Building a Love of Literacy at Every Age

Foster a lifelong love of reading and writing with these tips.

All children develop at their own pace, but here are some tips to build a love of reading and writing at every age.

Zero- to two-year-olds

  • Read aloud together every day. It’s never too early! Babies may want to play with the pages while toddlers may want you to read the same story over and over again. Point to and name the pictures.
  • Point out and read words all around you. They’re everywhere—on street signs, storefronts, cereal boxes, and magazines.
  • Encourage them to scribble freely. Over time, you can give your child a chunky crayon. He’ll be delighted to see that he can use it to scribble on paper!

Two- and three-year-olds

  • Listen and respond lovingly to what toddlers say.
  • Point to and name letters, words, and objects around you.
  • Make up fun songs using rhyming words and melodies.
  • Allow them to read the same book over and over.
  • Motivate them to draw or scribble and tell you about what they’ve drawn.

Three- and four-year-olds

  • Keep writing supplies handy.
  • Explain new words in stories.
  • Play with rhyming words.
  • Write down the stories they tell about their drawings and read them together.
  • Begin visiting the library regularly.

Four- and five-year-olds

  • Label things with their names and help them write their own names.
  • Help them recognize the letters in their names, and point them out when you see them in books or on signs.
  • Encourage them to tell their own stories. You can write them down and invite them to draw pictures to go with the words. Then you can read them again and again together.
  • Point out letters and words in signs.
  • Get them their own library card.