Young children are all "pre-readers" who pick up clues about reading from their environment. This is great news for parents — you already have everything you need to help your child succeed. Two-year-olds have exploding vocabularies and are eager to explore their world with you. Every time you read to and talk with your two-year-old, you build their early literacy skills. As children's author Emilie Buchwald wrote, "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
Literacy Helping Your Two-Year-Old Become a Reader
Simple ways to help your child build reading skills:
Read to Your Child
Reading aloud to kids is "the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading," according to a landmark study. When kids sit next to a caring adult and hear engaging stories, they develop positive associations with books and build their vocabulary and comprehension skills. For helpful hints about how to make the most out of read-aloud time, click here.
Something Special for Dad
Daniel is sending a letter to his Dad to show him how much he loves him. Your child can read along with this interactive storybook as Daniel describes how he made and sent the letter.Play This Game
Keep Books in Easy Reach
Make it easy for your child to explore books. Keep a basket of books at kid level or in a "book bag" in the car for kids to flip through on rides. Place a couple of books at the foot of the bed for your child to look at first thing in the morning. Make a small reading corner or nook for your child — something as simple as a few pillows, soft blanket and a stack of library books. In other words, make books an ordinary and essential fixture in your home.
Daniel Tiger's Day & Night
Daniel Tiger is learning about morning and bedtime routines! In this app, your child can play and practice brushing teeth, listening to a story and song, getting dressed and eating breakfast with Daniel.Play This Game
Fill Your Home with Letters
To help young children become comfortable with letters, keep a few alphabet sets around the house that your child can touch and manipulate, such as alphabet blocks, foam letters for the bathtub, ABC puzzles, magnetic refrigerator letters, alphabet board books or letter stamps.
Cookie Monster's Alphabet Soup
Cookie Monster loves alphabet soup! Your child can make simple words from noodle letters and sound them out with Cookie Monster in this click-along game.Play This Game
Play "What Else?"
Before kids recognize letters, they can recognize sounds that make up words. Play simple games to help children hear how the beginning of a word sounds. This can be as simple as saying, "I like ba-ba-ba-bananas and ba-ba-ba-baseball. What else begins with ba-ba-ba?"
Duck is swimming around his pond looking for WordThings. Your child can explore the pond with duck to find the words.Play This Game
Finish That Rhyme
Nursery rhymes aren't just catchy — they are amazing tools for helping kids recognize rhyme and "end sounds." Here are a few rhymes to teach your child:
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Hickory, Dickory Dock
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Baa, Baa Black Sheep
- Humpty Dumpty
- Hey Diddle Diddle
- Jack and Jill
After your child is familiar with a few rhymes, pause when you get to the final word in a line and let your child finish it. For example: "Hickory, dickory _____; The mouse ran up the _______."
You can put a new twist on a classic game with this fun I-Spy rhyming game. Can your child find something in the room that rhymes frog?Do This Activity
Be a Role Model
Finally, don't forget to be a reader and writer yourself. One of the most effective ways to help children become readers and writers is to show them through your own example that you value literacy — and that reading and writing have useful purposes. Keep books and writing materials in the home, and talk to your child about what you are doing when you read and write.
My Very Own Birthday Party Book
In this fun birthday craft, you can help your child find, draw, and label parts of a birthday party to assemble into a book.Do This Activity
Raise a Reader with Sesame Street
On this very special street, children learn early language and literacy skills such as letter knowledge, vocabulary, and reading and writing fundamentals.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Two-Year-Old
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There are so many characters in a fairytale story! Your child can draw pictures of fairytale characters, like Rapunzel and the Three Little Pigs, and then use those pictures to play a memory game.
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PBS Parents Play & Learn
Designed specifically with parents in mind, this app provides more than a dozen math and literacy games that parents can play with their kids. Each game builds on the natural curiosity of children and is themed around a familiar location like the garden or grocery store.
Super Why! ABC Adventures
Your child can go on an around the world, ABC adventure with the characters from Super Why! With each game hosted by a different Super Reader, your child will be introduced to uppercase and lowercase letters and their names, the order of the alphabet, common letter sounds and writing letters in fun and exciting ways!
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In this game from Martha Speaks, your child can practice listening skills by carefully listening to Martha's radio and then picking 5 pictures that match the theme.