5 Easy Ways for Parents to Promote Literacy and Language

1. Make time for reading!

Not only does reading pave the way for academic achievement, it is a great moment to bond with your child and share joint attention. This shared activity has been proven to play a crucial role in language and communication development, while enhancing print awareness and early vocabulary. Try reading for a few minutes at a time and slowly build up the time you read together.  Have them pay attention to the title and pictures, point out what you see, and encourage them to do the same. 

2. Go shopping together!

The best way for your child to promote language is through experience. Through exploration of different environments, you can engage him or her in conversation of what they see and hear, as well as what you need to buy. Comment on what you see and ask questions. Language is everywhere and through this exposure, they are guided to observe their environments and make judgements based off of sensory input. 

3. Take lots of pictures!

Capture your child’s daily routine through photos and engage with him or her about it. Have him or her arrange the photos in order from breakfast to bedtime and ask about their favorite activities. Talking about these moments allows your child to maintain a consistent routine and communicate his or her needs and wants. Making a photo album of some of their most memorable moments is also beneficial, as allows for joint attention and builds their skills in retrospective narration. You also get great memorabilia! 

4. Watch a movie!

Another form of joint attention, watching movies together allows for valuable communication building. Have him or her describe what is happening, what may happen next, and how he or she feels about what is happening. This is a great opportunity to build their vocabulary as well as information relaying. You can even choose out his or her favorite scene and recreate it, or create your own ending to incite his or her (and of course, your) creative side!

5. Be playful!

Indulge in your inner child and play with your child one-on-one. Allow them to direct play and be sure to ask questions such as “How far can the car go? What sound does it make?” Your interest in the play will not only strengthen your child’s interest, but reinforces his or her communicative skills. As we approach the colder months, there are boundless opportunities for play, and is the perfect time to encourage your child to strengthen his or her communicative skills!