Early Literacy

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read or write. Every Child Ready to Read, a national early literacy initiative, has identified six skills that every child needs in order to become ready to read:

  • Letter Knowledge is knowing that letters are different from each other and have different names and sounds; this skill begins with the concepts of “same and different” and basic shapes. Look for books that focus on the letter sounds, names and shapes.
  • Narrative Skill is the ability to describe things and events and tell stories, which helps a child understand the meaning of what he or she is reading. Good narrative skills lead to good reading comprehension. Look for books that encourage dialogue, storytelling, guessing what comes next.
  • Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. Being able to differentiate the sounds that make up words will help children sound out words when they begin to read. Look for books with rhythm, rhymes, and language play.
  • Print Awareness is understanding the role of print in our culture; knowing how to handle a book, how we follow the words on a page. All books support print awareness.
  • Vocabulary is knowing the names of things, both tangible and intangible (feelings, emotions). Children need to know the meaning of words in order to understand what they are reading and to be able to sound out words when they read. Look for books with language that is unusual, extraordinary, or specific.
  • Print Motivation is a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books. Children who enjoy reading are curious about how to read and will want to read more. Look for books that are fun!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

WNPL wants to help get your child ready for Kindergarten with a new, free program filled with fun and prizes! 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is designed to promote reading to babies, toddlers and preschoolers with the goal of reading 1000 books before kindergarten – a goal experts say helps children learn to read.

The single most important activity parents and caregivers can do to help children become successful readers is to read aloud to them every day. YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher and you can help them develop important early literacy skills.

WNPL’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten provides reading logs to track progress, reading tips for caregivers, prizes to children who reach reading milestones, recognition on our 1000 Books Wall of Fame, and lots of encouragement and enthusiasm!

Visit the Youth Services desk to give your child the tools for reading success today.

You may be asking yourself, “How will someone read 1000 books to a child? 1000 is a big number!”

If you read:
1 bedtime story every night for 3 years = 1095 books!
10 books each week for 2 years = 1040 books!
If you begin when your child is an infant, you can end up with thousands of books!