Reading and vocabulary go hand in hand – one can improve the other, and vice versa. How fortunate that reading and talking to your baby is so easy! Little ones learn words at an amazing rate. The more words he learns now, the more he will be able to express and understand (spoken and written) later in life.
As children grow, they start to realize that words stand for actual things (symbolism). For example, when you sing a song to baby that labels their toes, tummy, and head (have you been tuning in to our Babytime storytime?), and you touch those parts simultaneously, you are teaching baby that those things on her feet are called “toes,” that middle part is her “tummy,” and the part she can’t even see is her “head.” The sounds d-o-g stand for that thing running around with a tail and four legs… not to be confused with c-a-t, that other thing running around with a tail and four legs!
Studies show that the vocabulary used in children’s books is more likely to introduce children to new words and concepts than everyday conversation will. This doesn’t mean we dumb down our words to speak to our children; it just means there are lots of big words out there that we don’t use very often! Reading to your child builds up their vocabulary, which they do by hearing a word and recognizing the symbolism (what that word represents) - even if only in pictures.
In turn, having a wide and varied vocabulary will help them become a fluent reader! If your child has never heard of a crocodile, they’re going to have a hard time associating that word with the picture on the page – or sounding out that word when it comes time to read. The more words and concepts they know, the more prepared they are for reading about them.