A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Checkpoints for Progress In Reading & Writing for Families and Communities - February 1998

  Children from Birth to Thirty-Six Months

From birth to thirty-six months, most children listen, speak, use the muscles they will need for writing, and get ready for reading.

Your child...
* As a newborn: Listens and reacts to your voice and other sounds and expresses feelings by cooing, gurgling, smiling, and crying.
* By eight months: Plays with sounds and babbles. Can play peek-a-boo. Waves arms and kicks feet to show excitement.
* By twelve months: Understands simple words. Understands and reacts to hand movements, faces, and changes in tone of voice. Understands simple words, such as "Da da." Puts books in the mouth. Turns pages of sturdy books.
* By twenty-four months: Puts two or more words together to make short sentences. Asks and answers simple questions. Can copy adult sounds, words, and motions. Uses crayons and markers for scribbling
* By thirty-six months: Listens well to stories being read. Likes to play pretend games. Loves to ask "why" questions. Likes naming objects. Makes scribbles that look more like writing.
How you can help...
  • Talk with your child when you play and do daily activities together.

  • Read with your child every day.

  • Take your toddler to the library to choose books to read at home.

  • Make a special place in your home where your todder can read and write.

  • Keep books and other reading materials where your child can reach them.
  • Keep washable, nontoxic crayons and markers and paper where your child can reach them.

  • Take books and writing supplies whenever you leave home, so that your child can read and write wherever you go.

  • Show your child how you read and write every day for fun and to get get things done.

  • Let your child do things without your help, such as dressing and cleaning up, when your child is ready.


Books to read at this level:*
Birth to Eight Months:

Big Fat Hen, by Keith Baker
Ten, Nine, Eight, by Molly Bang
Play Rhymes, by Marc Brown
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
Tomie DePaola's Mother Goose, by Tomie DePaola
Eye Winker, Tom Tinker, Chin Chopper: 50 Musical
Finger Plays, by Tom Glazer
Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins
Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, by Jack Prelutsky
Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri
My First Mother Goose, by Rosemary Wells

Eight Months to Eighteen Months:

Moon Bear, by Frank Asch
Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen
Corduroy, by Don Freeman
Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joose
Peter's Chair, by Ezra Jack Keats
Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
Clap Hands, by Helen Oxenbury
Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young
"More, More, More" Said the Baby, by Vera Williams

Eighteen to Thirty-Six Months:

The Little Red Hen, by Bryon Barton
Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell
Wait Till the Moon is Full, by Margaret Wise Brown
Stellaluna, by Jannell Cannon
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and Lois Ehlert
Curious George, by H.A. Rey
The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss
The Bunny Planet, by Rosemary Wells

*Books recommended by the American Library Association.


Introduction  Table of Contents  Children Three and Four Years of Age