My work with Parents as Teachers (PAT) in recent years has
shown me that with encouragement and guidance parents,
even those with low skills, enjoy reading to their children,
and so jump starting their emerging literacy. PAT parent
educators promote reading to infants and toddlers to help
them become school ready. Here’s a checklist from the
Beginnings Parent’s Guide for child aged 16-18 months.
Use it in a reflective conversation with a parent about
supporting child development. When a parent checks most
of the boxes, she is giving her toddler a great gift, a taste
for learning. Praise her for being a good teacher.
It’s never too early or too late to start reading to a child
and encouraging them to “read” for fun. This is my
granddaughter Samantha at about 8 months . She spent
her first year in my office as a “Research Assistant”. Her
favorite book was the supplies catalog.
Are you Raising a Reader?
[ ] I read to my child in a special cozy place that he likes.
[ ] I show him pictures and ask questions that make him
think, like Where is the cat? Where is our cat?
[ ] I change my voice to show feelings. I make animal noises and
use a different voice for each actor in the story.
[ ] Baby enjoys the books we read. I let him choose. He likes to
read the same one over and over.
[ ] I watch how my child responds to the story and follow his lead.
He sets the pace and turns the pages.
[ ] I tie ideas in the story to things he knows and sees.
“There is a red ball just like yours.”
Are parents in your state reading to their little ones?
You can see what proportion of parents in your state read to their
children daily in Zero To Three’s Baby Facts. In my state, Washington,