It is never too early for children to develop skills they will need for a lifetime of learning.
The King County Library System’s Ready to Read program focuses on five simple but powerful ways to help children get ready to succeed in school. These practices are: reading, talking, singing, writing, and playing.
Before children can learn to read, they must develop a range of early literacy skills. Parents and caregivers are a child’s first teachers. They are in the best position to help their children develop early literacy skills beginning at birth.
Incorporate early learning into your daily routine by including these 5 simple practices.
Reading together is the single most effective way to help children get ready to read.
Read with your child in any language. When children enjoy books and reading, this helps them become readers themselves. You can find book suggestions in our catalog. You can also ask your children’s librarian for suggestions.
Talk with your child in any language. Talking with children helps them learn spoken language, a critical early literacy skill. Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining the conversation. Talking is one of the best ways to teach new words and concepts.
When we talk to children and ask them questions they learn about language and how to tell stories. Books are wonderful conversation starters!
Sing with your child in any language. Singing and rhyming help children hear the smaller sounds in words. Songs and rhymes also teach new vocabulary and introduce new ideas and concepts. Sing songs from your childhood and/or make up songs together.
The KCLS Tell Me A Story webpage offers suggestions of rhymes and songs to share with young children.
Play with your child. Through play, children learn about the world. Children also learn about language through play. Play helps children put their thoughts into words and think symbolically. They learn the meaning of words and how to express themselves.
Writing and reading go together. Writing helps children learn that written words stand for spoken language. Writing activities help children learn letter names and sound out new words.
For more information on early learning, please see the Washington State Early Learning and Development Guidelines.