Ministry of Education, Guyana

Reading: Helping Your Two Year Old Become a Reader

Young children are all "pre-readers" who pick up clues about reading from their environment. This is great news for parents — you already have everything you need to help your child succeed. Two-year-olds have exploding vocabularies and are eager to explore their world with you. Every time you read to and talk with your two-year-old, you build their early literacy skills. As children's author Emilie Buchwald wrote, "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."

Simple ways to help your child build reading skills:

Reading aloud to kids is "the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading," according to a landmark study. When kids sit next to a caring adult and hear engaging stories, they develop positive associations with books and build their vocabulary and comprehension skills. 

Keep Books in Easy Reach
Make it easy for your child to explore books. Keep a basket of books at kid level or in a "book bag" in the car for kids to flip through on rides. Place a couple of books at the foot of the bed for your child to look at first thing in the morning. Make a small reading corner or nook for your child — something as simple as a few pillows, soft blanket and a stack of library books. In other words, make books an ordinary and essential fixture in your home.

Fill Your Home with Letters
To help young children become comfortable with letters, keep a few alphabet sets around the house that your child can touch and manipulate, such as alphabet blocks, foam letters for the bathtub, ABC puzzles, magnetic refrigerator letters, alphabet board books or letter stamps.

Play "What Else?"
Before kids recognize letters, they can recognize sounds that make up words. Play simple games to help children hear how the beginning of a word sounds. This can be as simple as saying, "I like ba-ba-ba-bananas and ba-ba-ba-baseball. What else begins with ba-ba-ba?"


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