Read, Speak, Sing


Babies need to hear and use sounds, sound patterns and spoken language. This helps prepare them to eventually learn to read printed words.

Here, from Canadian Paediatric Society, are some tips on how you can help provide these opportunities for your grandchildren.

Read to your grandchildren. This will help nurture a love of reading. Even very young babies love picture books.

Use rhymes, games and songs. Babies respond to them almost from birth. They don’t need to understand the words for these moments to be learning experiences.

Talk about what’s going on. Whether you’re just sitting together or taking a walk, use words that describe the actions and the things around you.

Babies babble. It’s how they learn to make sounds with their own voices. Repeat these sounds, and turn them into real words. You’ll help your grandbaby recognize which sounds form language.

Ask questions. When you say, “What’s that?” and name the picture in a book, it teaches babies that things have names.

Encourage involvement. Babies like to put books in their mouths, so be sure you provide sturdy and clean board books.

Sing songs. Music makes the words easier to remember, and is a fun way to make language come alive for you and your grandchild.

Visit the public library. Even babies can get a library card! There are lots of free resources to encourage a baby’s love of reading. Ask a librarian for ideas.

Provide face-to-face interactions. For children under two years old, screen time is not recommended. Turn off background screens (TVs, etc) so you’re not distracted.

Keep books visible and accessible around your home—not just on bookshelves —so your baby can explore them anytime.

Have fun. Cuddle, gaze at each other, use silly voices as you enjoy books and conversations with your baby.

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