Speak and read to your baby
Six videos will be launched today, Thursday 3rd February, encouraging parents to speak and read with their babies from birth. These short videos titled, Small Steps to Literacy, will launch on the Vimeo channel of Kildare Library Service and the websites of County Kildare LEADER Partnership and Wicklow Library Service.
The videos are available in English, Romanian and Czech Roma. They offer suggestions for parents on how best to support language development, appropriate to the ages of children between;
birth – 1 year, 1 – 3 years and 3 – 5years old.
It is this language development which in turn supports the necessary skills for reading when children are older.
The videos have been compiled by 14 organisations supporting families in Kildare and Wicklow collaborating and working together.
Speaking and reading with children from birth is encouraged because of the rich evidence highlighting improved vocabulary acquisition, reading skills and cognitive skills among children who were read to in infancy and early years against those who didn’t receive this start in life.
Library membership is free in Ireland, so parents do not need to buy a lot of books, go to the library, and borrow them instead. Parents who are keen to do their best for their child can invest in them by speaking and playing with words as well reading to them every day. In cases where parents are not confident about their own literacy skills, story telling using picture books without words provides multiple benefits. In fact if a parent is creating a story from a picture books this develops imagination and creativity in the child.
Annette Kearns, lecturer in Maynooth University, specialising in early language and literacy development says;
“Young children need writing to help them learn about reading, they need reading to help them learn about writing; but they need oral language to help them learn about both – so keep talking with your child.”