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Reading Starts at Birth

These five Early Literacy practices of reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing help children form the building blocks that will allow them to learn to read when they get to school. Children who enter kindergarten with a rich vocabulary, a knowledge of printed words and books, the ability to hear and play with the sounds in words, and a sense of imaginative play are more likely to read at grade level in elementary school, and to graduate from high school.

You can help your child get ready to read long before they're old enough for school by using the Early Literacy Practices at home every day - and Darien Library is here to help! Follow the Children's Library on Instagram @darienchildrenslibrary for Early Literacy Tips, book recommendations and other fun library related information.

The Early Literacies

Reading together is the most important thing you can do to prepare your child for eventual reading success. It’s never too early to start reading together, and the more fun your child has reading together the more likely they are to be an independent reader as they get older!

Try reading a variety of books, and remember it's okay to keep reading that old favorite over and over.


Miss Baily shares two different versions of The Rain is Falling Down.

Books To Encourage Reading

  1. Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss
  2. The Book With No Pictures by B J Novak
  3. Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman
  4. The Library Book by Tom Chapin
  5. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley
  6. Yoko Learns to Read by Rosemary Wells
  7. Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr
  8. How do Dinosaurs Learn to Read by Jane Yolen
  9. Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
  10. Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

Lalalalala! Not only does singing make you feel good, it also helps your child better understand words. Breaking down the syllables of the word make it easier for a young child to learn and say the word. Let’s see this in practice with the word banana:

I say banana and then I sing banana.


Miss Anna shares two different versions of Wind the Bobbin.

Books To Encourage Singing

  1. The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal
  2. Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin
  3. Today is Monday by Eric Carle
  4. We are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner
  5. There was a Tree by Rachel Isadora
  6. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
  7. Rappy the Raptor by Dan Gutman
  8. Kitchen Disco by Clare Foges

Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. Although all parents talk to their children, directional talk (Come here, wash your hands, put on your shoes) doesn't help build vocabulary - conversations do!

Conversations help children express thoughts, learn what words mean, and gain new information about the world. Any place is a good place to talk to your child!


Kate shares two versions of a slow rhyme which is perfect for babies.

Books To Encourage Talking

  1. High Five by Adam Rubin
  2. My Crayons Talk by Patricia Hubbard
  3. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
  4. Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown
  5. A Hungry Lion; or, A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Cummins
  6. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
  7. No Bears! by Megan McKinlay
  8. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor
  9. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  10. Whoops! by Suzi Moore
  11. Be Quiet by Ryan T. Higgins
  12. Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer

Writing is an early literacy skill that ties in closely with reading. When children are given a crayon or pencil, they may scribble or draw a picture, which is the first step to telling a story. Just by writing, children are developing print awareness and learning the idea that pictures or words contain meaning.

Encourage narrative skills in your child by asking “What's happening in this picture?” when they draw something.


Miss Samantha shares two different versions of Patty Cake.

Books To Encourage Writing

  1. Little Plane Learns to Write by Stephen Savage
  2. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  3. Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates
  4. A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen
  5. Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
  6. Idea Jar by Adam Lehrhaupt
  7. Tulip and Rex Write a Story by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Play is a fundamental building block of literacy, and playing with children is a great chance to communicate. Every opportunity for play is also an opportunity to use new words, and increase a child’s vocabulary.

This tyrannosaurus rex is hungry! What should it eat? The triceratops? Oh no, run away triceratops!


Miss Catherine shares two different ways to play Popcorn Kernels.

Books To Encourage Playing

  1. Crash! Boom! A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris
  2. Box by Min Flyte
  3. Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett
  4. Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
  5. Unplugged by Steve Antony
  6. Run Wild by David Covell
  7. Bunny's Staycation by Lori Richmond

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