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How can parents and caregivers promote early learning?

A child's mind is a blank page, and a child's home, family, and daily life substantially affect the child's ability to learn. Parents and caregivers are the child's first teachers, and every day is filled with opportunities to help the child learn.

· Pointing out and talking with your child about the names, colours, shapes, numbers, sizes, and quantities of objects in his or her environment.

· Listening and responding to your child as he or she learns to communicate is essential.

· Practicing counting together is an excellent activity.

Caregiver's task is very demanding, but reading is a wonderful way to expand a child's world and create a bond between children and caregivers. In addition, reading helps to gain the language and literacy skills needed for a good start in school.

Here are a few strategies to engage your child and promote reading every day:

  • For infants, develop early language skills by repeating babies' babbles and coos and smiling back, showing that you hear their sounds. Also, talk to babies with words, pausing to allow them to learn about the structure of conversations. Board and cloth books are made to withstand babies' touching and chewing; let them explore.

  • Some toddlers request to read the same book over and over again. It is good as they get familiarized with words. Remember to point to pictures and text as you read. Ask open-ended questions to the child (who, what, where, when, and why) as it will allow talking about the book and encourage the child to tell what pictures indicate in the book.

  • Reading for preschoolers must include predictable books. Do remember to pause in your reading. This way, they will get familiarized with the word or rhyme. Ask children about their favorite parts of the book or what they think will happen next in a story.

  • Reading for kindergarteners and first graders must include stories they can explain in their own words and connect them to their own lives. The reading can be done from magazines, fiction, and nonfiction books. Age-appropriate websites can also help children develop an interest in the world to support reading comprehension.

  • For second and third-graders, it is essential to listen to them read aloud and have them reread paragraphs if they have trouble pronouncing them. Be patient as they learn, and let them know you're proud of their effort. With struggles in vocabulary, encourage the child to use a dictionary or thesaurus to learn about new words they hear and discuss with them what they read.

Reading frequently with children also is an excellent way to notice early whether they are having worrisome difficulties, so you can discuss concerns with their teachers and request additional help if needed.


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