Between smartphones, tablets, ebook readers, and, of course, desktop and laptop computers, you may read online more often than off. Either way, your baby will grow up in a world where online reading is an everyday part of literacy.
Babies watch our use of technology. As we check the news on our smartphones or type in a quick Twitter update, our babies are aware that we’re clicking and staring at a little screen. If your child appears to be curious, explain what you are doing.
Features of Digital Reading
Years before you could read, you probably learned how a book works — what the cover signifies, how to hold the book, how to turn pages – and that those little black squiggles on the page are words (even if reading them was years away). Today’s babies are learning about books, too — plus a range of other text-delivery devices. By familiarizing your child with how technology works, you are putting her on the path to her own eventual competence with technology.
As she sits on your lap in front of the computer, allow your child to move and click the mouse. Help her type her own name, and let her practice typing her first initial and seeing it fill up a page. If you Skype with grandparents, point to their username on Skype’s directory. Your child will become as attuned to the words that signify important terms or messages in the digital world as they are to stop signs and food labels.
Encourage your baby to see how “eReading” technology is part of everyday life. Tell her, “I’m checking our calendar to see which day Grandma is coming to visit. Oh, great! It’s Saturday!” or “Let’s look at pictures that Alice’s mom posted from her birthday party.” Or, “Let’s text Graham’s mom and see if he’s free for a play date.” As your child sees the uses of online text, she will become interested in participating herself.