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Early Literacy

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Early literacy is what children know about reading before they can actually read and write. From birth, your child is getting ready to learn to read, and early literacy skills are developed by singing songs with your baby, coloring pictures with your toddler, engaging in imaginative play with your preschooler, and many more of the daily activities you and your child do together.

The best way to build early literacy skills is to engage—every day—in the five early literacy activities: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. By creating a warm, nurturing home environment and making experiences with language and books positive ones, you are ensuring that your child will enter kindergarten ready to read.

These resources will help you to help your child enter kindergarten ready to read. The Library also offers many story times each week to help you enrich your child's learning and love of reading.

The Five Early Literacy Activities

Children learn language and other early literacy skills by listening to their parents and others talk. As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean. They learn about the world around them and important general knowledge. This will help children understand the meaning of what they read.

Singing is a wonderful way to learn about language because it's fun and slows down language so children can hear different sounds that make up words. This helps when children begin to read printed language.

Reading together is the single most important way to help children get ready to read. Reading together increases vocabulary and general knowledge. It helps children learn how print looks and how books work. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves.

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

Children learn a lot about language through play. Play helps children think symbolically—spoken and written words stand for real objects and experiences. Play also helps children put thoughts into words. 

Early Literacy Resources

"Reading Tips for Parents," from the Colorado State Library:

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"Ready? Set? Go!," kindergarten readiness from the Colorado State Library:

English Español

Library eResources

PebbleGo is an award winning PreK-3 database for reading and research that includes database options for Animals, Earth and Space, and Biographies. Leveled text, educational games, and videos support science concepts for your youngest researchers.

TumbleBooks are created from existing picture books that are licensed from children's book publishers and converted to the TumbleBook format. TumbleBooks are animated, talking picture books with fiction, non-fiction, and foreign language titles. You will need to provide your library card number for remote access to the Tumble Book Library. 

Librarian-selected Websites

Born Learning
Born Learning is a public engagement campaign that helps parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities.

Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media
This expanded site is for early educators, families, and others who care for young children.

Start with a Book
Hands-on activities paired with book lists based on popular themes that are designed to excite children about reading. Includes a reading tip of the day.

Story Blocks
Songs and rhymes that build readers. This site has been named a 'Best Website for Kids' by the American Library Association.

Jim Trelease's Website
The celebrated author of the bestselling, "The Read-Aloud Handbook", Jim Trelease has compiled numerous resources for parents, educators, and children.

Resources in Other Languages

Colorín Colorado
Colorín Colorado is a free web-based service that provides information, activities, and advice for educators and Spanish-speaking families of English language learners (ELLs).

International Children's Digital Library
A digital library of more than 10,000 international children's books in at least 100 languages.