As you learn about early literacy, it becomes easier to spot great books that support learning in babies and pre-school children. Below, you will find tips for choosing and using books to support the five early literacy practices in your day-to-day activities, and some great books to get you started.
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TALK: Books that invite participation
Talking with babies and toddlers is a brain-building activity! Before young children have words, they communicate in their own language using babbles, coos, laughter, smiles, looks, and gestures.
TIP - Talk to your child and reply to their language. Be sure to use many different words and model how to ask and answer questions.
SING: Books with Songs and Rhymes
Singing slows down language so children hear the different sounds that make up words. This helps when they begin to read printed language. Babies and toddlers love music! Music enriches brain development and can be used to teach new words and concepts.
TIP -In addition to sharing traditional songs, make up silly versions to go along with daily routines such as diaper changes, meal time, and bath time. When your child has words, stop during a song and let them fill in the blank.
READ: Books with Rich Language
Reading together is the single most important way to help children get ready to read. Reading to babies and toddlers helps build their early literacy skills and helps them get ready for school.
TIP - For young children, the most important part of reading together is interacting about the book: pointing at and talking about pictures, asking questions, making comments to connect the story to the child’s life.
WRITE: Books For Fun with Letters
Babies and toddlers may not be writing yet but they can begin to learn about this important skill. As you read with your child, pointing to letters and words, you are helping them learn to recognize the shape and sounds of letters. This will help prepare them to learn to print letters, words, and sentences.
TIP - Rhymes and songs that include finger actions and hand gestures help to build fine motor skills required to hold a crayon or pencil.
PLAY: Books That Invite Movement
Play is also how children learn. When they play, children connect imaginative ideas with real objects; for example, pretending a cushion on the floor is a boat on the ocean. This helps them understand that a letter can represent a sound and a printed word can represent an object or idea.
TIP - Playing with young children takes a lot of energy so remember to include some time for quiet activities and resting.