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Early Literacy for New Parents


Introduce simple daily activities at birth to build school readiness. 

Laying the Foundation for Literacy

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Children begin to develop literacy at birth. By singing, talking, reading, writing and playing every day, parents lay the foundation for school readiness. 

Singing: Singing slows down language and lets children hear the smaller sounds in words. There is a different note for each syllable, so they are hearing words broken into parts. 

  • Your baby loves your voice even if you don’t think you can sing! Your voice is a comfort to your baby.
  • Sing nursery rhymes or silly songs about your day.

Reading: Shared reading is the single most important activity you can do, even from birth, to get children ready to read. Remember to keep the reading experience positive.

  • Read a book or tell a story to your baby every day beginning at birth.
  • Cuddle as you share a book.
  • Point to the pictures and describe what you see.

Talking: Children start to learn language by hearing people talk.

  • Everywhere you go, talk about what you see and what you are doing.
  • Play peek-a-boo while getting your baby dressed.
  • As you feed your baby use words to describe how the food tastes, feels and looks.

Writing: Reading and writing go hand in hand. They both represent the spoken word. Writing helps children understand that printed text has meaning. 

  • Encourage play with toys that develop grasp and fine motor development.
  • Recognize the importance of drawing, coloring and scribble writing as your child gets older.

Playing: Besides being fun, play helps children think symbolically. Children use toys to represent other items or act out stories. This helps them build background knowledge — how stories work.

  • Blowing bubbles is a great way for developing visual tracking skills in small babies and hand-eye coordination in older babies.
  • Do fingerplays like Itsy Bitsy Spider.
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