• Education
  • Health
  • Parenting

Jump-start your baby's vocabulary through reading

  • Posted
Baby playing with book

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. What are the benefits?
2. How to make it fun?
3. What are some tips?

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 are other ways to learn words by hearing them, says Catherine Tedesco, Palm Beach County School District’s former literacy manager for Elementary Education. Later, when we see words on the page, we remember them from the songs and rhymes: “Three blind mice!”

1. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

“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. “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.

2. HOW TO MAKE IT FUN?

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 through your child’s tendencies and interests. “At the zoo, my favorite part was seeing the monkeys,” Battles says.

Don’t forget local libraries offer free activities for all ages, such as play groups. Not sure where to start? Visit the Palm Beach County Library System website.

3. WHAT ARE SOME 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.


SOURCES:

• Debbie Battles, former director of Elementary Education, School District of Palm Beach County
• Catherine Tedesco, former literacy manager of Elementary Education, School District of Palm Beach County

Back to listing

For a listing of all resources, click here.
Additional Resources
You May Also Enjoy
  • Tips on babyproofing your home

    Expecting a baby? Read on to find out how best to prepare your home — and your life — for the big transition ahead. And if you’re on a tight budget, experts advise where to get affordable baby supplies and gear.

  • How to create a safe sleep environment for your baby

    Creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby can be a little confusing. This short video may help.

  • How to raise an avid reader!

    Did you know there's a lot you can do — even during pregnancy — to help your child succeed in school? Read on for details and advice from our local experts.