What is Early Literacy?
Early Literacy is what children know about communication before they can actually read or write. It encompasses all of a child’s experiences with all types of communication and language that begin in the first five years of life, and it starts at home WITH YOU. You make the difference in your child’s early literacy development and school readiness. There are five key activities you can do with your child to foster early literacy. By singing, talking, reading, writing, and playing with your child, you create an interactive and rich environment. Not only do these activities stimulate your child’s growing brain, but they’re fun and perfect to bond over!
Reading aloud to your child every day is the most important thing you can do to prepare your child for learning to read, as it increases his brain’s capacity for language and literacy skills. These skills are phonological awareness, print awareness, letter knowledge, vocabulary, and background knowledge. More information can be found on this tip sheet:literacy skills.
Practicing these activities and developing these skills are a primary focus of ours at The Smithtown Library!
Early Literacy at The Smithtown Library
The library is ideal for fostering positive emotional and social development for babies and toddlers. We provide an optimal learning environment for children in our programming, as we can provide positive reinforcement, learning through play, and positive interaction between adult and child. These programs include a variety of the five key activities: singing, talking, reading, writing, and playing.
Every summer we offer a version of our Summer Reading Program for babies and toddlers from birth through 35 months called First Step to Reading. Stop by the Children’s Department of your local Library Building beginning on Monday, July 1 to register and pick up a packet. Share 25 books with your little one during the seven week program and receive a certificate and a special prize. These selections can be recommendations from our collection, Tumblebooks, or books from your own personal library! We also offer the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, ask any children's librarian for more details.
For more ideas about implementing early literacy in your home, visit these great sites:
- Zero to Three: Early Literacy and Langue Tips and Tools: Pick up tips and tools on literacy from the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. This site provides guidance for caretakers in how to implement early literacy skills in everyday interactions, especially geared for children 0-3 years old.
- Get Ready to Read: This site, sponsored by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, offers early literacy activities for children. Included are also many resources for adults working with children such as checklists and links to information.
- Saroj Ghoting is an Early Childhood Literacy Consultant and national trainer on early literacy. Her site maintains articles on current research, activity sheets, recommended books, resources, and handouts.
- Reading Rockets: Parents, teachers, librarians and other professionals will find many resources designed to aid struggling readers.
- Great Websites for Kids: Learning to Read: The Association for Library Service to Children lists their favorite early literacy websites.