Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Talk, Talk, Talk!

There are five early literacy practices (talking, singing, reading, writing and playing) that help children develop the skills that are the foundation for reading. We incorporate these early literacy practices into our storytimes at the library. Parents and caregivers can also reinforce and help their children’s brain development through regular practice of these activities at home. This post will focus on talking with your child.

Here are some ways that you can talk with your child to help grow those neural connections:

· Talk about print that is all around you. Point out street signs, store signs, grocery lists, on cereal boxes, on books, or anywhere else in the environment. Help your child notice the print and talk about it together. This will make them more aware of print all around them and help them to see that print has meaning.

· Point out letters on signs or letter shapes in the environment or in books. Name the letters, point out their shapes, and make the letter sounds. The shapes, sounds, and names of letters are all things children need to be able to read.

· Describe to your child what you are doing as you go through your daily routine together. The more conversations you have with your child, the more words they will hear. The more words they hear, the larger vocabulary they’ll have when they go to school and the more words they’ll recognize when they see them in print.

· Talk about everyday things. Name objects that your child sees.

· Use “parentese” – slowed down speech – when talking with your child. It stretches out words and lets children hear the sounds that make up words. Playing simple rhyming games can also help with hearing and learning these sounds.

· Tell stories to your child about your family, favorite memories, and past experiences.

· Ask your child to retell stories that you read to them. This helps them learn the structure of a story. Have them make up stories to tell you.

· Ask questions about the stories you read together – what was their favorite part of the story, etc.

Children learn language by listening to their parents and others talk, and they understand words before they can carry on a conversation with you. Research has shown that there is a direct link between the number of words spoken in the home between birth and age three and a child’s academic performance in third grade. So talk, talk, talk to your child, about anything and everything!

Guest post by Allison C. 

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