Simple Ways to Enhance Literacy

Develop the foundations for speaking, writing, and reading at an early age.

Literacy is more than just reading. It is effective speaking, active listening, writing, and reading the printed word.  Literacy begins at birth, when your baby hears language for the first time, and when your baby starts to make sounds to communicate with you. Talking, reading aloud, and singing all stimulate children’s understanding and use of language, and contribute to the development of communication skills.

Encourage early communication by imitating your baby’s sounds and gestures. Soon they will realize that they can express themselves, and you will respond.  Babies desire to communicate long before they can speak. A baby’s listening comprehension is roughly three years greater than their vocal maturation. So they understand more than they can say, and with baby sign language (or simple gestures), you can address your baby’s needs immediately, without all the frustration and time wasted trying to guess what is wrong.

Puzzles, games, imaginary play, dolls and accessories, and play with puppets are language-rich opportunities that will increase vocabulary and conversational skills while promoting social and emotional development. Games and activities that expand language and “mental” imagery skills lead to strong literacy and communication skills. They will also help increase enjoyment of reading and books.

Encourage the desire for self-expression typical of individuals who communicate willingly and openly.  When children are able to hold a pencil or crayon comfortably, drawing and scribbling will give them the confidence to express themselves in new ways and help develop the fine motor skills that lead to writing.  Similarly, arts & crafts will also provide an opportunity for expression and help kids develop their motor skills.

Babies are born with the ability to hear the sounds used by many foreign languages; however, this window narrows by age eight. Early exposure to the sounds of a foreign language will support your efforts to teach that language, and it may also make it easier for your child to hear the broad range of sounds of that language if acquired later on.