Literacy Stage: Birth to Age 3

Believe it or not, a foundation of language skills starts after birth.  The following list contains examples of what children at this stage can develop and learn. 

Most babies and toddlers should be able to:

  • respond to gestures and facial expressions
  • coo or babble sounds while lying down (this is the beginning of what eventually be rhyming and nonsense words with adults later on)
  • handle objects like alphabet blocks
  • recognize some books by their covers; understand how books should be handled
  • pretend to read books; name objects in a book or talk about the characters
  • read with an adult as part of their regular routine
  • ask adults to read or write with them
  • listen to stories (either told by an adult or from a media item)
  • scribble with a purpose (trying to write or draw something); beginning characteristics of letters
  • make sounds that imitate the tones/rhythms that adults make when talking
  • play along in games like “peek-a-boo” or “pat-a-cake” (also known by most as “patty cake”)
  • begin to associate words they hear frequently with a meaning
  • begin to notice specific print (e.g. the first letters of their name)
  • produce scribbles that resemble letters