Read, Read, Read
At this age, reading and learning will probably be right at the top of your child’s to-do list. They will listen as you read, help you turn pages and even complete sentences from their favorite stories. It’s important to read with them often, and equally as important to make sure it’s fun for them.
As you take your child out and about, talk about everything you see, the people you might find and what is happening around you. Everyday descriptions of the things around you will help your child build their words. Anything can be made into a story as well. Is there a princess trapped in a shopping aisle at your grocery store? What happens if an elephant escapes from the zoo? Who are the police cars chasing?
Starting to Write
Your child will want to write – it’s part of learning to read. Give them crayons, pencils, felt-tips and paper and encourage them to write. It will just be scribbles, but it’s the starting point of writing. Let your child watch you write as well, so they can learn from you.
Discussing the Books you Read
Your child will ask a lot more questions at this age about the books you’re reading – it’s a good sign, even if you’ve answered them a hundred times before! It’s good if you ask your child questions too, like what they think will happen at the end of the story, or who their favorite character is and why. Don’t forget to ask them to describe the pictures as well.
Use the rhymes and songs your child is familiar with to improve the way they listen. Ask them to complete a rhyme or the last word of a song. Play around with rhymes, changing the letters at the start of words until they are nonsense. It may sound funny, but it will help your child listen and recognize different sounds.
It’s All in the Name
Your child will probably love looking at the letters in their own name. Use that to play alphabet games. For example, you could mix up the letters of their name and ask them to put the letters back in the right order. Ask them to name objects which start with the same first letter as their name. Always get them to sign anything they draw or paint!
Learning the Alphabet
ABCs can be tricky to learn, but you can get your child interested by matching each letter of the alphabet to pictures and objects they love. There are also plenty of ABC books on different subjects – animals, machines, farms, etc. – which will help tap into what they like.
Before you start reading a story to your child, read the title and author’s name and look at the picture on the front cover. As your child turns each page, follow the words with your finger so they can see the text your words go with. These things are important for understanding how books work.