It'll be years before your baby is able to read, but now is still the time to start making reading part of her everyday life. Try these 10 simple activities to integrate reading:
1. Talk It Up! Build up your child's spoken vocabulary by using a wide variety of words when talking with her. Research shows that the more words a child hears by age two, the larger her vocabulary will grow.
2. Sign Time: Point out signs and symbols wherever you go. It will reinforce the idea that symbols have meaning, preparing your child to translate letters into sounds and words.
3. I Spy: Playing "I spy with my little eye something that begins with A" is a great way to introduce directional language and connect letters with their sounds and language with the objects it represents.
4. It's Mine! Write your child's name in books and papers and point it out to him. It will build familiarity with the letters in his name and show a concrete use for writing.
5. Sing It Loud! Introduce sounds and the music they make through song. Most children have an easier time remembering sequences of words if they are put to a tune.
6. Play With Books: Get some sturdy yet small board books that your child can play with. Just holding books and turning pages is an essential step to reading. Books with a tactile element like That's Not My Lion and others in this series are an especially good choice.
7. Ask Questions: Build your child's awareness of the world around her and about herself simply by asking how she's feeling or what she sees around her. Asking questions about what she'd like to do after lunch or naptime also introduces the concept of time and narrative.
8. Clapping Games: Clap out the syllables in your child's name and other family members' names. It will show him that different words are different lengths and that long words can be broken into smaller bits.
9. Build Up ABCs: Get a set of alphabet blocks for your child to build and play with — she'll be building letter recognition and block towers at the same time.
10. And (of Course) Read Aloud: Reading to your child regularly is the most important thing you can do to help your child develop pre-reading skills. Board and picture books are an obvious choice, but even the newspaper or a grocery list will interest your baby and build literacy.