BABIES & TODDLERS:
Chose Great Books & Show Environmental Print
Books should be within arms reach for your youngster at all time - in toy bins, next to car seats, vinyl ones for the bathtub, in the stroller, etc. Watch these videos on board books and chewable indestructable books!
Another key idea is to show young children how we are constantly surrounded by print. Environmental print is just jargon for the print that surrounds us in everyday life: the letters on a billboard, the words on a cereal box, etc (Reading Rockets defines environmental print here). Here are some key points and a quick video:
Point out letters everywhere to young children. Stuck in traffic? Pass the time with, "I spy the letter C on that truck. Your name starts with the letter C". Play 'I Spy' with letters, as in "I spy the letter M. Can you find it?"
Make a word wall at home (like in the second video).
Label things at home.
Encourage your child to show you letters. This could be on the refrigerator magnets or in a book that they recognize
Here’s another video with kids using environmental print. And finally, here's a video of a 2.5 year old who has been shown environmental print in her every day life. Watch her pretend reading a familiar book. As you watch it, take note of what literacy skills she demonstrates. What literacy behaviors did you see in the video? What has she mastered? What surprised you / impressed you? How do you think her parent/caregiver might have built / supported her development?