Essential Instructional Practices in Language and Emergent Literacy: Birth to Age 3


The purpose of this document is to increase Michigan's capacity to improve children's literacy by identifying a small set of research-supported literacy practices that should be a focus of professional development throughout the state. The focus of the document is on practices in individual interactions with children, rather than on center- or systems-level practices. The document focuses on infants and toddlers, as the first 3 years of life are when children learn the fastest and acquire the foundational skills that will support their development and learning for the rest of their lives. Improving language and literacy experiences in the infant and toddler years has the potential to improve "reading by third grade" outcomes. Early childhood programs can also help to address disparities in literacy achievement. 

Language and Literacy for Littles and Loved Ones

Literacy starts early. Did you know you can support your child’s future reading and writing before they can even talk? 
Babies come into the world ready to learn. Everything young children learn about communication, language, books, and printed words on their way to formal reading and writing is part of emergent literacy. Find out what you can do to build a strong literacy foundation for your child in the first three years of life. 
Families have literacy superpowers. Do you know the many ways you already support your child’s language and emergent literacy? 
It doesn’t take flash cards, tablets, or fancy books. There are many ways you support language and emergent literacy in your everyday interactions with your baby or toddler. Whether you know it or not, you have literacy superpowers. Use the Michigan Language and Literacy for Littles and Loved Ones to discover yours, and build more! 

Literacy starts early. You can start now! 

This document is intended to be read in concert with the Essential Instructional Practices in Early and Elementary Literacy: Prekindergarten. There is important overlap and continuity in these and other "Essentials" documents.

Practitioner Materials

Materials for Families

Materials for TELL Training