Did you know you are your child’s first teacher? The development of early literacy skills is an essential activity for getting kids ready to be successful learners at school and in life.


It is never too early to start to talk, sing and read to your children. As well as developing important language skills, these activities help in forming early relationships between parents and infants. It provides opportunity to develop the senses (sight, touch, and hearing), explore emotion and makes the most of everyday routine.

Talking, singing and reading can be used as a way to explain new concepts to children, teach them about the world around them and develop imagination and creativity. We highly recommend that families visit Better Beginnings a State Library of Western Australia literacy programme that Canning partner. The program supports parents as their child’s first teacher as well as provides a valuable resource for families.

Reading

Let’s start with board books! Board books are hard wearing with chunky pages making it easy to babies to handle. They incorporate simple concepts, have little or no text and are generally colourful and engaging for little ones. When books are first introduced babies you can expect them to chew it, throw it, bang it, tear it and shake it. This is why board books are a great place to start.

With your help, over time children start to engage, learn to turn the pages, stop chewing, throwing, banging, tearing and shaking. From about 14 -24 months you can start selecting board or picture books with a sentence or two per page. Books that you can act out noises or ask your child questions are ideal, “can you see the dog? What noise does he make? Woof Woof”. Kids love repetition, you will notice that your child will return to favourite books and expect the same noises and questions during the story.

As your children grow so will their confidence in reading. Take hints from your child as to when it may be time to level up to new books with more complex stories.

Better Beginnings have developed some wonderful book lists for children 0-5 that are a great guide for families starting their reading journey. Through Better Beginnings, every baby in Western Australia also receives a free Better Beginnings reading pack. Depending on your child’s school, they may also receive a Kindergarten pack that includes a beautiful Australian picture book. 

Better Beginnings reading packs explained.
Ways to encouraging a love of books:
  • Read, Read, Read to your child every day!
  • Creating a reading nook or having a reading chair is lovely way to make reading special for your child. Including it as permeant feature of your home makes it a safe space for kids to enjoy a story.
  • Monkey see, Monkey do! Children love to imitate. If they are pretending to “read” they are still practicing the physical process of reading a book. Let them make up their own story to go with the pictures instead. 
  • Bring the book to life! Think about your voice, gestures, body language and facial expressions when reading together. Incorporate props, music and actions!
  • Not just for bedtime, offer books to you child during free play or come along to a Stories session at the library.
  • Write your own books at home! Using scrap paper, drawing, pictures from catalogues or leaves and flowers put a story in order of events and have your child read it to you.

Talking and Singing

Babies love the sound of their parent’s voices. So chat or sing to them about everything! Tell them where you are walking to, what you are cooking, what items of clothing you are dressing them in.
Why sing?
  • Singing helps bond children and caregivers.
  • It can be used to create routine such as having a bedtime song or a time to pack away toys or a time to wash your hands.
  • It helps concentration.
  • Develops imagination and creativity in kids.
  • Can help express emotions and develop communication skills.
  • Develops language skills and introduces new words and sounds.
  • Can be used as a learning tool – introducing new concepts like colours and numbers.
The list goes on….

Canning Libraries hold Rhymes sessions for parents/carers and babies regularly. Filled with songs and action rhymes this programme promotes early literacy in the home.
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