Jacket Jabber Article by Sandy Emmerson:

The National Institute of Literacy has issued a booklet describing the skills that preschool children need in order to read and write later on in school. This research tells us that to become skilled and confident readers, youngsters frequently must be exposed to and use spoken language, learn the environment print and books, develop knowledge about the sounds of the spoken language, and listen to books read aloud.

Children who do not hear language (regardless of the type of language) spoken frequently or who are nor encouraged to talk themselves often have great difficulty learning to read since print is essentially written language in print form. Repeating the sounds that babies make, playing games with language, asking questions of the child, and encouraging your child to talk to you are very important in the development of all language skills.

Teaching children about environmental print involves reading street signs, traffic signs, billboards, store signs, etc., to your child. Ask your child to begin naming common letters or shapes when he is ready to do that (without pressure). Talk to him about his books and other print found at home. Have him identify the correct way to hold the book, the title, the pictures. Have him follow along with his finger as you read. Play and sing the alphabet and point out letters in print.

Play word games and rhyming games with your child. Help him become aware of the individual sounds in spoken words. Share rhyming books and books that are filled with alliteration. Nursery rhymes and chants are a big building block to phonemic and phonological awareness.

Choose books that appropriate are appropriate for his developmental stage to read to him or her. Board books, cloth books, touch-and-feel books, interactive books, books with interesting language, and predictable books with patterns and repeated language are excellent for babies and toddlers. Reread favorite books again and again.

Whatever activities you choose with your child, please remember that you are also choosing the feelings that you share together, the memories you have together, and the way that you bond as parent and child. These moments will pass, but the impressions will last throughout lifetimes. We know that you will make them absolutely them absolutely wonderful and pleasantly unforgettable. Enjoy!

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