First Steps Toward Reading
- Hand a phone to your child and keep one for yourself. Pretend to make calls, and hold conversations with each other or imaginary people. Use funny voices, and create silly characters on the other line.
- Variations: Some play telephones allow you to record your and your child's voices and play them back, which can enhance the fun.
- Repeat yourself. Use a new word in more than one instance to help it stick in your child's memory. ("Wow, this ball we're playing with is big!" "See that car across the street? Look how big it is.") But if your child doesn't pick up and use the word right away, don't panic. Some toddlers need to hear certain words or phrases more often than others before the language becomes a permanent part of their vocabulary.
- Be descriptive. Don't just label objects, describe them. Talking about how something looks, feels, or tastes is an easy way to introduce new terms and spark your child's creativity. If you're at the supermarket with your kid, you might pick up an apple and say, "This apple is round and red. Let's feel it; wow, the skin is so smooth." Then ask your tot to describe another item.
- Add on. Keep conversations rolling by expanding on your toddler's words and short sentences. Ask additional questions. If your child says “Cat,” respond with “That is a cat.” You can also encourage him to build on the sentence himself by asking, "What is the cat doing?"
- Skills Learned: Language and social development, speaking, listening and comprehension, building relationships with adults and children.