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What We Know About Early Literacy and Language Development

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This handout provides information on how early language and literacy skills unfold for infants and toddlers across the first 3 years of life.

Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first 3 years of life and is closely linked to a child’s earliest experiences with books and stories. The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons, and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading, and writing development. This relatively new understanding of early literacy development complements the current research supporting the critical role of early experiences in shaping brain development.

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