Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Narrate As You Go

As you go about your regular errands with your child in tow, be sure to point out to her when you are using your reading and writing skills. It is almost like thinking aloud. Instead of silently reading a list of ingredients in a supermarket food product, read them aloud. Point out that you are writing your signature on a credit card receipt. You do these thing automatically but all of this is new to your young child, and exposes her to instances of everyday literacy. Don't be afraid to use your regular vocabulary in her presence, either. When you talk about errands, ingredients, comparison shopping, or exorbitant gas prices, you are exposing your child to these concepts, and stretching her vocabulary. Don't forget that your ho-hum, routine activities are novel for your child, and offer an ideal opportunity to increase her knowledge of the ways of the world.


  1. This is a great post - I often forget to use "big words" and not just simple, baby words with my kids.

    Following you as well!

  2. I know! It is easy to lapse into baby talk, but so not necessary or helpful.There are so many easy and natural ways to help build vocabulary.

  3. Hey there. New follower here.
    If you get a chance, please stop by and check out my new book blog.


  4. Wonderful blog ~ Wonderful photos ~ I read to my son starting at 6 months and today he is an avid reader ~ thanks for sharing ~ visiting from Blog Frog ^_^

  5. I had my 9-month-old daughter along when we went to have the car inspected. As was my wont, we "chatted" about why we were here, what we were doing, etc. When I got to the head of the line, the inspector asked why I was wasting my time talking to someone who couldn't possibly understand me. I was surprised, and I hope I responded that I was teaching her to talk, although 35 years later, all I remember is the surprise. Lynn Kloss

  6. Great post. Just talking to children can work wonders.


  7. You are so right about the 'regular vocabulary', it really does make a difference to the range of words and phrases a child will use. After all, if they don't hear a range of words they can't use them. Loved the post. Learned a few new things to do. Thanks
    Following from blop hop weekend.

  8. Great post! Talking to our children like you explain is very important. It takes a little effort, but it is so worth it. Thanks for the reminder!
    I read the comment from Anonymous. Wow, I can't believe someone would ask a person why are you wasting your time talking to your 9 month old. The commenter said this happened 35 years ago, but I bet it still happens today.


What I think . . .

There are all kinds of readers. Some—like my daughter and me—are never without a book to read for pleasure. Others—like my son—are careful, analytical, and curious readers who read primarily to seek information from the page.

No matter what kind of reader your child becomes, you can help him or her get started. After all, you are your child’s first teacher. And, best of all, you can have some fun in the process.

Please feel free to share your own ideas. Tell me about ways you've enjoyed reading with your child.

Madeline Boskey, Ph.D.