Early Literacy Skills: Reading

Early Literacy is everything that a child knows about reading and writing before they are able to read and write. These skills are important because early literacy creates the foundation for your child to be a successful reader.

There are six basic skills that a child will learn as a result of early literacy. They are print motivation, vocabulary, narrative skills, phonological awareness, print awareness, and letter knowledge. Ways to build their skills include talking, singing, reading, writing/drawing, and playing.



Reading is a great way to increase your child’s vocabulary. When you point out words in the title or repeated phrases, you are improving your child’s print awareness, which includes them learning how to handle a book and learning that print has meaning.

  • Board books are a great resource to begin your child’s journey into reading. Even though they usually don’t have many words, they are perfect for toddlers because your child will be able to help you turn the pages.
  • With books that have few words, you can create your own story about the illustrations, which will help your baby learn new vocabulary.
  • Always make sure that you make interactions with books positive.
  • When children have positive experiences with books and reading, they are more likely to stick with learning to read in school, even when it becomes difficult.


early literacy skills 1


The Handley Library offers the 1000 Books before Kindergarten program. Although 1,000 books seems like a huge number, if you read one book a day (or the same book day after day) you could finish in less than three years. With ten books a week, you will be done in less than two years. For more information, you can visit a Youth Services Desk at any branch.

A great resource to promote early literacy is DayByDayVA. This website provides a Family Literacy Calendar, which has songs, stories, videos, and more to help promote early literacy. Each day, there are different activities for you and your child to do together. (Note: As of November 2017, Tumblebooks is no longer supported by the Library of Virginia or Handley Regional Library.)



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