Early Literacy

What is Early Literacy?

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can read and write. 
When your child memorizes their favorite story and “reads” it to you, when your baby babbles or “sings” with you, and when your preschooler takes a pen and paper and “writes” that is Early Literacy. These all make a big difference when they are ready to learn how to read.

Daily Activity Calendar

Simple ideas for ways to talk, sing, read, write, and play with your child no matter how busy you are. Check out what there is to do together this month in English and Spanish!

Why is Early Literacy is important?

Research has shown that developing Early Literacy skills from a young age plays a key role in children’s reading abilities from kindergarten, through high school and beyond.

Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, Playing.

The 5 Early Literacy Practices

The good news is that it is really easy to build early literacy skills with your kids, and you probably are already working on these skills without even knowing it! It’s as easy as Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play.

Talk to your child, and allow your child to talk to you. This builds your child’s language skills and vocabulary.


with your child to develop phonological awareness and practice hearing the different syllables in words.


to your child. This helps your child learn how to handle books, that reading and learning go hand in hand, and that reading together is fun.

Write with your child and let your child practice with crayons, paint, paper, and play with shapes and blocks. This helps kids become comfortable with creating words and images.
Make your home a fun place to learn.


with your child to build strong connections with the world, instill self-confidence, use new vocabulary, and become comfortable with imagination and abstract thinking skills.
Read Together.

Early Literacy at the Library

At the library we incorporate Early Literacy practices into each storytime and children’s events. Children’s Librarians choose the best materials for our collections for you to check out to build your early literacy practices at home.

Throughout the year we also offer Early Literacy workshops for parents, teachers, and caregivers to learn fun ways to help their children build early literacy skills. Be sure to check out our Events Calendar to pick out the best workshops for you and your family. Not sure which workshops best meet your child's needs? Just stop by the Children’s Desk or call (503) 350-3600.

More Information About Early Literacy

Washington County Cooperative Library Services: Early Learning: Birth - Age 5
Booklists, tips, and links from WCCLS all about early literacy, as well as videos of Washington County librarians singing songs and rhymes that you can do with your child.

Zero to Three
Support for the healthy development of infants and toddlers and the adults who care for them.

Brain building tips and ideas for families and caregivers of young learners.