Research shows that building a language-rich environment from birth makes a big difference in a child's ability to speak, read, and write.
Follow these tips to help your child develop language skills early in life.
Talking & Language
Look at your child and talk to, with, and around her or him often during everyday activities—like when folding laundry or waiting in line—starting from birth.
Speak in your native language as often as possible.
Pause to give your child the chance to "speak" in sounds, grunts, coos, and eventually words and phrases. This helps build conversation skills.
Encourage family members, friends, and others who might be around your child to talk with each other and with your child.
Reading & Literacy
Read books to your child daily, starting at birth. Find books for children of all ages at your local library—older ones can even pick their own.
Point to printed text and pictures while reading. Encourage the child to turn the book's pages, and let him or her touch the words and pictures on the pages, too.
Talk about what happened in the story, and ask what might happen next.
Ask open-ended questions that start with who, what, when, why, or how, and give your child a chance to answer using sounds and words.
For more information, read A Child Becomes a Reader – Birth Through Preschool (PDF - 308 KB).