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, when your preschooler takes a pen and paper and "writes," that is early literacy. These actions make a big difference when your child is 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 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.

The 5 Early Literacy Practices

The good news is that it is really easy to build early literacy skills with your kids, and you are probably 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.

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

Read 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, and paper, and play with shapes and blocks. This helps kids become comfortable with creating words and images.

Play 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.

Illustration of large animal reading to smaller animals.
Illustration of large animal and small animals sharing books.

Early Literacy at the Library

At Beaverton City Library, we incorporate early literacy practices into each storytime and children's event. Library staff 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? Stop by the desk at Main or Murray Scholls or call the library at 503-644-2197.

More Information About Early Literacy

WCCLS: Early Learning Birth to Age 5
Booklists, tips, and links from WCCLS all about early literacy, as well as videos of WCCLS staff 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

Illustrations by Tomoko Alfonso.