Emotional development and social activity

Early Literacy

Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school, even from birth. The development of early literacy skills through early experiences with language, books, and stories is critically linked to a child’s success in learning to read.

Parents and caregivers are important in helping their children get ready to read because:

  • Children learn best when they are in a good mood, and you know their moods best
  • You can help your children learn reading skills in ways that are easiest for them
  • Children learn best by doing things—and they love doing things with you

Early literacy is not the teaching of reading: Your child will learn how to read in school. The most important thing you can do to foster early literacy is to provide an atmosphere that’s fun, verbal, and stimulating. When you read, talk, and play with your child, you’re stimulating the growth of your child’s brain and building the connections that become the building blocks for reading.

How can you help your child on their early literacy journey to get ready to read?

The Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children suggest five ways to get every child ready to read:

  • Read: Reading together is the single most important way to help children get ready to read.  You’re never too old to enjoy listening to a good book.
  • Talk: Talking with children is one of the best ways to help them learn new words and information. It also keeps families more connected.
  • Sing: Songs are a natural way for children to learn about and play with language.  No worries if your voice is not rock star perfect – if you can talk, you can sing! Your child’s favorite voice is yours.
  • Write: Writing and reading go together and help children learn that written words stand for spoken language. Scribbling and drawing are forms of writing too and have meaning to your child.
  • Play: Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn about how the world works. It also helps them learn language and think symbolically – “this box is a rocket ship”.

Early Literacy Kits

To assist parents and caregivers in helping their children develop pre-reading skills, the Kids’ Library has Early Literacy Kits available for checkout. These kits contain books, puzzles, games and/or a puppet to help reinforce skills and basic concepts such as the alphabet, opposites, matching, and more.


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