'Baby talk' is literacy formation
Surround infants with happy language and you enjoy a generally happy baby. Baby literacy includes interaction through talking, playing word games, reciting nursery rhymes, telling stories, doing basically anything with language. It's not a formal training program, but taking advantage of little opportunities. This gives you a reason to talk to that cute baby and say, "I'm building her literacy." You really are. Babies love to imitate, and the more human words they hear, and the more variety of voices they hear, the more they are exposed to word formation. Before we can read we must hear the sounds, learn to distinguish them, and be able to repeat them. Eventually, we can form them into words. All of this is not baby talk. It is literacy formation.
Children learn to listen by hearing someone talk to them. By listening children learn to be quiet and think about the meaning of what is said. By listening he/she learns how to speak, how to put excitement in his voice, how to anticipate, and gradually realize the rewards of waiting, plus much more. This means that friends, relatives, strangers in the grocery store, etc. all help children to enjoy words and to realize they send a message. This literacy leads to print literacy.
Reading to children helps them discover how a story starts and how it ends. You may not think about it, but wouldn't it be confusing if you couldn't tell the difference between conversation and story beginnings and endings. After all, how do you know when your friend is telling a "fish" story? The wonderful part about reading to young children is you can read and reread the book, and they love it. Granted you can't keep their attention for a long period of time, but you can enjoy putting silly expressions in your reading, and children respond. At the same time you are influencing their potential reading ability. See how simple it is to promote literacy in our nation one child at a time.
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