Birth - Age 3 Reading

How Can I Help My Child At Home?


  • Introduce books to your baby as early as you can
  • Recite nursery rhymes and sing songs
  • Let your child explore cloth, board, or soft bath book, which are good for gumming and chewing
  • Follow your child's lead for how to read the book
  • When you read, point out pictures to help them understand what they are
  • Begin a regular reading routine
  • Play games like "Where is your nose? Where is your foot?"
  • When your baby is playing with toys, label the toys and what they are doing
  • Do not worry about correcting how your child says words or their grammar
  • Repeat the words that your baby says and add to them


  • Recite nursery rhymes and sing songs
  • Play social games. Click here for specific social games and ideas. Toddler Games
  • Identify and label common signs and symbols in your daily environment (e.g. common street signs, fast food symbols, and building signs)
  • Play "I spy" or "I see" games (i.e. "I see a ... chair. Do you see a chair?")
  • Share numerous types of books (predictable text, rhyming, animals, vehicles, alphabet, shapes, sizes, and simple stories)
  • Model and provide opportunities to scribble or draw on paper


Make sharing books part of every day
Create a home environment in which reading, writing, talking, and listening are a routine and natural part of daily life. Identify and develop a space where books and writing materials can be stored and easily accessed. Establish a regular time in the day to share, read, and explore books. During this time, support and encourage your child's reading and writing exploration by acknowledging their efforts by responding through comments, questions, and praise.


Model a literacy rich environment "I know this word"
In addition to having books and writing materials in your everyday environment, it is also beneficial to allow your child to observe you reading and writing in your daily life.

Allow your child to observe you reading a newspaper and writing a shopping list. While reading think out loud and share your thoughts by saying, "I like reading about exercise". While writing think out loud and share your thoughts by saying, "I am writing a list of items for the store today, we need milk,..."


Talk together Talking to baby
Talking or oral language is just an important as looking at text (books). As children listen to others talk they begin to develop a sense of language, which helps build their vocabulary, grammar skills, and comprehension.

Talk about your own family, pets or things happening in the community as they occur. Talk about familiar objects and how they are used. Use animation and gesture to make what you are sharing more interesting. You can also, provide opportunities for your toddler talk to talk to you. Children as young as three can memorize a story, and they enjoy being creative when retelling. The earlier and more that you talk to your child, the more vocabulary your child will develop and use.

While watching a parade, point to, and label all the animals that you see. Describe an animal and talk about what it is doing. You can use creative noises to engage your child and help create a back and forth social engagement. You could say "I see a horse. Neh, Neh, says the horse. He is a big animal! The horse wears horseshoes on his feet (hooves); they make lots of noise when he walks. Clop! Clop!" While talking, make eye contact with your child and then direct your attention to horse. Pause and provide time for your child to respond to your communication. Their response could be pointing, smiling, imitating the horse sound, labeling the horse, and even asking questions.

For more literacy information and activities, please visit Zero to Three or PBS Parents and click on your child's age group.


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