Early Learning

Photo of girl looking at books

It’s never too early to help children develop language and other early learning skills! Children can develop these skills beginning at birth, and it can be fun, easy and interactive.

To encourage pre-reading skills, simply fill your home with words (both printed and spoken), use music and songs, and engage in lots of pretend play.

Talking, singing, reading, writing and playing are the five best ways for children to get ready to read and easy enough to do every day.

Based on Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library.

photo of maother and baby talking to each other

Talking

As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean. This will help children understand the meaning of what they read.

  • Make sure your children have a lot of opportunities to talk with you, not just listen to you talk.
  • Respond to what your children say and extend the conversation. 
  • If English isn’t your first language, speak to your children in the language you know best. This allows you to explain things more so your children will learn more.
photo of kids singing and clapping

Singing

Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words. This helps when children begin to read printed language. 

  • Sing the alphabet song to learn about letters. 
  • Clap along to the rhythm in songs so children hear the syllables in words.
  • When you sing, babies are drawn to the sound of your voice and to the playful sounds of words and rhymes.
photo of mother reading with babies

Reading

Reading together helps children learn how books work. Shared reading also helps children develop an interest in reading and want to learn to read themselves.

  • Point to words and letters. Name the letters and make their sounds.
  • Read to your children in the language that is most comfortable for you so you can talk about the book more.
  • Make reading together an enjoyable activity, and your child will want to repeat it again and again.
Photo of kids and parents writing together

Writing

Children can learn pre-reading skills through writing. Both reading and writing represent spoken language and communicate information. 

  • Writing begins with scribbles and marks. Give your children many opportunities to draw and write. Keep crayons, markers or magnetic letters within reach.
  • Encourage babies to grip toys, which helps build their hand muscles so they can write later on.
  • Talk to your children about what they draw, and write captions or stories together. 
photo of boys plaing dressed up as superheroes

Playing

Play helps children express themselves and put thoughts into words, which helps them understand written words later on.

  • Give your children plenty of playtime. Encourage them to use their imaginations by giving them props or “costumes” you find around the house.
  • Encourage dramatic play. When children make up stories using puppets or stuffed animals it helps them understand that books have a beginning, middle and end.
  • Ask your children to pretend to read you a book you’ve read together many times.
Photo of mother and daughter looking at books in the library

Helping Your Child Get Ready to Read

The library has many resources to help you teach your child early literacy skills. 

  • Books
  • Toys
  • Games
  • Puzzles
  • Music CDs
  • Read-Along Kits
  • Programs
  • Parent Resources

Reading is essential to school success.

From the time they are infants, children learn language and other important skills that will help them learn to read. Developing early literacy skills makes it easier for children to read once they begin school. Children who start kindergarten ready to read have greater success throughout their school years. Bring your children to library to talk, sing, read, write and play! 

Parent/Teacher image by 3643825 via Pixaby CC02 licence

You Are Your Child’s First and Best Teacher

Young children have short attention spans. You can do activities for short bits of time throughout the day.

You know your children best and you can help them learn in ways and at times that are easiest for them.

Parents are the best role models. If you show that reading is important and enjoyable, children will follow your lead.

Children learn best by doing and they love doing things with you.