Prep: None / Activity Time: 1-3 Minutes

Babies begin to pay attention to the sounds of speech as soon as they can hear your voice. When we talk to babies, we instinctively exaggerate words, slow down our speech and elevate the pitch of the words we use. By varying the rhythm of our speech, we can help babies distinguish between different speech sounds or syllables in words and even identify where one word ends and the next word begins.

Your voice!

Step 1: Pick a routine from your day that involves something your baby needs, such as a clean diaper, a bottle or a pacifier.

Step 2: Play the game: “Who needs? You need!” Use real words to describe the items you are using during your routine to build vocabulary.

Step 3:  Change the rhythm of your voice as you say the words slowly in some sentences and quickly in others. This will help your baby listen to the different sounds and syllables that make up words. For example, you might say this slowly:

Who needs a clean dia…perand then say this quickly: You need a clean diaper!

Or you might say this slowly: Who needs a bot…tleand then say this quickly: You need a bottle!

Find more easy at-home activities to help build your baby's pre-reading skills, or find a recommended children's book to read with your infant.