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Parents celebrate all kinds of milestones in their children’s lives. First steps, first words, and first foods, for example. One of the greatest things to experience as a parent is watching your children read their first words. Getting there, however, starts earlier than you’d think.
According to the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation (CCLF), developing early literacy skills is essential in setting your kids up for success in school. These skills also teach empathy and perspective, effective communication, and emotional and social resilience.
Nina J. Shukla, the director of the CCLF’s Early Words program, is also a registered speech-language pathologist with 15 years of experience. She says creating a language-rich environment for children starts at birth.
“That means engaging in early literacy activities,” she says. “Talking with them, being with them, and sharing books with them. That builds a language-rich environment and builds their language skills, which will help them grow up ready and with the foundational skills to learn how to read.”