Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and by joining the conversation. Use new words when talking with your child. Try to help him or her make connections between words.
Tip: Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.
Songs are a natural way to learn about language. They help children develop listening skills and to pay attention to the rhythms and rhymes of spoken language.
Tip: Sing with your child whenever you can—at home, in the car, during a walk.
Reading with children is the single most important way to help them get ready to read. It develops vocabulary and comprehension, and helps children learn the meaning of less common words.
Tip: Keep a list of your favorite library books and authors.
Reading and writing go together. As children scribble and draw, they practice eye-hand coordination and exercise muscles in their fingers and hands. This helps develop the fine motor control they need to write words.
Tip: Encourage children to "sign" their name on drawings.
Children learn about language through different kinds of play. As they play "store" or pretend to be an animal, they practice putting thoughts into words.
Tip: Provide toys that can represent the characters in a favorite book to act out or extend the story.