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Memorizing Books

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Q: My 2-year-old daughter can recite, word for word, approximately 10 of her books. It's like she's "reading," but I know that can't be possible. She began talking at 7 months, and now speaks in paragraphs. Is this memorization of books an indicator of reading development later on? Is it common in children this age?

A: This is common for children between 2 and 4 years old only when they have wonderful parents like you! When parents read daily, with rich interesting intonations, and engage toddlers in a love of books and reading, this may well occur.

Read favorites over and over, since this helps your child memorize the story. Ask her to retell a story to you sometimes after you finish a book. Express pleasure about your snuggling together for story time each day. Ask your child to point to a special pictured item or animal or vehicle. For example, as you read the book Something From Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman, ask your daughter to look at how the mouse family in the lower picture panels is using the snips of blue cloth that Grandpa lets fall down through the cracks in the floor. You will enhance her noticing skills and pleasure as she sees that the mice use every scrap to make curtains, aprons, etc. Keep on being a precious resource for boosting your daughter's success at early literacy.

About the Author

Alice Sterling Honig, Ph.D., is a professor emerita of child development at Syracuse University. She is the author of Secure Relationships: Nurturing Infant-Toddler Attachments in Early Care Settings.

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