The building blocks of literacy and language are said to form in the first three years of a child’s life. Reading to or with a child helps form connections within the brain that are key to understanding how printed words work, to building a vocabulary, and for increasing general knowledge. It is important to build and develop the process of reading before kindergarten so children are not only able to read before the first day of school but are also prepared to learn.
The six skills for early literacy development are:
- Letter Knowledge
Understanding that letters are different from each other and knowing letter names and sounds.
TIP: Look for alphabet books and shape books (because letters are built on shapes).
- Narrative Skills
Being able to tell stories and describe things and events.
TIP: Look for books that provide opportunities to have your child explain what is happening in the book and/or infer meaning from visual cues.
- Phonological Sensitivity
Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds that make up words. Understanding that letters are different from each other and knowing letter names and sounds.
TIP: Look for books that feature rhyming text, a sing-song rhythm, and/or sound words like tweet, vroom, kerplunk, boom, or splat.
- Print Awareness
Noticing print everywhere (not just in books), understanding that print has meaning, and knowing how to handle a book and follow print on a page.
TIP: Look for books with whimsical text or bold, easy-to-identify printed words as well as stories that demonstrate the organization and sequence of reading a story or list.
- Print Motivation
Being interested in and enjoying books.
TIP: Look for interactive books, books with bright illustrations or photos, and/or very funny or relatable stories.
Knowing the names of things.
TIP: Look for books that identify objects and use new and interesting words.
Early Literacy Programming @BCPL
Our early literacy programs are designed to help kids develop early literacy skills while modeling useful techniques for parents and caregivers. We aim to teach children about storytelling, good listening and conversation skills, being part of a group, and more.
Ongoing early literacy events include:
- Family Storytime Children of all ages & their families
- Literacy for Littles Ages 0–5
- Storytime Ages 3–5
- Toddler Time Ages 0–2
Special upcoming events include:
- Día de los Muertos Storytime Children of all ages
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten: Get the Whole Family Involved!
Reading with children builds vocabulary and language skills, and it introduces them to a wide range of books and stories to spark their imaginations. Studies have shown that the earlier we read, sing, and speak to children, the earlier they have a desire to learn and the skills to do so. Starting early—before kindergarten—is key to a child’s success through their school years and into adulthood.
But our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program goes beyond helping children develop early literacy skills and prepare for kindergarten. Reading together is fun and will create lifelong memories. The whole family can get involved, and celebrating milestones can become a fun family bonding activity! The key is perseverance, and BCPL will provide incentive prizes and regular celebrations of the child’s reading accomplishments to help participants remain excited and motivated to meet their goal.