How you read is just as important as what you read.
- Speak slowly and clearly—this helps children hear the little sounds in words
- Repeat yourself—repetition of key words is important for learning
- Use short, simple sentences
- Look at your child while you are talking—children need to see mouths make words so they know how words form
- Talking with children develops comprehension skills
- Respond to baby babbles, as if you were having a conversation, so they learn how a conversation works
- Answer questions your child has—curiosity shows children are engaged with a topic and ready to learn
- Speak with, not at your child—children learn way more when they are actively involved
- Be silly—make up your own songs and rhymes
- Be patient when your child is talking—they need more time to organize their thoughts and have less practice coordinating the parts of the brain
Reading is more than just words on a page.
Dialogic reading is having a conversation about what you are reading while you are reading. Children learn best when they are involved, so including them in sharing a book allows them to become the storyteller!
- Avoid questions with yes or no answers.
- Ask questions about the story—who, what, where, why, when , how:
- “What sound does a dog make?” “What is she wearing?” “What colour is the house?”
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage conversation allow the child to give descriptions of what they see:
- “What do you think will happen next?” “How do you think the monkey feels?” “”What do you think would happen if…?”
- Relate questions back to your child’s life:
- “Yes—that’s a cat. What is the name of grandma’s cat?”
- Expand on their answers to help introduce new words to your child’s vocabulary
- “Yes! That’s a bear—a big, brown bear.”