Reading to your baby is a great way to show your child love and attention.
Even when your baby starts crawling, you can look at picture books together and talk about what you see. Singing songs and reciting nursery rhymes is another way to learn words by hearing them, says Catherine Tedesco, Palm Beach County School District’s literacy manager for elementary education. Later, when we see words on the page, we remember them from the songs and rhymes: “Three blind mice!”
“When my mother read “The Gingerbread Man” to me, she couldn’t skip anything because I knew all the pages,” says Debbie Battles, former director of elementary education at the School District of Palm Beach County. “I still know every word: ‘You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!’ It’s a memory of my mother that I will always have.”
Just like Battles’s infatuation with the gingerbread man, children often want to read the same book over and over. You may get sick of it, but children memorize words by their sounds even before they start reading by themselves, Battles says.
Words are everywhere — on the bus, in your car, in a store. Teach your child to notice words wherever you find them. You can make anything you do with your child an opportunity to learn new words, Battles says.
Build reading on your child’s tendencies and interests. “At the zoo, my favorite part was seeing the monkeys,” Battles says.
Don’t forget the library offers free activities for all ages, such as play groups.TIPS:
• Set aside a quiet, cozy place to spend a few minutes reading with your baby every day.
• Start with picture books and talk about each picture before you read.
• Read with expression.
SOURCE: School District of Palm Beach County
• Debbie Battles, former director of Elementary Education, School District of Palm Beach County
• Catherine Tedesco, literacy manager of Elementary Education, School District of Palm Beach County
• Doris Saffran, Community Education specialist, Elementary Curriculum,
School District of Palm Beach County/BRIDGES Liaison
• Jeanne Siccone, director of Children’s Literacy, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County