Early Literacy

What Is Early Literacy?

An Important Part of Child Development

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read or write.

Learning begins long before a child ever steps foot in a classroom. You can help your child learn important skills now that will set them on the path to becoming good readers and writers. And the best news of all? It’s FUN!

Forget the flashcards and step away from your phone. Sit down together and play a game, laugh, sing songs, and tell stories. Take a walk and talk about all the wonderful things you see…birds, clouds, stop signs, grasshoppers.

You’ll enjoy your time together, and your child won’t even know you’re preparing them to read and write!

The 5 Practices of Early Literacy


The more words children hear, the more words they know!

Talking to your child increases vocabulary. Use as many words as possible when speaking to your child. Respond when your child speaks to you. Listen for a response when you ask a question. Speak to your child in the language you know best.


Songs slow down language and make words easier to hear. They also allow children to hear the individual sounds in words more clearly.

Clap to rhythms in a song to break down syllables in words. Sing the ABC song to learn letters. Read and sing nursery rhymes with your child.


Learning through play helps children increase narrative skills and awareness of the world around them. Play allows children to learn language and put thoughts into words.

Give your child unstructured playtime and time to use their imagination. Use puppets and stuffed animals as characters in stories. Read a book and then act out the story.


Reading books with your child is the single most important action to get your child ready for learning.

Read every day. Before you read a story, look at the cover and ask your child what they think is going to happen in the story. Read different genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels. Let your child choose their own books to read and share together.


Reading and writing both communicate information. Your child can develop the fine motor skills needed for writing through coloring, painting, or using a stick to draw in the dirt.

Use finger paint or chalk to create pictures. Use writing in play: pretend to be a server taking an order or a police officer writing a ticket. Write stories together to show the connection between written and printed language.


Colorado Libraries For Early Literacy

All children deserve to experience both the joy of reading and the skills in life that literacy brings.

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy is passionately committed to strengthening children’s literacy through library services and community advocacy.

Kids Digital Collection

Explore Children's eBooks & more!

See everything you and your child can access from home.

Reading Tips For Parents (English)

View the .pdf brochure in English.

Kindergarten Readiness (English)

View the .pdf brochure in English.