By the time children from low-income families have reached the age of four, they have heard 30 million fewer words than their more economically-advantaged peers. This word gap has a profound effect on a child’s ability to succeed in school and later in life.
Alachua County Library District is working to close this gap in our community by participating in the Association for Library Service to Children’s campaign, “Babies Need Words Every Day.” This campaign supports language learning through talking, singing, reading, and playing with your baby. You’ll find posters with early literacy tips above changing tables at our branches and booklists for babies on our website and at your local library branch.
By the time babies are one year old, they have learned all of the sounds they will need to speak their language. Talking to your baby will help her to build a rich vocabulary. As you go about your day, talk to your baby about the things you see and do.
Singing to your baby is an excellent way to help your baby learn the sounds and rhythms of language. Songs and nursery rhymes slow down language and separate it into meaningful units. Think of how the melody and rhythm of rhymes such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” work to make individual sounds distinct.
Reading to your baby stimulates imagination and helps to develop her vocabulary, memory, listening skills, comprehension, and knowledge of the world. By reading to your baby at an early age, she will associate books with the things she loves, specifically the sound of your voice and closeness to you. By spending time reading with your baby, even if for only a few minutes a day, she will learn that reading is an important, worthwhile, and fun skill to learn.
The Library District has much to offer babies and their caregivers through programming and access to materials. While no two baby programs are the same, they are often comprised of nursery rhymes, songs, fingerplays, books, and sign language for babies. These programs also give caregivers a space to meet up and share their experiences, while their babies can play and interact with each other. After the programs, or whenever you visit, library staff will be happy to help you find materials to share with your baby, including board books, picture books, early literacy DVDs, music CDs, and our new sensory toys. Check out our booklists below for great books to share with your baby!