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Child Development Tracker

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Supporting Activities

Reading & Language

Follow these tips to encourage a love of reading from the start. Babies are Ready for Books

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day helps build literacy skills. Try these read-aloud concept books for babies.

One-year-olds enjoy nursery rhymes and books with single pictures of familiar and related items. They may name pictures in books read to them. They have no awareness of print at this age, and no specific knowledge of alphabet letters as a distinct group of graphic patterns. They enjoy experimenting with marks and scribbles on a surface, but have no understanding of the use of marks as "writing."

Phonological Awareness (awareness of sounds)

  • Enjoys nursery rhymes and imitates various sounds made by adults (e.g., boo-boo; goo-goo; moo-moo; beep-beep). Also, makes sounds associated with animals and vehicles (e.g., moo-moo, baaa baaa, beep beep, choo choo).

  • Developing an awareness of sounds can be stimulated by face-to-face language play with adults during infancy.

Book Knowledge and Appreciation

  • Looks at books and inspects pictures. Holds a book right side up based on knowledge of the proper positions for objects pictured.

  • Most children this age have a short attention span for stories and are easily distracted. They enjoy books of nursery rhymes, and books with single pictures of familiar and related items (e.g., toys, clothes, animals). By the end of this year, many children interact with simple picture books by naming pictures that have been named repeatedly for them.

  • By late in this year, some children may jabber, as if reading, while they turn pages in a familiar book. Their "reading" style accurately captures the tone of voice and stress on words that adults have when reading the book.

  • May name pictures as adults come to these in books they share.

  • By the end of this year, many children label pictures when asked, "What's that?" Some children may comment when asked, "What happened?" or "What is _______ doing?"

  • Interest and enjoyment of books is highly variable, depending on availability of books and whether adults spend time sharing these with children in positive ways.

Print Awareness and Concepts

  • Does not show awareness of print at this age.


  • Makes circular, continuous scribbles, with occasional straight lines added. Draws straight lines at times that stand by themselves, beside and/or on top of one another. Experiments sometimes by drawing a mixture of lines, often with each placed on top of those placed earlier.

  • Has no understanding of use of marks as "writing." Children simply experiment with making marks on a surface, such as paper. At this age, what and how children write is limited by the immature fine motor skills in the hand, and a lack of knowledge of letter shapes.

  • Makes marks anywhere and everywhere. Has no awareness of the organization of writing vs. drawing (i.e., linear versus amorphous).

  • Has no understanding of the uses and formats of writing at this age.

  • Has no written word creation strategies.

Alphabet Knowledge

  • Has no specific knowledge of alphabet letters as a distinct group of graphic patterns. How quickly a child acquires this knowledge is influenced greatly by how much experience the child has with looking at and examining graphic patterns in the world around him or her. This experience lays the foundation for learning later that some of these patterns have symbolic functions that communicate meaning.

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