Pathways to Reading: Infants

By Lynne Mueller, Head of School

A love of reading begins long before your child can read a book on their own. From birth, every time you hold your child, speak and read aloud, your child experiences the joys of reading. At Vivvi, we know that children are more likely to become fluent readers and enjoy reading more if the adults in their lives converse with their children regularly and model reading as a source of enjoyment.

Literacy begins with listening and speaking. Babies need to hear language from a human being to thrive. Television and other devices that “talk” are just noise to a baby. As infants listen to familiar voices they begin to interact with babbling sound responses that will lead to the development of expressive thoughts using conventional language.

To heighten language development with babies, a strategy called “self talk” is ideal. It involves talking about what you are doing, seeing, eating, touching or thinking. As you narrate your actions to a child, language development is heightened.

Some examples of self talk include:

  • “I am mixing the butter and sugar to make our cookies. I like the smell. Now I am going to taste the cookies.”

  • “I’m washing the dishes. Now, I’m drying them. All done.”

  • “I am putting on my shoes to go to work.”

  • “First, I am taking off your old diaper. Now I am going to get a clean diaper and….”

In the beginning, it’s easy to concentrate so hard on becoming a good describer of your actions that the flow of your conversation with your baby does not seem to have a natural pacing. But with practice, this way of talking will become more natural providing your child with more opportunities to develop the strong expressive and receptive skills needed for literacy fluency.

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