Early Literacy: Toddlers

Toddlers are natural explorers. They observe, listen to, touch, taste, and experience everything in their environment. They’ve already formed lots of primary relationships as infants and find security in familiar objects and everyday routines. Although their language is growing rapidly, it’s important to remember all behavior is communication and sometimes toddlers (and even preschoolers) may cry or tantrum as a way to communicate their needs when they don’t have the words to express themselves.

Video & Tips

We hope this video and the corresponding tips below help add to what you’re already doing with your little ones and highlight why the skills you see each day are important in building a foundation for literacy!

Behavior is Communication

Give & Take Conversation

Rhyming

Five Senses

The five senses are touching, seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting. Using the senses involves different areas of the brain, which is important for early literacy development because it connects what a child is learning to things in their environment, like how a real apple tastes, feels and smells.

For toddlers this means talking with them about the real things they’re doing and it is the most powerful and natural way for them to learn language. Talking “with” means being patient as they try to express themselves, waiting and not rushing them, then responding to their questions and comments through conversation.

Rhyming and rhythm help little ones hear sounds and syllables in words, which later help them learn to read, an example is “night, night, sleep tight” There are lots of great rhyming books and songs to share with little ones.

The five senses are touching, seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting. Using the senses involves different areas of the brain, which is important for early literacy development because it connects what a child is learning to things in their environment, like how a real apple tastes, feels and smells.

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