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Parents & Caregivers

This guide offers resources that have been chosen to provide information to parents, educators, grandparents, and childcare providers.

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Build your baby's brain from birth!

What is early literacy?

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

Does early literacy mean teaching my child to read?

No, you don't have to teach your child to read!  You are helping your child build a strong foundation for reading and writing. The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons, and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development.

How can I help my child develop early literacy skills?

You already have what it takes!  Children begin developing early literacy skills from birth, and there are five simple practices that parents and caregivers can use to help them get ready to read and write:

  1. Talk
  2. Sing
  3. Read
  4. Write
  5. Play

Keep scrolling for examples of how you can do these things with your child!  



  • Children learn language by listening to adults talk and joining the conversation.
  • Use wordless picture books to engage your child to talk about the story.
  • The number of adult words your child hears is important, but the back and forth exchanges between you are even better!  Even the youngest children can do this: when your baby babbles and coos this is their way of being part of the conversation.
  • If you are interested in building your child's brain through talk in a 10-week program offered by PPLD, please visit LENA Start to learn more.    




  • Songs are a natural way to learn about language.
  • Singing slows down language so children can hear different parts of words.  




  • Reading together with children is the single most important way to help them get ready to read.
  • Reading with children introduces new words and helps build their vocabulary.  
  • Show your child that reading is important and fun.  Be a reading role model and let your child see you reading!
  • Read together everyday and talk about the books you read.
  • Ask open-ended questions while reading.  Talk about what is going on in the story and pictures.
  • Be excited about the story, even if you've read it a million time! 
  • Be expressive! 
  • Make books available everywhere! Have books located in a spot where your child can reach without assistance.  

Looking for more ways to introduce your young child to books and reading?

Find book suggestions for all ages and stages here.

Come to one of our many early literacy programs at a library near you! (Schedules here.) 



Online Resources

Early Literacy Blogs