READING for Early Literacy

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write.  Literacy is like growing; it happens slowly over time.

READING with your child is the best way to help your child get ready to read! Children who think reading is fun are more likely to want to read themselves.  Here are some tips to make reading fun:

Interact with your child as you read. Ask questions and try to predict together what will happen next. Listen to what your child says.

When you come to an unfamiliar word, stop and talk about what it means.  Reading books introduces children to words that they may not hear in everyday conversation.  Knowing more words helps children become better readers.

When you are sharing books with your child, don’t overlook the pleasures of reading nonfiction (information books).  Children have a natural curiosity about the world around them and by reading nonfiction they can find out more about whatever interests them.

Here are a few nonfiction books that would be fun to share with children preschool to second grade:

Did you ever wonder where fluorescent paint colors came from?  I confess I never did until I read Day-Glo Brothers: the True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-new Colors by Chris Barton.  Beginning as magicians in the 1930’s who used a black light in their act, the Switzer brothers did not stop experimenting until they developed paint that glowed even in daytime.  This book demonstrates how patient and persistent inventors need to be.  Better yet, it is illustrated in eye-popping hues.

Children could be inspired to be naturalists in their own back yards by reading What Bluebirds Do by Pamela Kirby. A noted wildlife photographer, she set up a nest box in her garden and documented the activities of a pair of eastern bluebirds and their offspring. 

High-quality natural history illustrations distinguish Ape, written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White.  The finely detailed and subtly colored drawings of orangutans, chimps, bonobos and gorillas, set against white backgrounds, invite the viewer to contemplate the expressions on the animals’ faces.  Jenkins contributes just enough text to define each species.

For more books about science and math, click here.

This is the second in a series of Book Talk articles about books that help parents get their children ready to read by engaging in interactive everyday activities. These recommendations are based on “Every Child Ready to Read®@Your Library®,”which is a program of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association. For more information about early literacy, go to 

1 comment:

PCA said...

Thanks for recommending nonfiction books for early literacy skill building.

I think sometimes we forget that the library has lots of 'true' stories about real things.

This certainly goes along with the new Common Core shift to more informational text reading in schools.