The other day, I was riding the bus when I overheard a woman talking on her cell phone. She was going on and on about what she had done that day (right down to the type of fruit that she had bought at the supermarket), when suddenly I realized that she wasn’t on her cell phone at all; she was talking to her baby.
Her son may not have been old enough to carry on a conversation, but somewhere along the way, this mother had learned the importance of talking to her child. Babies are ready to communicate right from birth, and although she may have only been receiving coos and smiles in return, this mother was teaching her baby all about language. Children learn the words they hear, and when parents talk and read to their babies, they are helping their young ones develop a strong vocabulary.
Little by little, children discover the meanings of words, the rhythm and flow of language, and how to put words together to tell stories. They also learn letters and their corresponding sounds, and that printed letters represent spoken words. All of this must happen before a child can read printed words and understand what they mean — and the good news is, you don’t need expensive toys or gadgets to do it!
Talking to your baby is simple, and can easily fit into your daily routine. Why not:
- Recite a nursery rhyme while feeding your baby
- Talk about the things you see while you are out and about
- Describe what you are buying while you are shopping
- Sing songs while you are bathing your baby
- Share a book with your child before bedtime
You can find more tips for communicating with your child in this video:
Winnipeg Public Library can also help to create a literacy-rich home environment. As a library member, you have access to a vast assortment of books, magazines, music, films and more. All of these items provide many opportunities for families to use language together — whether reading the printed word or singing along with music, everyone is learning fun ways to use language. Regular visits to your public library ensure a fresh supply of books, stories, songs and ideas for family fun.
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