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Reading’s Important Role in Early Childhood Development

A child’s speech and language development starts long before he or she begins to talk or read. Research shows that 6-month-olds who can distinguish sounds early on are better at acquiring the skills necessary for learning how to read.

Reading books with your child is one of the best ways to develop these skills. You can further encourage their development using the following techniques:

  • Point out specifics objects in the book
  • Encourage your child to tell you what’s happening in the pictures
  • Allow your toddler to turn the pages of the book
  • Use different voices and tones when reading to your child

Need a book idea? Try these classics:

Ages birth through 3

  • Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” by Eileen Christelow
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin

Ages 2-3

  • Cars and Trucks and Things That Go” and other titles by Richard Scarry
  • Where’s Spot” by Eric Hill
  • “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems
  • “P is for Potty!” by Naomi Kleinberg & Christopher Moroney

Ages 3-5

  • “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” by Virginia Lee Burton
  • “Corduroy” by Don Freeman
  • “Bread and Jam for Frances” by Russell Hoban
  • “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey
  • “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper
  • “The Cat in the Hat” and other titles by Dr. Seuss
  • “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
  • “Harry, the Dirty Dog” by Gene Zion
  • “Snowy Day” and “Whistle for Willie” by Ezra Jack Keats
  • “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” by Jimmy Kennedy

For more information about encouraging a child’s development, visit helpmegrowmn.org.

Portions of this content, developed by Help Me Grow Minnesota, may have previously appeared elsewhere.
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