With picture books, talk about the pictures. If a book has too many words, tell the story more simply, in your own words. You may need to begin by talking about the pictures.
- Read as long as the child's attention lasts.
- Talk about the front of the book, the top of the page. Point to the words.
- Play games with sounds. This is very important to your child's reading development.
This activity lets the child know that words are made up of sounds; that conversation is made up of words.
- Clap names of family and friends - "Joe" (one clap), "Mother" (two claps)
- Stretch out the sounds of the word - "fff aaa nnn" - then say it fast, "fan."
- Play rhyming games.
- Play I spy: something that begins like "pan" (pillow); something that begins like "mug" (mat, man).
These games can be played with a child before the child has any knowledge of the alphabet.
Story reading or story telling is important, as this activity helps the child know the typical pattern of events that one expects to hear in a story.
When your child shows interest in the alphabet, follow your child's lead. Print names, and then print familiar words that begin with the same letter. Help your child know which letters are the same and which are different. If your child has an interest in learning letters of the alphabet, introduce letters that are not similar in their looks or sounds.
Be creative in helping your child develop remembering devices. Use things that are funny and familiar. Encourage your child to draw and tell you the story of the picture, which you can write down. Children's writing emerges from squiggles, to strings of lines, to favorite letters, to a beginning letter followed by other letters or lines.
Young children's art work may consist of lines and colors. Comment on the strong lines, e.g., "What a great blue color!" Reflect on what you see; ask the child to tell you about the picture. If a child isn't interested in drawing, provide plastic animals, people, and vehicles the child can manipulate and use to create a story.