Early Literacy

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  • SPL-toddler and mom with book

    Photo Credit: Jay Dunn

From the time they are infants, children learn language and other important skills that will help them enter kindergarten ready to learn to read. Learning to read begins before children enter school.

Parents and caregivers are a child’s first and best teacher. You know more about your child than anyone else. Your child will learn best by doing things with you! If English is not your first language, speak to the child in the language you know best.

The best way to help children get ready to read are talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing together. It is easy to make these practices part of your everyday routine. Have fun with these activities so that your child wants to do them again and again!

Talking helps your child get ready to read. You can have a conversation about what is happening in your day. Ask your child questions and expand on what your child says. Take turns and give your child lots of time to make comments and express ideas.

Singing is a natural way to learn about language. Songs help children develop listening skills and pay attention to the rhymes and rhythms of spoken language. Songs break down words so that children can hear the individual syllables. This is an important pre-reading skill. You can clap along to the syllables in words.

Reading together is the single most important way to help your child get ready to read. Shared reading experiences develop a love of reading and an appreciation of books. A child’s interest in reading is an important predictor of later reading achievement.

Playing helps children think symbolically and develop language skills. Dramatic play helps build narrative skills as children make up a story about what they are doing. Playing with your child can be a great way to prompt conversation and develop strong bonds.

Writing can include activities like scribbling with crayons and tracing letters in the sand with a stick. It builds fine motor skills. Writing things for your child, like writing their name on their artwork, teaches children about letters, a pre-reading skill called “letter knowledge”.

AWE Early Literacy Stations are available on a first-come, first-served basis for the Library’s youngest patrons. The AWE stations feature fun and interactive content in Math, Science and Nature, Social Studies, Reading, Art, Writing and Computer Skills.

The Salinas Public Library offers a wide variety of opportunities for you to talk, play, read, write, and sing with your child!