As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I am often asked the question, “What types of activities should we do at home?”. My answer will vary depending on your child’s speech and language goals, but one thing that I always recommend, no matter what, is to use books!
Early language and literacy skills begin to form in the first three years of life. These skills are critical in order for children to develop a strong language foundation. So what can you do? Here are some tips to encourage early literacy development:
You don’t always have to read the book!
Your 1-year old may not want to sit and read, and that’s okay! Turning pages together, pointing to objects on the page, naming objects, and looking at pictures are all foundational skills that you can work on at an early age.
Create positive book interactions.
Try to choose books that your child will enjoy to look at. It may be a topic that your child shows interest in. It may be a character that they enjoy to talk about and look at. It’s important for children to have positive experiences with joint-book reading so that they can form a natural enjoyment for books and reading.
A few minutes a day is all it takes.
You don’t have to get your little one to sit down for an hour and read book after book. A few minutes a day, taking the time to look at the pictures and talk about the book, is enough. If you don’t finish the book, that’s okay! As your child gets older, they will have a longer attention span allowing them to read for longer periods.
Point to words as you read.
As you read books, point to each word and run your finger along the words from left to right. Understanding the book orientation, how we turn pages, and reading from left to right are all important skills that children can be introduced to at an early age.
These are just some of the ways that you can facilitate early literacy development with your child. The most important take away- have fun with it! You are setting the stage for a lifetime of learning and loving books.
Blog written by Michelle Knoud, Speech-Language Pathologist at Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center