Early Literacy

Early literacy is what children learn about reading and writing before they are ready to read and write themselves. Amazing things happen when you read to your child, come to storytime, play together and chat while going for a walk! Your little one’s brain is busy making connections, especially in the first three years of life. Babies are born with one hundred billion neurons, but many of these neurons are not connected. Sensory experiences—seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and especially tasting—stimulate connections among the cells. Giving your child rich experiences helps to build the basic architecture of their brain, which will give them an excellent start in school and beyond.

So, what can you do? There are five practices (reading, singing, talking, playing and writing) that are wonderful for building up your child’s early literacy (pre-reading) skills. Also, you can explore the six early literacy skills that your child needs as they prepare to start reading. We hope you’ll join us for storytimes (link to st page) to have fun and build up these skills!

Below you’ll find online resources, book lists, activity ideas, details about our storytime at home kits, and other helpful information!

Every Child Ready to Read Practices

Every Child Ready to Read is an initiative started by the American Library Association and the Association of Library Service to Children to make building early literacy skills welcoming for families. By doing the five practices or activities, your child we gain the pre-reading skills they need to become a successful reader.

Talking: with your child builds up their vocabulary! 30 million words to learn more about the importance of talking to your child. The more words children hear has been linked to greater success in school. 

  • When going for a walk talk about what you see. Describe passing vehicles, houses, and animals. Ask you child what they see!

Singing: slows down language and helps children to hear the smaller parts that make up words (and it’s fun)!

  • Sing to your child when changing their diaper, driving to the store, or when you’re hanging out at home. You can create a nursery rhyme cube that can help pick your next song and make it like a game.
  • Here are great lists of nursery rhymes and songs!

Reading: with your child helps them to build their vocabulary and their love of books!

Writing: starts with building up hand muscles by scribbling and playing.

  • Tracing and manipulating sensory materials is a great way to build the fine motor skills needed for writing.

Playing: encourages kids to explore their world and be creative.

  • Blocks, balls, puzzles, and ordinary objects around your house can all be part of creative play! Peek-a-boo, making music, dancing, and exploring together are all great for play time! Here are some great ideas for play a different ages.

6x6: Six Skills by Six Years

Johnson County Public Library created 6x6 to make learning about early literacy more inviting for families. The six skills are:

Have Fun with Books: Make reading *fun* so that your child loves reading from the start!

Notice Print All Around You: Learn how to handle books and notice that print is meaningful in their surroundings.

Talk, Talk, Talk: The more we talk with our children, the greater their vocabulary becomes! Then when they learn to read they’ll comprehend what they read with more ease.

Look for Letters Everywhere: Learn the letters of the alphabet and recognize the shapes that make up letters.

Take Time to Rhyme: Rhyming with children helps them to hear the smaller parts that make up words. This will help them when they need to sound out words when they’re learning to read!

Tell Stories About Everything: Learning that stories have a beginning, middle and end will help your child get ready to read.

Storytime at Home Kits

Now you can bring storytime home! We have built kits for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Each kit has five books, songs and rhymes, early literacy information, activity ideas, and more! Explore our full list of kits. Kits can’t be put on hold at this time. You can find Storytime at Home Kits near the board book shelf in the children’s room (let us know if you need help locating them!).

Here are links to individual kits by age group:

Baby Kits:

Toddler Kits:

Preschool Kits: