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What are speech, language, and literacy? Why are they important?

The first three years of a child's life are the most critical for speech and language development. That’s because a baby’s brain at this stage is best able to absorb language during this critical growth period. In this section, you’ll learn why speech and language play such an important role in your child’s development.

Boy being taught the Alphabets

Speech and language are critical components of literacy. Literacy includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening – and it’s the foundation of a child's learning process. Speech refers to the sounds we make that form words, while language refers to how we communicate with others, like talking and writing. The best way to build both of these skills and develop your child’s literacy is to talk, read, and sing with your child every day – from day one! Your baby loves listening to the tone and rhythm of your voice.

Looking at pictures in a book and listening to words – whether it’s through a story or a song – exposes your child to vocabulary, word use, and picture identification – all of which encourage language development.

By talking, reading, and singing with your child early and often, you will give your child a strong foundation for future learning that will help set him up for success in school – and in life!

Through their daily experiences, toddlers and preschoolers are learning new words every day – and now is the ideal time to continue building their budding vocabulary. Have conversations about your day, what you like, or whatever your imagination can think of. All conversations – and any exposure to language – can help your child develop his speech, language, and literacy skills.

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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