pic_earlylit_redballThe process of learning to read begins years before children start school. Children from birth through age five need to develop early literacy or pre-reading skills before they can actually learn to read. And parents are in the best position to teach these skills. Here are five easy practices to help start your child on the path to becoming a reader:


Talking with children is one of the best ways to help them learn new words and information. The experience of self-expression also stimulates brain development.


Songs are a natural way for children to learn about language. Singing – especially when it includes rhyming – increases children’s awareness of and sensitivity to the sounds in words. This helps prepare children to decode written language.


Reading together is the single most important way to help children get ready to read.


Writing and reading go together. Scribbling and writing help children learn that written words stand for spoken language.


pic_earlylit_maracaPlaying helps children put thoughts into words and think symbolically so they understand that spoken and written words stand for real objects and experiences.

Early Literacy on the Web

Early Literacy from the Hennepin County Library

Looking for more information? Visit the Early Literacy website from the Hennepin County Library. You can also visit Hennepin’s ELSIE: Early Literacy Storytime Ideas Exchange to find tips on using specific books to promote pre-reading skills.

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a program from WETA, Washington D.C.’s PBS television station. Their goal is to use reading research to c

pic_earlylit_pigtailsome up with the best practices for reading instruction, particularly for struggling readers. The For Parents section has a wealthof information

for parents wanting to learn about early literacy in-depth.


Starfall.com is a free public service that teaches children to read through basic, but fun online games that use a systematic phonics approach.