What is early literacy?

P&T_EarlyLiteracy_695x200Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read or write. From the time they are born, children are learning language and other important skills that help them learn to read. You can help your child with five simple activities included in your everyday routine. The five best ways to help your child get ready to read are:


Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation.

  • Use new words and name things (real objects, pictures in books, actions, feelings and ideas) as you go through the day.
  • Take turns and give your child lots of opportunities to talk with you.
  • Make connections and ask questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no.”


Songs are a natural way to learn about language.

  • Clap along to rhythm to hear the syllables in words.
  • Sing alphabet songs.
  • Notice that many songs have a different note for each syllable. This helps children break down words.
  • Demonstrate the actions that accompany the songs.


Reading together with your children is the single most important way to help them get ready to read.

  • Read often and make it fun.
  • Get sturdy books that your baby can handle (check them out from the library!)
  • Talk about the meaning of words as you read.
  • Choose books that expose children to new words.


Reading and writing go together.

  • Encourage your child to make marks with crayons and markers.
  • Draw shapes and pictures together.
  • Practice writing letters, names and words.


Children learn about language through different kinds of play.

  • Provide opportunities for dress up and dramatic play.
  • Play with blocks and talk about what you’re building together.
  • Act out stories with stuffed animals and puppets.
  • Check out the Play and Learn Storytime at your local library