To be literate is to be able to read and write. Similarly, early literacy encompasses all the foundational skills, knowledge, and experiences that prepare a child to become an independent reader. Put another way, if literacy were a tower, early literacy would be all the individual blocks used to build it.
Research has identified 6 key skills that support a child's reading readiness:
Print motivation – a child’s interest in printed materials, especially as a source of enjoyment
Print awareness – understanding how to hold a book; knowing that text reads from left to right; recognizing that print is everywhere
Phonological awareness – the ability to recognize and play with the sounds that make up words
Vocabulary – knowing a variety of words and what they mean
Letter knowledge – the ability to identify letters and to connect them to sounds in spoken language
Narrative skills – the ability to tell or retell a story or sequence of events; the ability to describe things
These skills are supported by 5 everyday practices:
Reading Writing Singing Talking Playing
The good news is, you can do these things anytime, and just about anywhere – and they’re probably things you are already doing! Whether it’s singing in the car or telling stories at the dinner table, you are already teaching your child(ren) the skills they need to become future readers. When you begin intentionally integrating these 5 practices into your daily routines, you lay the foundation for independent reading in a way that is natural and meaningful - and fun!
Here at the Bartholomew County Public Library, we believe that literacy begins at birth, and our goal is to support children and caregivers in becoming lifelong learners. We offer several storytimes per week for kids of all ages. We also offer monthly storytimes in French and in Spanish. All of our storytimes include books, songs, and opportunities to play, and many also incorporate crafts or other activities. Around our department, you’ll find a variety of play areas, including a dramatic play station, a puppet theater, a weekly craft table, puzzles, games, storytime kits, and of course, books! We strive to support the 5 practices in everything we do.
The information on this handout is a direct derivative of the Every Child Ready to Read initiative. For more information about ECRR, and about early literacy in general, we encourage you to check out the additional resources linked on this page.