Ames Free Library

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Early Literacy Activities: TALK

Welcome to our new weekly blog series: Early Literacy Activity Ideas.

Literacy is so much more than reading a book - or even learning how to read. All the things babies and toddlers do that make connections in their brains that will later help them learn how to read is called Early Literacy. These pre-reading skills look nothing like reading, and in fact often don't have anything to do with a book! Check here on the children's blog each week for small activities you can do anywhere, anytime with your baby, toddler, or preschooler. As with favorite songs or rhymes, repeating these activities - in exactly the same way or with slight modifications - reinforces those brain connections even more!

There are five areas of focus in Early Literacy: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing.  Each week we'll pick one area and post an activity that can be modified to play with any child from birth through preschool age.

We'll start simple this week with a "Talk" tip: Since you can't get to the library for new books, take any picture book you have at home (or even an illustrated encylopedia, or a magazine!) and do a "picture walk." It's OK if the book is "too long" for your toddler or if it's one you've read a million times with your preschooler. It's also OK if you just get through a few pages or if you child just wants to close the book. Read their cues for their interest level.

Instead of reading, linger over the pictures and talk about details maybe you haven't noticed while you rush through with the words. For babies, find pictures of familiar things (a cat, a cup, a hat) and talk about similar things you might have at home and what you do with them (pet the cat, drink from a cup, and wear a hat!). If you have an older child, have them "read" the pictures and tell the story back to you. Give the characters new names, or think of an alternate storyline that the pictures might be telling. Your little one will be having fun while building their vocabulary, coversational skills, and imagination!

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