What You Can Do at Home

Family members play a fundamental role in helping their children develop early literacy skills. You are your child's first teacher. Every time you interact with your child, he or she learns about communicating, listening, and working with others.

Make the most of everyday moments by talking to your child about what is happening (narrate the experience) and asking open-ended questions.

Families do things together and children learn best by doing things. Show your child that reading is a year-round activity by making reading fun and interesting. Let your child see you read. If your child views reading as a pleasant and relaxed activity, chances are he or she will be eager to read on his or her own.

Infants

Infants are learning to use their voice to communicate by crying, cooing, and babbling as well as learning to use nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language. Infants learn language and communication skills from their environment and the ways people around them communicate.

Toddlers

Toddlers are in an exciting stage of language development. They repeat and imitate what others say, understand more when spoken to, and begin to put words together into short phrases. Vocabulary development and comprehension are most important at this stage.

Two-Year-Olds

Most two-year-olds expand their vocabulary from about 200 to 1000 words during this year of development. They begin to understand words, repeat words, and put words together to form sentences. Literacy and language skills emerge rapidly, so it is important for children this age to be exposed to spoken and written language on a daily basis.

Preschoolers

A typical three-year-old is able to express herself easily using words. This increase in language and communication skills is also related to cognitive and social skill development because with more vocabulary words, preschoolers can formulate their thoughts before speaking and talk with others more easily. Three-year-olds enjoy learning new words and typically have over 1,200 words in their vocabulary by the end of their third year.

Pre-Kindergartners

Four-year-olds' vocabularies are ever-increasing; children this age are usually able to experiment with language easily, which can add dramatic flair and personality to everyday experiences. New sounds, funny words, and easy conversation make this stage in a child's language and communication development exciting.

School-Agers

The language and communication skills of school-age children are continuing to grow rapidly. Younger school-age children can understand and talk in simple, short sentences. Older school-age children can understand and interpret abstract language and write complex sentences. Overall, this age is marked by a tremendous increase in vocabulary.

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