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Early Literacy: Babies Need Words Everyday

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Early Literacy: Babies Need Words Everyday

Early Literacy: Babies Need Words Everyday

Young children need to hear lots of words to develop their vocabulary and language skills. One study suggests that children growing up in poverty hear about 30 million fewer words than those from more privileged backgrounds (Hart, Betty; Risley, Todd R. (1995). Another study suggests that children who are not read to at home hear one million less words compared to children who are read to on a regular basis. (Logan, J. A., Justice, L. M., & *Chaparro-Moreno, L. J. (2019).

These studies may not agree on the amount of words in the word gap, but they do agree that there is a gap between children who are read to and talked to on a regular basis and those who are not so fortunate.

Here are some ways to build your child’s literacy skills from The Association for Library Service to Children:

  • Read or recite a rhyme aloud to your baby. Your baby learns words from the rich language.
  • Read to your child every day. It’s okay if your baby gets restless. You can finish the book later.
  • When you walk from place to place with your child and talk about things you see, your child learns new words.
  • Ask your baby lots of questions and respond to the answers. The more words you use, the more words your child will know.

Sing to your baby daily; it’s okay if you’re not a good singer! Your baby thinks your voice is the most beautiful sound in the world and they learn sounds from you.

For more insights on reading and literacy, check out a library storytime in person, online via our YouTube channel, @CitrusLibrariesDigital, or stop by a branch to see one of our Youth Librarians. You can also visit our website at, or follow us @CitrusLibraries on Facebook or Instagram for more information.

Debbie Robitaille
Youth Services Librarian at Homosassa Branch

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