When you think about reading with your little ones, remember that reading happens outside of traditional books, too! In fact, really important literacy development happens when children “read” and see adults reading a variety of print types— street signs, menus, directions, safety warnings… These all help children develop important literacy skills!
For infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, consider making your own picture book with photos of your child, his or her relatives, and special friends and places. We bought this fabric photo book from Lakeshore Learning when our oldest was less than a year old, and more than 4 years later it’s still going strong. As the girls got older and their worlds expanded, we kept this photo album going with updated pictures of relatives, but we also bought an affordable 50-photo album from the drug store that we filled with photos of family and friends.
Not sure if your kiddo will go for this? The simple Lakeshore Learning album, which holds 9 photos, occupied our 13-month-old for 45 minutes straight on a cross-country flight! Just the other day, our almost-3-year-old looked at the larger photo book for almost 30 minutes straight when I found it in a drawer I was cleaning out.
Yes, your kids will have fun scrolling through the same pictures on your phone, but they will be missing out on literacy skills like left to right and top to bottom reading, how to hold a book, which way to turn pages, storytelling and sequencing, and the fact that actual books can be fun. As you put your photo book together, take some time to label the pictures (the Lakeshore album came with labels, and we simply used washi tape in the other album) with names and places, and voila— you’re introducing print concepts, proper nouns, and captions, too! A good friend tells me that she also uses Pinhole Press to make board books for her children, nieces, and nephews, though I’ve never used that company myself.
(This post is in no way sponsored by Lakeshore Learning, and the links are not affiliate links. I’m just a huge fan of this photo book!)