Songs, Rhymes, Bounces
Encouraging Early Literacy in Babies

You can encourage the 6 early literacy skills in babies with the 5 early literacy practices. Here are some examples:

Read lots of books together, especially nursery rhymes and poems. These rhymes can contain a whole story.
Encourage your child to become familiar with books; let babies hold them and touch them. Board books have big sturdy pages that are great for small, curious hands. You can also use cloth books or bath books.
Let your child hold the books and other objects when they are able to. Holding items helps them develop the motor control they will later need for holding a pencil.

Play with toys that are different shapes, such as blocks, balls, or puzzles.
Share books that babies can touch and hold, or have flaps, mirrors, or textures that are exciting for them.
Sing the alphabet song to your baby.
Make up a song about what you are doing! Singing naturally slows down words and makes it easier for babies to tell the differences between sounds.
Speak in 'parentese,' using a higher tone and a slower pace than your regular voice.
Describe what you're doing as you do it.
Talk as if you were having a conversation with your baby, even when they can't understand you.

Other Resources

Infant Activity Calendar - Alberta Health Services
Centre for Family Literacy - Resources for Parents
Zero to Three: Early Literacy and Language Tips and Tools
Caring for Kids: Read, speak, sing to your baby: How parents can promote literacy from birth
Canadian Paediatric Society - Read, Speak, Sing video