First Steps Toward Reading
- Play telephone with your toddler. Pretend to make calls and hold conversations with each other, family members or imaginary people. Use funny voices, and create silly characters on the other line. Use full sentences and polite telephone etiquette to teach grammar as well as increase vocabulary.
- Provide indirect corrections to your child’s grammar. For example, if your child states that she “goed to the zoo with Mommy”, you can provide a subtle correction by echoing her statement, “Oh, you went to the zoo with Mommy?”. This models correct grammar and word usage and shows that you are paying attention to the content of her language as well as the form.
- Repeat yourself. Use a new word in more than one instance to help it stick in your child's memory. Carry on conversations with your child. Label and describe what you see especially at a grocery store or in the car. Some toddlers need to hear certain words or phrases more often than others before the language becomes a permanent part of their vocabulary.
- Ask many questions. Keep conversations rolling by expanding on your toddler's words and short sentences. Ask additional questions. If your child says “Ball,” respond with “That is a ball.” You can also encourage him to build on the sentence himself by asking, "What are they playing with that ball?"
- Skills Learned: Language and social development, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, imagination, higher order thinking, questioning skills, listening and comprehension, building relationships with adults and children.