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Kids & Teens

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Birth to 8 months

Listening & Understanding: Responds to frequently heard sounds and words
Communicating & Speaking: Uses a variety of sounds and movements to communicate
Early Reading: Shows enjoyment of the sounds and rhythms of language
Early Writing: Develops eye-hand coordination and more intentional hand control
Literacy Activities to Support Development 1
  • Talk, sing, read, and play with your baby.
  • Have your child sit in your lap while you clap your hands to a rhyme, show the basic movements to favorite fingerplays like Itsy-Bitsy Spider, and read from sturdy board books.
  • Select books that are short in length with vivid illustrations and photographs.
  • Point to and label things you see in your environment “Oh look at the brown dog.”

8 to 18 months

Listening & Understanding: Shows increased understanding of gestures and words
Communicating & Speaking: Uses consistent sounds, gestures, and some words to communicate
Early Reading: Builds and uses vocabulary with language, pictures, and books
Early Writing: Uses tools to make scribbles, and repeats actions that symbolize ideas
Literacy Activities to Support Development 1
  • Talk, sing, read, and play with your baby.
  • Keep in mind your child may not sit through an entire book, since they are now moving!
  • You can always start a book and then come back to it later, or even continue reading while your child plays in the immediate area. You may not think they are listening…but they are!
  • Let your child hold the book, and ask them to point to pictures of things you see “Where is the cow? Can you show me?”

18 to 24 months (2 years)

Listening & Understanding: Gains meaning through listening
Communicating & Speaking: Uses a number of words and uses words together, and tries to take part in conversations
Early Reading: Learns that pictures represent real objects, events, and ideas (stories), show motivation to “read”
Early Writing: Makes purposeful marks on paper, and uses play to imitate familiar routines (beginning story telling)
Literacy Activities to Support Development 1
  • That’s right. Keep talking, singing, reading, and playing with your child.
  • When reading familiar stories, ask your child what is happening, and have them point to and name familiar objects on the page.
  • Toddlers still have limited attention spans, so make the book come to life by adding movement.
  • Clap a rhythm to the beat of the story, make the sounds of the animals or machines, jump when the frog jumps, use your fingers or blocks to count or keep track of objects in the book, etc.
  • Also connect books to everyday experiences: visit the zoo = read animal books.

2 years

Listening & Understanding: Gains meaning through listening
Communicating & Speaking: Speaks clearly enough to be understood by most listeners, and participates in conversation
Early Reading: Shows growing interest in print and books, and motivation to “read”
Early Writing: Uses scribbles, marks, and drawings to convey a message, and participates in more complicated imitative play
Literacy Activities to Support Development 1
  • Talk, sing, read, play, and write with your child.
  • Keep your child’s favorite books with their toys, to encourage reading as an enjoyable pastime.
  • You may notice that your child may alternate “reading” on their own with wanting you to read the same book repeatedly.
  • Continue doing all the things listed for toddlers, plus ask more questions about what’s happening in the story or what could come next. “Did the baby bird find her mommy? Where will she look next?”
  • Also when reading familiar books, pause and let your child finish the sentence in their own words.

3 years

Listening & Understanding: Listens to and understands spoken language, and shows understanding by following simple directions
Communicating & Speaking: Shows improving expressive communications skills, and shows increased vocabulary
Early Reading: Shows an appreciation and enjoyment of reading, demonstrates a beginning phonological awareness, shows awareness of letters and symbols, and demonstrates comprehension and responds to stories
Early Writing: Begins to use writing, pictures and play to express ideas, and begins making letter-like shapes and scribbles to write
Literacy Activities to Support Development 1
  • While you continue to talk, sing, read, play, and write with your child, let them see you do these things for your own enjoyment.
  • Read your own books, magazines, write grocery lists or notes, etc. and let your child see you in these activities.
  • Select rhyming books and encourage your child to fill in the rhyming word at the end of the sentence.
  • After reading a story, act it out together by playing the parts of the characters in the book.
  • Encourage your child to "read" familiar books aloud to you.
  • When you do read familiar books to your child, pause and let your child finish the sentence in their own words. 

4 years

Listening & Understanding: Increases knowledge through listening, and follows multi-step directions
Communicating & Speaking: Speech is understood by both familiar and unfamiliar adults and peers; shows increased vocabulary to describe many objects, actions, and events; uses age-appropriate grammar in conversations with increasingly complex phrases and sentences; uses language to express needs and feelings, share experiences, predict outcomes, and resolve problems
Early Reading: shows motivation for reading, shows age-appropriate phonological awareness and alphabetic knowledge, and demonstrates comprehension of text read aloud
Early Writing: shows motivation to engage in written expression; uses scribbling, letter-like shapes, and letters that are clearly different from drawing to represent thoughts; demonstrates age-appropriate ability to write letters
Literacy Activities to Support Development 1
  • Ask your child to draw a picture about a favorite story or character.
  • Play word or letter games using books, like "I Spy" finding letters or objects on the page.
  • Have your child fill in the blank when reading rhyming books, but also play games where you think of as many words as you can that rhyme.
  • Read knock-knock or basic jokes books together. Jokes are a wonderful way to share new vocabulary at this age, and start conversation. They may not understand the jokes at first, but as their vocabulary grows, so will meaning!
Play matching games in your environment. Finding road signs when in the car, food in the grocery store based on your shopping list or coupons, objects that are the same color or start with the same beginning letter sound, etc. 

Songs and Fingerplays

Adapted from: Florida’s Early Learning and Development Standards for Language and Communication 1

Printable Guide to Reading With Your Child

Jacksonville Public Library