What Every Parent Ought to Know About The ABC's of Reading
  • As the parent of a baby or toddler, it's never too early to start introducing your child to the joys of reading. Not only does reading open the doors to a lifetime of adventures, your child's word smarts will set her up for success in school.
  • Give your child the gift of increased intelligence by bringing the ABC's of reading into the home. 
  • Here's what you need to know to give your child a head start on reading:
Toys Provide a Foundation for Early Learning
There's a good reason why alphabet blocks are so popular: they're fun to play with and they help your child become familiar with numbers and letters. The path to literacy starts with the basics, and alphabet blocks serve as true building blocks.
Our colorful ABC play mat does the same. Its interlocking puzzle pieces feature bright letters and numbers, and they can be manipulated to form stacking blocks. Suitable for babies and toddlers, the play mat promotes pattern awareness as your child develops.
  • Your Actions Really Do Speak Louder than Words
    The benefits of early reading range from increased intelligence and self-confidence to providing youngsters with an activity you can feel good about while you take care of the business of running your home or business. While investing in educational toys and books is essential, you'll also need to set an example by:
  • -    Reading to your child
    -    Reading for your own personal enjoyment
    -    Pointing out familiar words
    -    Sharing your enthusiasm for learning new things via the written word
    -    Taking your child to the library often
  • Your child will learn to love what you love, so set a good example by demonstrating that you value reading. When he sees you deriving pleasure from reading a book, he'll want to do the same.
  • Your Words Speak Volumes, Too
    Reading is complicated. It's not just about learning the ABC's. It's also about identifying sounds and patterns and having a good vocabulary. Rather than using baby talk, use real words and enunciate them clearly. You may feel silly asking a 4-month-old if he'd like a bottle of milk rather than a ba-ba, but really, what's sillier?
    The goal is to create an environment rich in language and literacy. Do your part by talking to your baby and using sounds liberally. For example, when playing with alphabet toys, say the letter's name and then make the letter's sounds. "This is 'b.' It makes the buh sound."
    Have fun with words. For example, with a baby, you might play "where's your nose?" Say "here's my nose" and touch your nose. Ask "where's your nose" and touch her nose. See what you're doing here? You're having fun with your baby and teaching her vocabulary!
It Only Takes About 10 Minutes Per Day to Teach Your Child Word Smarts
Increased intelligence doesn't happen overnight; it happens over time. Plan on actively focusing on the ABC's of early reading for just 10 minutes each day.
Ideas for early reading activities include:
-    Tummy time for infants on the ABC play mat
-    Playtime with alphabet blocks
-    Reading aloud to your baby or toddler
-    Looking at picture books
-    Drawing or finger painting letters
-    Labeling objects
-    Playing a rhyming game
-    Singing an alphabet song
-    Playing with word puzzles
-    Going to the library
As you go about your day, you'll notice early reading opportunities all around. Take advantage of them! When driving to the store, you might point to a stop sign and say, "Do you know what that sign says? That sign says 'stop.'"
These simple steps take minimal effort on your part, yet they're contributing to your child's understanding of the written word -- and the world at large. If you want your little one to grow into an intelligent, academically successful student, investing in raising print and phonemic awareness, pattern and letter recognition, and basic early reading concepts is time and money well spent.
Your child's future literacy is in your hands. Starting early will give her an academic advantage in preschool, kindergarten, and beyond. Get more tips by subscribing to our newsletter and get a discount code worth 30 percent off our ABC play mat as our thanks for subscribing.