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The Emergent Reader: The Infant And Toddler Years

In the first few months after birth, children begin to play with sounds. Their cooing turns to babble as they attempt to imitate the sounds that they hear. They love to play games such as pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo, and manipulate objects. Adults need to talk to babies using simple language and acknowledge their language attempts to support their oral language development. It is during this time of play that infants begin their pathway to reading.

First readings with infants should include cardboard books, which are sturdy and allow the infant to handle the book without concern about pages being ripped. Most readings with a toddler center around vocabulary building, such as by asking him to point to different items in a picture. Toddlers can identify more items through this type of labeled reading than by actually talking. A toddler might not be able to voice the word if you point to an elephant, but if you ask him to show you an elephant, he will be able to point to a picture of one. As toddlers increase their vocabulary, they begin to imitate language around them by speaking in simple sentences; "I want cookie," "I go bye-bye," and "I have book" are a few examples. This oral language is the foundation for the development of literacy.

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6Reading - The Emergent Reader: The Infant And Toddler Years, Precursors To Reading: The Preschool Years