5 Ways to Create a Literacy-Rich Environment for Infants and Toddlers


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Photo courtesy of Bluedog Studio/Shutterstock.com

Infants and toddlers have several years to develop literacy skills that will make them successful in school. Take advantage of this time.

Rachel Porter, director of Educational and Career Initiatives for the Triangle Literacy Council, suggests children develop literacy skills early on.

“That very early time of infancy and toddler age is when a lot of those brain connections are being made and where language awareness is being developed,” she says.

Here are five practical tips for creating a literacy-rich environment for your infant or toddler:

1. Include books in the environment. Julie Justice, an assistant professor of education at Elon University and mom to a 5-year-old son, made a practice of leaving board books in her son’s bed so there was always something for him to read when he woke up.

“There were days when he could sit and read alone for 45 minutes when he woke up from a nap just because there was a book sitting there waiting for him,” she says.

2. Read books aloud. “Even very little babies with very short attention spans can be read to,” Porter says. Reading aloud to infants, if only for a few minutes, will help develop their print and language awareness.

“From about 6 months to 2½, we did three books a night,” Justice says. “I was very careful and thoughtful about those three books. And the three books were in this order: a new book, the book from last week and the book from the week before. And we would read the same three books every night for a week and then the oldest book would rotate off and then the new book would come in.”

In addition to developing vocabulary, this activity helps kids learn about text permanence and develop content knowledge.

“I wanted him to develop expertise with particular books so that he knew them well,” Justice says. She also suggests that when kids start selecting books for reading time, it’s important to validate their choices.

3. Make different text types visible. Justice helped her son learn his ABCs by singing the alphabet song and walking around his room, pointing to the 26, 11-inch-tall vinyl letters on his wall. Decorations that were specifically for babies, including books and photos in plastic frames, were placed no more than 2 feet above the floor.

4. Encourage writing. “We’ve always had a writing area,” Justice says. Magna Doodles, whiteboards, chalkboards, window markers for mirrors or stickers can go in these writing areas.

5. “Play books.” Teacher-inspired centers are also really easy to set up, Justice says. She took a book her son liked and then set it up along with several toys and stuffed animals that related to the book.

“We have always played books,” Justice says. “I would always set it up as sort of a provocation to where there’s a book, but there’s also all the little toys that can go with it.”

She and her son would play with the props as they read the book. She recommends having costumes available and making sure “playing the books” becomes a regular activity.

As you set up a literacy-rich environment for your child, remember to spend some time reading yourself, too. Children need to think of reading as a fun, enjoyable experience, and parents have the opportunity to serve as early models of reading for their children.

“Another thing parents can do is let their child see them enjoying reading and see them reading on a daily basis,” Porter says.

Literacy Resources for Infants and Toddlers

Please visit the following resources and/or your local library for more information about supporting your child’s literacy development:

“More Than Baby Talk: 10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers” by Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Ph.D., and Kathleen Cranley Gallagher, Ph.D.

Triangle Literacy Council: triangleliteracy.org

Milestones of Early Literacy Development at the Reach Out & Read website: reachoutandread.org/resource-center/literacy-materials/literacy-milestones

Kathryn Caprino is a professor and freelance writer who lives in Gainesville, Florida.

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Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Class Description One day event, July 1st, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm If you've never knit before or need a quick review of how to cast on, knit and cast off, this is the perfect class. We'll knit a...

Cost: $18

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Class Description Prior registration/payment required. One day workshop. In this class, we will learn one of the basic rhythms that defines flamenco dance: bulerias, a twelve-count beat. We will...

Cost: $12

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Drop in on a Wednesday evening between May 13 and July 1 (8-9:30 p.m.) for a supportive, inclusive, empowering virtual session for parents from prenatal through about 12 months. We'll facilitate a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Zoom
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Area Parenting Support
Telephone: 984-464-1601
Contact Name: Leigh Greene
Website »

More information

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HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Sign your children up for a WILD adventure! North Carolina Zoo is excited to offer Online Summer Camps as a way for kids to learn about animals and their natural environment while staying socially...

Cost: $30 - $80

Where:
VIRTUAL
, NC


Sponsor: North Carolina Zoo
Telephone: 336-879-7700
Contact Name: North Carolina Zoo
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Have a child that misses seeing peers? Hard to keep him/her motivated and learning at home? If your child likes art, join our LIVE art class. Use any supplies available at home, and follow our...

Cost: 12/class

Where:
Zoom Online
RALEIGH, NC


Sponsor: KidzArt North Raleigh
Telephone: 919-271-0710
Contact Name: Chen Jiang
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Thursday evenings are for music and outdoor adventure at the USNWC, and the River Jam Run is a great way to enjoy both. Kick off the evening with 1.5 mile, 3 mile, or 6 mile group run through our...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Race Director
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

●      Antonin Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” ●      Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Avanti! Inspired by American dreams and legends, Dvořák created some of his greatest...

Cost: Free

Where:
Boone, NC  28608


Sponsor: An Appalachian Summer Festival
Telephone: 828-262-4046
Contact Name: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers and are exempt from the Governor's Stay at Home Order (page 6). Farmers markets offer an efficient way for residents to...

Cost: free

Where:
Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Farmers Market Coordinator
Telephone: 919-567-4010
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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