By the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
When does a child learn to read? Many people might say, “in kindergarten or first grade.” But researchers have told us something very important. Learning to read and write can start at home, long before children go to school. Children can start down the road to becoming readers from the day they are born.
Very early, children begin to learn about spoken language when they hear their family members talking, laughing, and singing, and when they respond to all of the sounds that fill their world. They begin to understand written language when they hear adults read stories to them and see adults reading newspapers, magazines, and books for themselves. These early experiences with spoken and written language set the stage for children to become successful readers and writers.
Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and caregivers, this booklet is for you. It gives ideas for playing, talking, and reading with your child that will help him become a good reader and writer later in life. You don’t need special training or expensive materials. For your baby or toddler, you can just include some simple, fun language games and activities into the things you already do together every day. For your preschooler, you can keep in touch with your child’s teachers so that you know what he is learning in school and support that learning at home.
This booklet contains:
- A short summary of what scientific research says about how children learn to read and write
- Things you can do with your children from birth to age 2 to help them become readers
- Things you can do with your children between the ages 3-4 and what to look for in quality day care centers and preschools to help your children become readers
- A list of helpful terms. Throughout the booklet, these terms appear in bold type.
- Ideas for books to read and organizations to contact if you would like more help or information
Remember, keep it simple and have fun. Make these activities part of the warm, loving relationship you are already creating.
|The building blocks of reading and writing||5|
|Infants and toddlers (birth through age 2)||11|
|What children should be able to do by age 3||12|
|What to do at home||13|
|Preschoolers (ages 3-4)||19|
|What children should be able to do by age 5||20|
|What to do at home||22|
|What to look for in day care centers and preschools||25|
|Some helpful terms to know||27|
|Suggested reading for parents and caregivers||29|
|Resources for parents and caregivers||30|