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A Family’s Gift of Time Helps Develop a Foundation for Literacy


1.  Talk to your child from birth on.  Talk about everything.

2.  Play with sounds.  Listen for sounds around your house like water running, the train going by and birds chirping outside your window.

3.  Name things as you point to the objects or pictures when “reading” with your child.

4.  Use short sentences at first and increase their length as your child begins to talk.

5.  When your child talks, expand on his utterances.

           Child:      “Car broke.”

           Parent:     “Yes, the car is broken.  It won’t move right now.”

6.  Talk about your daily activities as you do them. This will introduce your child to new vocabulary.

7.  Give your children simple directions to follow.  Start with one direction and gradually increase them.  Be sure to praise your children for their effort.

8.  Have conversations over play telephones.  Listen to what your child has to say.  Ask simple questions.

9.  Read to your child starting with simple picture and cloth books.  Read or talk about the pictures for a few minutes gradually increasing the amount of time as the child’s attention span grows.

10.  Read nursery rhymes, fairy tales and big picture books.  Picture dictionaries that show familiar items like items in a kitchen, bedroom, etc. will help promote naming.

11. Engage in dramatic play with your child.  Play airport, restaurant or school.  Collect items relating to these places and store them in a box for easy access.  For example, candle sticks, napkins, dishes and a tablecloth are probably easy to find around your house.  Play different roles each time so your child will learn to try out new vocabulary.

12.  Play cards and board games.  Children learn to follow rules as well as number values and new vocabulary.

13.  Do puzzles together.  Start with small numbered puzzles and increase in size as their understanding of part to whole relationships improve.

14.  Create together.  Build with blocks.  Cook simple recipes.  Make alphabet cookies.

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