Fall Blog Series: Supporting Literacy in Families with Young Children - Part II

Parent-Child Activities to Increase Home Literacy Learning

from Kansas Parents as Teachers Association

Infants (birth – 14 months)

Increasing home literacy begins with our infants! To encourage your newborn to look at a book, use books with black-and-white face patterns or other objects. Parents can make their own with a black magic marker, or glue black-and-white pictures from a magazine to lightweight cardboard. Show the pictures to your baby.  Observe her responses and talk with her about what she is seeing. Use loving words that describe your joy of being with her. When she looks away, pause with her. If she looks back, you should resume your talk; if not let her rest and show her your face — probably her best-loved “book” to read!

Toddlers (14 months – 36 months)

Read a book together that shows many of your basic household items. The first time, you can put three of those real items from your home in a bag that he can already name — perhaps a cup, spoon, or car. Have him reach in, pull one out, and name it. By the time he is 14-24 months, he will be able to associate the real item with the item in the book. When all items are out, ask him to put them back as he names them. As he is successful playing this game, add a different object to the bag. When he is ready (about 14-24 months), ask him to feel each item and guess what it might be without looking. After he guesses, he can take it out and name it. This game helps him hear new words from you and practice saying the words in the book and in his world.

Preschoolers (36 months to school entry)

During your normal daily routines, such as folding the laundry, put out three items — two that belong to same group (socks) and one that is different (shirt). Ask your child which one is different. You can make things different by category (shocks and shirt), color, shape, size, etc. After playing a few times, ask your child what would be the same. As he learns the game, let him take the lead and find things for you to match. Language is enhanced as a child thinks about objects, links them together by function, and responds with the appropriate spoken language. This helps him connect thought with spoken language.

Suzanne Myers