Early Literacy

What is Early Literacy?

The development of language and literacy begins at birth, with parents and caregivers serving as a child’s first teacher. We are here to support your family in this lifelong learning process!

Early literacy is, very simply, what children know about reading or writing before they can actually read and write. 

When children have learned early literacy skills before they enter kindergarten, they are at a distinct advantage when learning to read. 

Build Skills at the FFL

Early Literacy opportunities at the FFL include:

  • Attend Storytimes & skills building programs for babies and up
  • Check out our Born to Read (birth to age 2) and Ready to Read (ages 2 & up) kits
  • Visit our play-to-learn spaces in the Children’s area
  • Enroll your child in our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Set a goal to read 1,000 books before your child starts school! Participants will receive a free tote bag, reading log, and board book.

To sign up email Kirsten at kpeirson@fflib.org.

Storytimes & Book Clubs

Did you know? The FFL offers several weekly storytimes and play-to-learn programs for babies, toddlers and pre-K kids! We also offer several monthly book clubs for school aged kids.

Check our Events Calendar to find a reading event that’s right for your child.

Practice at Home

Child development experts have identified five simple activities that can help get your child ready to read:

Children learn language by listening. They learn new words and absorb general knowledge about the world around them. Talking to your child can help them develop vocabulary. The experience of self-expression also stimulates brain development, which underlies all learning.

 *Tip – Stretch your child’s vocabulary by repeating what they say and adding new words. “You want a banana? That’s a healthy choice.” 

Singing slows down language and helps children hear the different sounds that make up words. Singing, which also includes rhymes, also develops an awareness of rhythm and syllables, increasing children’s awareness of and sensitivity to the sounds in words. This helps prepare children to decode print (written language).

*Tip – Sing the alphabet song to learn letters & sounds.

Reading with and to your child will help them learn how a book works and what print looks like. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to enjoy learning to read themselves. Reading together, or shared reading, remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.  

*Tip – When you finish reading a book, ask your child to retell the story.  

Reading and writing go hand in hand and both communicate information. Children can learn pre-reading skills by practicing drawing and scribbling. It also helps improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. 

*Tip – Have children sign their drawings and tell stories about what they drew. 

Play helps children think symbolically about real objects and experiences. It allows them to use spoken and written words to communicate about real life. Play is one of the primary ways young children learn about the world. General knowledge is an important literacy skill that helps children understand books and stories once they begin to read.

*Tip – Encourage dramatic play to foster narrative skills.  

Online Early Literacy Resources

Check out these sites for ideas, apps, activities, & more!