Talking is one of the best activities you can do with your young child to help prepare them for learning how to read later on. (It's also beneficial in multiple ways to children who are already reading!)
This Thanksgiving, make sure you take time to talk to your child!
A few tips that might help:
- Say an important word right after you say your child's name. Young children pay the MOST attention to the word directly after their names. So put the word you want them to pay attention to right after you say their name. For example, "Derek, BOOK. Let's read this book together!" or "Susan, SUN. Do you see the shining sun in the corner of the page? Doesn't it look happy?"
- Give time for processing! When you're asking toddlers (in particular) a question, give them time to process! It takes at least 5 seconds (sometimes longer) for a young child's brain to understand what you are saying (receptive language) and then prepare a response (expressive language). Ask a question, then WAIT. It might help to count to 10!
- "Strive for Five." In most of your talking interactions with young children, see if you can have at least 5 back and forths. For babies and very young children, this could be any reaction, including babbling. Ask questions, make comments, and add more detail to their responses. "Orange? Yes, this pumpkin pie is very orange, just like the socks you are wearing!"
Happy Thanksgiving, and talk away!
- Laura Raphael, Children's Services Coordinator