Babies and toddlers need to become familiar with books before reaching school age, otherwise they will tend to associate books only with school.
Infants at home will be attracted to simple pictures in books, which can prompt their first item-and-word link, the initial step in language-learning.
Toddlers exposed to image-rich books and flash cards early on may enter a pre-literacy learning stage before they are actually able to read or write.
Research from the US Public Library Association (PLA) shows that the more literate children are before starting school, the better their schooling is.
Parental involvement was key to early literacy in the children profiled in the PLA study, and the same holds true for the parents of deaf children. Ultimately, parents and families have a key role in teaching & reinforcing a child’s learning, even if school and language teachers are seen as ‘experts’.
Parents can enjoy these activities with their babies and toddlers:
- talking about simple books and/or flash cards together
- teaching letters and numbers in the home
- story-telling and nursery rhymes
- regular visits to the public library