Early literacy skills

Children who are exposed to interactive, language-rich environments, full of fun opportunities to learn will develop early literacy skills.

Six specific early literacy skills have been identified as building blocks for later reading and writing. Having these skills will help a child when receiving reading instruction in school.

Print Motivation:

Children who enjoy books will want to learn how to read later. Find books that your child will relate to and they will be happy to repeat the story several times. You can encourage print motivation in children by reading often and making sharing books fun and special. Children enjoy books with movable parts or flaps that they can lift. Participation in the story brings it alive and makes it fun. Show your child that you enjoy reading and make books accessible for them to explore on their own.

Enjoy books: Book suggestions for print motivation


The best way to help children learn new words is to talk and read to them often. There may be words in a picture book that are not used in everyday language. Reading the story introduces new words and will help later when your child is learning to read.

Learn words: Book suggestions for vocabulary

Phonological Awareness

Reading books aloud and singing will help children notice the smaller sounds that make up words. Being able to hear the beginning and ending sounds of words will help children sound out words when they begin to read. One of the best ways to strengthen this is to choose books with rhymes, songs or short poems.

Celebrate sounds: Book suggestions for phonological awareness

Letter Knowledge

Choosing books that emphasize certain letters will help your child learn that letters have different names and sounds. You can strengthen this by selecting a book with distinctive font and repetition of words that you can point to while reading. You can also sing alphabet songs to introduce your child to letters.

Love letters: Book suggestions for letter knowledge

Print Awareness

This is the ability to notice printed language, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the words on a page. Choose books that use print in a variety of ways. Run your finger under the repeated text and children can recite with you.

Know books: Book suggestions for print awareness

Narrative Skills

Books that encourage interaction will help children remember and retell the story building narrative skills. Encourage interaction while reading by asking open-ended questions about the illustrations or the story. “Why” and “What” questions will require an answer of more than one word. Allow your child to tell the story using illustrations as guides. Choose books that repeat or predict and also wordless books to allow children to tell the story.

Tell stories: Book suggestions for narrative skills

Books for Baby

These books have simple pictures and rhymes that baby will enjoy. Encourage babies to touch and play with Board Books. Read a book when it can be enjoyable and cuddly.

Books for Baby: Book suggestions for babies