Every Child Ready to Read
February 22, 2012
This week’s focus is on the first area of development in the Every Child Ready to Read Initiative: TALKING.
Most parents and caregivers begin talking with their children from birth. You may find yourself talking in a high-pitched, sing-song voice. This is completely normal and is a form of early language that child development experts call "parentese." This early language helps to facilitate the bond between parent and child. You may sometimes feel as if your child is not understanding or maybe even that you’re talking to yourself (we’ve all been there!), but rest assured that what you are doing is valuable to your child’s development. You child understands that you are speaking to them and sharing in the experience of language. They are learning that speech is an important part of human interaction.
As your child grows older, expand their vocabulary as their world expands. Point out everything in the environment and give it a "name." Ask your child questions about things they experience, pictures in books, and things they see as you’re driving. As repetitive as it can feel, when your child asks, "Why," try to give them a thoughtful answer. Give your child plenty of opportunity to talk, and be sure to stretch their vocabulary. If they ask for a cracker in one or two word sentences like "want cracker!," expand it by saying "Josie would like a cracker. That would be delicious!"
Be enthusiastic about talking to your child, and you will help them take an important first step towards literacy!