Check out one of the Library’s videos or DVDs based on a picture book, such as the Weston Woods production of Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus. Talk with your child about what is happening in the story, how the main character is feeling, and other details. Read the book before or after watching the DVD and then see if your child can retell or act out the story. Children love to hear stories over and over again, which helps them develop narrative skills.
–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator
Building a strong vocabulary is an important part of early literacy. With babies and toddlers, almost any word can be a new word for them to learn! When you sing the song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” with different actions—clap your hands, pat your head, tap your toes, touch your nose—it helps your child practice vocabulary words for types of actions and parts of the body. Make up new verses with different actions and other body parts that your child is learning to name!
–-Tip by Jan P., Preschool/Childcare Liaison
For most children, drilling the letter names and sounds is not fun. Songs are a fun way to teach the alphabet. Try the song, “Marching Around the Alphabet,” which is on the Hap Palmer CD called One Little Sound. Write the letters of the alphabet on slips of paper and lay them out in a circle on the floor. March around them to the song and when you hear the whistle, have your child pick up a letter and tell you its name and what sound it makes. You can help your child if he or she is just beginning to learn letters and their sounds.
–Tip by Barb M., Youth Programming and Outreach Assistant
Print motivation means being interested in and enjoying books. Try keeping some books in with your baby or toddler’s other toys if you don’t already. That way when they go to play they can also choose a book. This is one way to build positive interactions with books and encourage print motivation.
–Tip by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist
The Banging Book by Bill Grossman is all about noises and sounds. Phonological awareness is about sounds in words, so making noises to go along with the sounds in books will encourage this early literacy skill. Use this book or others like it with a small instrument like a drum or tambourine and have your little one bang along with the story.
Print Awareness means learning about books and print. When children are young, they treat books as they would any other toy. This means they put them in their mouths, explore them by pushing and pulling, and become interested in the pictures. Keep some books in your child’s toy box. Let your child handle the books and talk about what you see in the pictures. This will help your child develop print awareness.
–Tip by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head
The book, What’s What? A Guessing Game by Mary Serfozo, allows you to discuss the concept of opposites with your child. Use questions like, “What is soft?” and “What is cold?” to ask your child what he or she thinks those words mean. These conversations help enrich your child’s vocabulary and understanding of what opposites are. Vocabulary means knowing the names of things, concepts, feelings, etc., and it is one of the six early literacy skills that children need to develop before learning to read.
This cute snowman is easy to make. Use paper or felt scraps for the hat and nose, and use white glue or a glue-stick to attach. A marker pen completes the eyes and mouth. Use your snowman to act out and retell snowman stories at home. This will strengthen narrative skills, the ability to talk about events and tell stories.
–Tip by Brad J., Youth Technology Librarian
You can begin working on the literacy skill of letter knowledge, learning about the letters of the alphabet, when your child is just a baby. Try tracing a round shape on a snowy surface. Point out and talk about all kinds of things that are round. Noticing different shapes will help your child later recognize the different shapes that letters can have. The book Snowballs by Lois Ehlert has many round things for baby to look at.
–Tip by Jan P., Preschool/Childcare Liaison
Read the book Snip Snap!: What’s That? by Mara Bergman with your little one. Every time you ask, “Were the children scared?” your child gets to yell out, “You bet they were!” Having your child say a repeated phrase with you throughout the book keeps him or her involved. This is one way you support print motivation–making reading fun!
—Tip by Julie D., Elementary School Liaison