Children are learning language and beginning to understand the world around them. Use this time to talk to your child, ask questions and point out the world around them. The more words your child is familiar with, the further ahead they will be when learning to read.

Communicating with Your Child:

Tips on Learning to Talk:

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development:

  • Talk about food you’re preparing, what you’re doing to make it, how it tastes, and describe what it looks like.
  • Talk about objects outside of the house. For example, talk about the sounds of the traffic, or talk about the weather.

Singing and clapping along is a wonderful way to connect and have fun with your child. Singing slows down language and allows children to hear the smaller sounds in words. By practicing singing, later this skill will help children sound out words while learning to read.

  • Clap along to the rhythm so children hear the syllables of the words you say.
  • Sing nursery rhymes with your child. Rhymes teach your child language, rhyme, repetition, and rhythm.

The single most important activity to do with your child is read aloud. Reading with expression and making books engaging allows the reader to have a positive experience that makes them want to continue reading as they get older. There are things to read wherever you look, so take advantage in the grocery store, at the bank, and around town.

  • Encourage your child to turn the pages and talk about what they see on each page. Use your finger to guide your child’s eyes from left to right across the page as you read along.
  • Choose lift-the-flap books or touch-and-feel books.

Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. Children can learn pre-reading skills by participating in writing activities like scribbling, drawing, and forming letters.

Why Should I Write?

Zero to Three: Learning to Write and Draw Tips

10 Hands-On Ways to Practice Writing Skills

  • Encourage your child to draw and write using pens, pencils, crayons, and markers.
  • Talk to your children about what they draw and write captions or stories together. This helps connect spoken and printed language.

Children learn a lot about language through play by putting their ideas and feelings into words. Children think symbolically when they play, which helps them to understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences.

  • Encourage children to engage in dramatic play. Have children use puppets, dolls, or stuffed animals to create and understand the stories.
  • Give your child plenty of playtime. Allow children to have unstructured play time to use their imaginations to create stories.