A new report from Growing up in Scotland (GUS) shows toddlers who are regularly read to and involved in lots of activities from an early age develop quicker.

Children’s Minister Adam Ingram said that simple bedtime stories or games in the park make a huge difference to young children’s development and parents don’t have to spend lots of money on expensive toys and hobbies to give their children the best start in life.

The GUS report on early cognitive development shows children who were often read to at 10-months old and who did lots of activities like painting and singing at almost two-years-old scored better on language development and problem solving skills by the time they were nearly three. (From LTS daily news feed)

Nothing new here but it’s worth repeating. Also worth saying again is that a child who can generate rhyme and play with sounds within words at age 31/2 is unlikely to have early literacy difficulties. I recall my daughter being left for the first time with a baby sitter at around 2. She stopped crying when she heard we were off to the theatre. ‘That’s in my name’, Thea said. She had no concept of ‘theatre’: it was not about meaning, she just noticed a phonological connection. Soon she was recognising the same sounds in ‘Martin’ and ‘Smarties’ and – with the encouragement of her older brothers – making up rude rhymes for ‘mum’. At that point I was pretty confident she would read easily.

Phonological awareness is not sufficient for effective reading and writing but it is necessary.images