Help Your Child Get Ready to Read: Ideas about how to increase a child’s early language skills.

  • Visit the library’s free story times for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
  • Talk, sing and tell stories to infants and young children throughout the day.  Use short, simple sentences.
  • Encourage your children’s efforts to talk to you.
  • Share books with your children at least 10 minutes a day, beginning at infancy. Don’t worry if babies chew on or play with the books – it is all part of the process leading up to reading.
  • Have your children’s eyesight and hearing tested early and annually.
  • Limit television time.  Studies link significant television viewing to decreased language skills.
  • Keep kids’ books accessible to them on low shelves.
  • Be a good role model.  Read in front of your kids.  Explain how reading and writing help you get things done every day.
  • Choose child care providers who understand the importance of reading and talking to young children.
  • Develop your child’s early literacy skills
  • Children who enter school with early literacy skills are better able to benefit from the reading instruction they receive once they enter school.

How you speak to young children is as important as how often you speak to them:

  • Speak slowly and clearly – this helps train neurons in the brain to identify specific sounds.
  • Repeat words – this strengthens the neural pathways used for language.
  • Speak face-to-face when talking to infants – they watch adults’ mouths to match shapes to sounds.
  • Provide feedback – if a baby says “ma-ma-ma” answer her attempts at speech with “Yes, mama is right here.”
  • Don’t simplify your speech for toddlers – the more complex sentences they hear, the more complex sentences they’ll be able to speak.
  • Talk with children, not at them – talk is much more effective when it’s interactive