As the research on literacy development continues to emerge, it is important to translate the findings into practical suggestions for supporting early literacy development. The following is a list of suggestions which can promote early literacy development for newborns.
Introduce cardboard or cloth books with brightly colored pictures. Try to select books that reflect the child’s own experiences such as books about daily life, family members, animals, or food (National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 1997).
Read books that have rhyme, rhythm, or repetition such as nursery rhymes since the sound of the language is especially important to infants who cannot yet focus on pictures very well (McMahon, 1996).
Help increase vocabulary by playing “What’s that?” or “Where’s the ball?” when reading books together (NAEYC, 1997).
Point out words on signs at the park, at the zoo, when walking or driving. Explain what the words mean as you name them (NAEYC, 1997).
If the infant becomes restless or fussy while reading, put the book away so that the child does not develop a negative association to reading (McMahon, 1996).
It is never too early to begin reading to a child (McMahon, 1996). By reading to infants, parents can help their children develop an understanding about print at an early age as infants learn to make connections between words and meaning (NAEYC, 1997). By engaging children at an early age in reading and allowing children to observe those around them engaged in reading activities, parents can help foster a lifelong passion for reading that leads to benefits in all areas of development as the children grow older.
Children’s Developmental Center partners with many organizations to support the programs, services, and ultimately the children. May of these partners have organized books drives. Through their generosity, we are able to put books in the hands of the children we serve, many of who do not have any other books in their homes. Our literacy partners include: