Talk the Talk
There is no minimum age to begin exposing children to language and books. "Parents should talk and read to their children even when they are small infants," recommends Sullivan. "Using real words, not baby talk, will stimulate language development and model language as well.
"By the time a child is between the ages of four and five, she will comprehend that words are made up of sounds. This is the time to really start developing her vocabulary," Sullivan says. "Extend one-on-one conversation to include lots of interaction with your children. Discuss topics which most interest them and encourage them to share their ideas. You can expand their language by repeating their sentences back and adding more words to what they have already said."
All this talking will teach kids that speech is made up of a series of sounds. "Now children are ready to learn that what comes out of their mouths is represented by words on a page," says Sullivan.