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Early Literacy for Infants and Toddlers
Sharing books and other reading materials with children at a young age can establish a strong foundation for later literacy skills (McLane & McNamee, 1991). When teachers read to young children early and often, the children see reading as something that is fun to do. They become familiar with the sound of language that is used in books. They learn to turn the pages of books and learn that the print in books has meaning (Rice, Burkes, & Kaplan-Sanoff). Reading to young children builds a strong foundation for later literacy skills. It is important to share books with each child, keeping in mind the child’s level of development and interest.
While children should not be forced to listen to stories when they do not show interest, a wide variety of age-appropriate books should be available in the classroom at all times for them to explore freely. As the children grow and mature, the experiences you have provided when they were small will help to build the skills they need to eventually become lifelong readers.