Toddler story timeSaying a word is one thing, but recognising it on a page is another! Learning to read is a pretty impressive skill and one you can help your baby develop quite early on. Hearing your voice can be soothing or exciting – depending on your tone. Reading to your baby is a great way to spend together time, especially as all those cuddles and giggles at storytime can actually help them recognise the words you’re saying. By listening to the little sounds you make they’ll start to understand that individual letters make up syllables and words – the basics they’ll need for reading later on. So keep telling those stories!
Actions speak louder than wordsRight now the words on a page are just a jumble of shapes for your little one. So they’ll need to be able to recognise those squiggly things before they can learn what they mean. Finding them on the pages of toddler books is a great pre-reading skill. But actions are easier for them to remember than words. So pick a book with pictures of animals or things like a car or tractor that your baby can learn to imitate. A big ‘roar’, ‘oink’ or ‘beep beep’ can make you both chuckle. Add to that an action, like pat the dog or wave to the choo choo train and your baby will soon remember what’s on each page. Then before you know it, they’ll be swapping the pictures and actions for words – a sure sign your little bookworm’s getting the hang of it!
Make time for a rhymeRhymes, poems and songs for children really get their playful little imaginations going, and they make listening to words more fun too! The actions that often go with them, like the hand rolling and clapping in ‘Wind The Bobbin’ up’, are great for helping to improve their memory and anticipation skills. Do it again and again and they’ll soon learn what comes next! This is a really handy skill that they’ll put to good use later on, when reading becomes an important part of their learning and development. It’s also a great way to add some more fun to their day. So teach them some rhymes with all the actions and make it part of your daily routine – the more they enjoy it, the more likely they are to remember it!
Talk about fun
Once they’re better with words, you’ll see a new side to your toddler! As they learn to speak and read they’ll happily talk to toys, friends and anyone who’ll listen! Just like a little sponge, they’re ready to soak up everything they see around them and they’ll look to you for inspiration when it comes to learning more.
Food for thought
Learning to read, like all their other incredible development, needs the right nutrition. A diet packed with iron-rich foods like lean red meat, salmon, broccoli and eggs can help normal cognitive development.