One day, Grace came up to me and said; "Mommy, I'm a chatterbox." I responded with "Yes, you are." Then I thought, where did she learn the word chatterbox?!
At just over two years old, Grace started putting together 11-12 word sentences. I thought this was normal until everyone told me that she is really advanced for her age and she really knows a lot of words. I did some research and learned at two years old, most children know about 200 words and puts together 2-3 word sentences. Whoa. She does 11-12 word sentences and knows at least 400 words. That is when I knew Grace was really advanced with her literacy.
Friends started to ask me what I did to help her and I always told them with the disclaimer I do not know anything about early childhood learning and didn't do anything research. I just did things that made sense to me and quite frankly out of boredom to start. Here is what I think I did that helped Grace with her literacy skills:
2 MONTHS OLD
I started reading stories to her. I got through ten Curious George books in one month, three times. I knew she had no idea what I was reading but I was really bored at home and didn't know what to do with my time during the day.. (Daytime tv sucks and I didn't have Netflix yet.) I also wanted to revisit or learn about some books I didn't have a chance to read as a child. The biggest thing I learned is that Curious George is a huge brat.
6 MONTHS OLD
I started to read books that were a little bit more simple and I read 2-3 books every night. There were only four books on rotation. I did this for a while and she seemed to really enjoy the routine. I read somewhere it is important to have a routine so I thought incorporating some reading was a good idea.
8 MONTHS OLD
Still working on the same four books, I changed it up by identifying the objects and people in them. Once in a while, I would also ask her where is the ball? To my surprise, she was able to answer me most of the time. That was when I realized she is learning and retaining a lot more information than I thought.
10 MONTHS OLD
Have quite a collection of books by now and have created a reading area in my office for her. There are also books in her bedroom on the shelf and bedside table; in the living room, in the bathroom, in her play area, and in my car. There were literally books all over the place because I wanted them around her so she knows this is a great alternative to picking up a toy.
On average, we read about 10 books a day. In the morning when she wakes up, during the day, and before bed. As she got older, we asked her more and more questions about the books we were reading. We asked her to identify objects/people, identify shapes and colors, and describe what the characters were doing. I remember asking her so many questions one time, she said: "No, mommy. Read." Oops. Got it.
24 MONTHS OLD
After reading a book at night, I would ask her to read one to me. Obviously, she wasn't reading but I wanted to see if she understood what was happening in the story. She started off telling me things she knew for sure was right, then she started to tell me more, and then she started adding to the story. This was fine because she was using her imagination and I loved that.
27 MONTHS OLD
I went back to the four books originally on rotation. These books had short sentences and I thought there is a chance of her remembering the story or "reading" them. I was absolutely right. Each night after I read the book, she would read me the book back. Most of the time, she got the exact wording correct.
29 MONTHS OLD
She might be able to remember certain books from memory but she is starting to tell me exactly what a specific page in a book says. I highly doubt she is reading. Regardless, with easier books, I read slower so she can join in if she chooses. I have also introduced longer books to see if she will stay engaged. So far so good.
Not sure what I will do next but totally doing this by what I feel is right and what might help her.