Birth to K Skills

Learning to Read

Early literacy is what children know about reading before they actually learn to read and write. Parents and caregivers are the best teachers of these early literacy skills. We can give you tools to help your child prepare for Kindergarten. Chances are you already know some of these tips; you just didn’t realize they were important reading fundamentals.

Spend some time each day playing, talking, singing, writing and reading with your child. These five simple activities will help your child get ready to read!

Read Write Talk Sing Play


Reading to your child helps them understand things, develop a love for books and shows children what print can do. You can:

  • Choose books you enjoy.
  • Let your child choose the books.
  • Keep interaction with books positive and fun.
  • Keep your child involved, even if it means not reading the book word for word.


Writing helps children learn the names of letters and aids in learning what different sounds letters make. You can:

  • Encourage drawing and scribbling.
  • Trace the letters in the titles of books with your child’s finger.
  • Teach your child how to write their name and practice it.
  • Pick a letter of the day and point out words you say, hear or see with that letter.


Talking develops language and background knowledge of everyday experiences. You can:

  • Talk about the pictures and characters in books.
  • Ask your child to talk about their favorite part of the book.
  • Have your child tell you what they think the book is about before you read.
  • Talk about the feelings characters in the book might be feeling, even if those words are not used in the book.


Singing develops the ability to hear sounds in words and helps children hear language. You can:

  • Sing the ABCs.
  • Play rhyming games with your child.
  • Find fun CDs both you and your child can enjoy.
  • Remember songs you sang when you were young and teach them to your child. For help with lyrics (and to find new songs) try Bussongs.


Playing develops language and the ability to communicate using words. You can:

  • Go on a letter hunt and try to find as many signs as possible with the letters in your child’s name.
  • Encourage your child to role play and interact with them "in character".
  • Play with puppets and have them talk with your child.
  • Explore the Library and find the places we’ve created for early literacy enrichment.
Girl in a hat