Early Literacy - It's More Than Books!
Early literacy does not mean teaching infants how to read. Early literacy is everything children know about reading and writing, before they can read and write on their own. Each time a baby sees, hears or feels anything, her brain is making connections. Brain connections are building blocks for reading, school learning, and life-long success. When you cuddle your baby and talk, sing, read or play with her, the emotional bond and language experiences you provide are an important part of helping her build her literacy skills from the time she is born.
Babies learn language best by listening and interacting with people - not by watching TV or videos. Encouraging your baby to babble and talk is an essential part of language development. Babies need to play with sounds before they can say words, so even though you may not understand what your baby is saying, recognize that he is trying to communicate with you and is learning to say words!
Songs are a great way to learn language, and your voice is the most beautiful sound to your baby. Singing or chanting rhymes can be fun and comforting to your baby. He doesn't mind if you sing off key - he's just happy that you're sharing music with him. The Baby Connections Song Time CD has some great songs to sing with your baby.
Take time each day to cuddle up and enjoy some books. Babies love to hear their favourite stories repeated over and over, but you don't always have to read all of the words - talking about the pictures is important, too! By making stories a part of your daily routine, your baby is learning that books and reading are fun and interesting.
Having fun and playing with your baby are great ways to create a strong emotional attachment. Play tickle games like Round & Round the Garden, or surprise games like Peek-a-Boo. Playing with items such as balls, blocks or puppets make playtime fun and will provide the chance for your baby to learn about taking turns.