Birth - Age 3 Reading

What Do I Need To Know About My Child’s Development?

Language development starts from the very beginning of a baby's life and can even be observed prenatally at the end of the third trimester. Newborn babies will follow speech around them and will, eventually, recognize different voices. Speech patterns, sounds of words, and how others move their mouths are all areas that babies are able to focus on as their caregiver's talk, sing, and read around them. Though they will not be able to use words, their minds are storing information on why and how to communicate verbally till they develop to the point that they can start to use it. This is why beginning to read to babies as early as you can is so important.

Babies, and eventually toddlers, will hear and learn how words and sentences are formed and said. In addition, they will begin to notice that the letters on the page are symbols for language. All of these skills will, eventually, provide your toddler with the ability to tell you and others feelings, thoughts, wants, needs, etc. Though there are typically some behavioral concerns during the toddler years as they are mastering communication, your toddler will become more able to use words with others which will lessen the frequency of challenging behaviors.

WHAT LITERACY AND LANGUAGE SKILLS SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY INFANT?

Children at this age...

  • Confidence that their first language is valued and that communication has meaning
  • An increasing capacity to successfully communicate their feelings, needs, and wants through sounds, facial expressions, and body movements.
  • Explore their world through people, images, objects, languages, sounds, smells, and tastes
  • Have a playful interest in repetitive sounds and words (e.g. rhythm, thyme)
  • Responsive and Reciprocal communication skills starting with watching/listening, mimicking adults and developing from babbling into words.
  • Increasing skill in understanding of non-verbal messages, including the ability to understand and make non-verbal requests.

WHAT LITERACY AND LANGUAGE SKILLS SHOULD I EXPECT FROM TODDLER?

Children at this age...

  • A beginning to understand that symbols/pictures can be "read" by others, and that thoughts, experiences, and ideas can be represented through gestures, signs, words, pictures, print, numbers, sounds, shapes, models, facial, expression, and photographs.
  • Will help turn pages in book when being read
  • Utilize language skills in real, play, and problem-solving contexts (e.g. while reading a book, singing, requesting desired items, and re-enacting everyday routines)
  • Increasing communication skills for complex purposes (negotiating, predicting, planning, reasoning, storytelling)

Sources

Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infant and Toddler Programs
Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families