If there is ONE thing that I ask of you it is to READ, READ, READ books to your children. Have books readily available at all times. One of my MOST favorite things to do is read children's book to little ones!! We know that early language exposure significantly affects the way language networks are built in the brain and psychologist Anne Fernald of Stanford University has shown that "a child's mental processing speed...is shaped through rich engagement with language." Books are full of vocabulary and provide a rich language experience. They allow children to explore different worlds by visual references and they set a foundation for better literacy skills later on. Reading books with your child is a time to bond with them, it allows for cooperation of experiencing words together, and it helps to build a foundation for future learning abilities and referencing the outside world.
Have FUN with books!! Don't forget to provide boosters such as WH questions in conjunction with predication such as, "Where is the lion going?", "What do you think he'll do there?" or "Who will he see?" Make up scenarios of "What might happen if....?" Even ask, "Do you remember where he went?", "Do you remember what he did?", "Do you remember who he saw?" If your child exhibits language delays and you feel these questions may be too difficult, you are right!! HOWEVER, do not be afraid to ask them anyway so your child can be influenced by what you are saying and the way you are saying it.....give them the answer. Remember you are setting up future literacy, you are building a foundation of language and vocabulary to be used in their everyday communication interactions, and overall, plain and simple, you are helping to build stronger language skills : ) ENJOY!!!