learning to Read and Write in the Multilingual Family, by Xiao-Lei Wang
★ ★ ★
Find support in our Facebook Communities:
Raising Biliterate Children (Ana)
Multilingual Families (Ute)