Researchers David Dickinson and Patton Tabors urge us to keep in mind “that oral language is the foundation of early literacy” (2002, p. 10). HighScope’s position paper, “Good Beginnings in Reading for Infants and Toddlers in HighScope Programs” (HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 2001) states, “The ability to produce and comprehend oral language, handle and look at books, and hear and tell stories are skills essential to later reading and writing”
Through reading aloud and storytelling, we are supporting key areas of children’s development in print and language exploration as well as in listening and responding. Through the exploration of books, materials, and language, infants and toddlers gain an active understanding of what words mean and what they represent. “They learn that books contain pictures of familiar things; that they can make their own picture-like marks; that stories, rhymes, and songs are fun to repeat again and again; that they can talk about their own experiences and make up their own stories; and that trusted people affirm what they do, communicate, and say” (HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 2001, p. 5). Plus, it is just plain fun and pleasurable for all!
Cut out pictures of familiar things such as animals, babies, and food from a magazine
Look at the pictures with your toddler and talk about each picture. For example, point to a cow and say, “The cow is at the farm. ‘Moo, moo,’ says the cow. Now ask your baby what the cow says
If he doesn’t respond, repeat your words again
Next, let your child choose one of the pictures and tell you about it or make up a short, simple story about one of the pictures
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.