NOTE: This is POST#1 of the 8-Post Early Literacy Series 

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Language and Literacy Development

Your Role during your Child's First Three Years

Your child's speaking, reading and writing skills are developing from day one

And the strength of those skills that develop during the early years will have a big influence on their success going forward. The first years spent with you are so important! You'll want to do all you can to give your child the foundation they need to succeed.

It's all about communication

Whether you're communicating with your child, or responding to their efforts to communicate with you, you're creating a platform for their emerging skills. Let's make those early interactions fun and helpful for you both!

Here are some things to keep in mind ...

To develop their speaking skills:

Respond to sounds, facial expressions, and body movements with comments and your complete attention. Guess out loud what they are trying to communicate. Repeat what they say. Speak in plain short sentences using simple, ordinary words. And of course, wait for and encourage their response to your response. Their cooing, gurgling, babbling, and crying are all attempts to communicate. Respond to these sounds as quickly as you can. These are your very first conversations! Show them you care. The communication patterns you establish now can last through to adulthood!

To develop their reading skills:

Give books and reading the same priority as eating! Work them into your daily routine a minimum of three times. Make sure books are sensory rich (crinkly, colorful, playful, manageable, possibly chewable and washable) and loved. Waterproof books can join them in the bath. Cloth, board, and soft vinyl books can join them in the stroller and car seat. 'Read' books together, commenting, and varying your expression. Get them excited to know what comes next before you turn each page. As soon as they can, encourage them to turn pages with their hands or feet!

To develop their writing skills:

As soon as they are ready, make available a wide variety of things (of different shapes, colours and textures) to pick up, hold, shake, squish, carry, listen to (and of course, chew), all day long. Motor skills have a significant impact on literacy acquisition. Arms, hands and fingers will continue to develop strength and dexterity for months before they ever touch a piece of paper with a crayon or pencil. Get their whole body involved. Sing to them and encourage a physical response to music. Also, be sure to name and describe everything they hold, see and experience, objects, people, and events, everything! The more words they hear and understand, the more words they'll have to write when they are ready!

What matters most in the early years is how they feel about these interactions with you

Are their early language experiences enjoyable for you both? The more pleasure you both get out of these activities the more likely they are to occur, and the more likely they'll develop into life-long habits that aid in language and literacy development well beyond the early months and years.

As they begin to move past the chewing stage …

Build on the foundation you've created. I'll show you how to get started in my next post. We'll look at 5 principles to keep in mind in order to nurture their love of learning. Register here if you don't want to miss the next post.

Please message me with comments or questions relating to the above post, or anything else that's going on for you right now with regards to supporting your learner.

I'd love to hear from you!

Have you watched this fascinating Oprah segment where 'a 'Woman Unlocks the Secret Language of Babies'. From 0 to 3 months, babies communicate using 5 different sounds. Unfortunately, parents and caregivers don't always realize what these sounds mean. It's said, that baby will only continue to produce the sounds if they receive a response! Would you know how to respond?

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