Literacy from Infancy: Encouraging the Life-Long Love of Reading
There is a true connection between an early love of books and later success as a reader. This is an important process that should begin in infancy, and with a little luck, continue throughout your child’s life. How can you help foster this love of literacy in your children? See our helpful tips below:
Whether it is a morning snuggle or a bedtime story, make reading part of every day. Making this a pleasurable daily activity will set the tone for how your child views reading later in life. Reading to your baby and young child introduces them to the concepts of stories, numbers, letters, colors and shapes, and gives them information about the world around them. While your infant may not understand the words you are reading to them, studies show that by the time they are a year old, they will have already learned all of the sounds they need to speak their native language.
As your child nears preschool age, their feelings of and need for independence are already quite discernible. Children have very little control over their daily lives. Allowing them to be the “decision maker” at story time gives them a sense of empowerment that they may not feel at other points in their day. Knowing that the book they are reading was their personal choice makes it more likely that they will enjoy the time spent reading.
Pointing out words and letters in your child’s everyday environment helps them make the connections between those words and letters and not only their meaning, but their importance in our daily lives. From stop signs to the names of their favorite restaurants, little by little, your child is receiving the building blocks for reading with fluency.
You are your child’s first role model. They show this as they try on your shoes or pretend to “go to work” just like Mom or Dad. Seeing you read for pleasure reinforces the idea that reading is a fun, natural form of entertainment and learning.
The interactions that babies and young children have with books and other literacy materials, as introduced to them by the adults in their lives, are the building blocks for language, reading, and writing. Fostering these skills through the love of reading is a wonderful way to give your child a leg up throughout their childhood and for the rest of their lives.
AP. 2010. Using their words. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org
Curry-Rood, Leah. Story stretchers for infants, toddlers, and twos. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House Inc, 2017
Rosenkoetter, S.E. & Knapp-Philo, J. Learning to read the world: Literacy in the first three years. Zero to Three, 2004