We have learned a lot about how a baby's brain develops and know that during the first three years a baby's brain develops more than any other time in life. We also know that:

  • The experiences a baby has from birth to age three will greatly effect how the brain develops

  • Talking, singing and showing love to babies helps their brains to grow and develop

  • Babies who are loved and cared for develop physically, emotionally and are more ready to learn

  • A baby is capable of learning two languages at once so families should talk and read to their child in their native language

So what does this mean?

You can help your child become successful reader by reading to your baby now. Remember, the early years help determine later success in school!

Infants and Learning

(0-6 months)

I am your newborn and I am naturally curious and eager to learn. If I am not asleep, I am learning. Even when I am asleep my brain is growing, changing and responding to your love and care. I especially love it when you:

  • Talk and sing to me in our native language

  • Tell me what you are doing as you change my diaper, feed or bathe me

  • Look at me and smile while you talk to me

  • Repeat back sounds I make; "babbling" is my way of talking to you

  • Tell me stories about your life, our family, and our culture

  • Play soft music, I especially love classical music

  • Play rhyming hand games (Pat-A-Cake or Peek-A-Boo)

  • Show me books with bright pictures; I especially love pictures of people's faces, but please stop when I get tired or fussy

  • Read the story with a lot of expression in your voice

  • When you read with me, hold me close; let's laugh and play

What happens when you do this:

  • Your baby will bond to you when you talk, play, read, and sing

  • Your baby will begin to recognize sounds and learn about our world

Infants and Learning

(6-12 months)

I have learned so much since I was born. I am learning routines and recognize the faces of people I love. My brain is still growing and developing very fast. I am starting to recognize different feelings and emotions. I especially love it when you:

  • Talk to me using a silly and expressive voice

  • Notice and praise me when I try to talk even if it is "babbling" and "cooing"

  • Copy and repeat back the sounds and words that I make

  • Sing to me, I especially love hearing nursery rhymes

  • Let me play with board, cloth and vinyl books. I may want to play with these books with another person

  • Show me when you are happy and cheerful because I am learning to understand feelings

  • Point out and name objects around me and in books

  • Hold me and read with me everyday!

What happens when you do this:

  • Your baby will start to notice changes in your voice and patterns in speech and words; this helps brain development

  • Your baby will begin to understand feelings and how to respond to those feelings

  • Your baby will find joy in the reading experience

Toddlers and Learning

(12-36 months)

I am learning new words everyday. I now have favorite books and like to carry them around with me. I pretend I am reading the book when I look at the pictures. When you read with me, you are helping to prepare my little mind to become a good reader in school. I especially love it when you:

  • Look at me and try to understand what I say

  • Deep my favorite books where I can reach them

  • Let me draw and write with crayons and markers-the safe ones that are non-toxic. Remember "scribbling" is my way of writing

  • I have a lot of questions; please answer them because this is how I learn about my world

  • Ask me questions that have more that one answer like "What do you think about...?" or "Tell me about...?"

  • Play taped stories and music with a rhythm and a beat. I like hearing the same songs over and over

  • Take me to the library where I can choose books and listen to stories read aloud

  • Let me watch when you write and then read those words to me

  • Hold me close and read with me everyday!

When you do this:

  • Your toddler will learn the meaning of new words and will use them when they talk

  • Your toddler will develop a love for books and will learn how to handle them

  • Your toddler will develop important hand muscles that will help them learn to write

  • Your toddler will feel loved and respected

We hope these ideas help you in your role as your child's first teacher. As long as it is a happy experience there is no wrong way to read together. It is an inexpensive activity that you can do almost any place. Even more important, children beg for more! Parents who cannot read well themselves can provide good experiences for their children by telling them stories from their lives, from their imaginations, or from pictures in wordless books. It is important to talk and read in your native language. A child's brain is capable of learning two languages at the same time. It is best to read with your child early and often, but it is never too late to start in any language! Make reading an important part of every day...

  • Have soft vinyl books in your car or stroller for you child to enjoy

  • Have books in you home where children can reach them

  • Let you child see you read. Point out how you use reading in you daily life

And remember, sharing books develops successful readers. Your child, snuggling in you lap and sharing your time and laughter, is learning to love reading!

Literacy, Carry It with you!

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