Early Literacy Tips

Help your child become reading-ready with these age-appropriate tips from CPL Librarians.

Babies, 0-18 months:

  • Choose books with bright, bold illustrations—they are easier for young babies to see and will grab their attention.
  • If your baby wants to flip pages, you don’t always have to read the words on the page to tell a story. Instead, talk or sing about the pictures. 
  • Keep books everywhere—in the car, in baby’s diaper bag, the toy box. Let your baby play with the books as often as they like. Board books with sturdy pages are best for this.
  • Hold your baby on your lap as you read and make lots of eye contact.

Toddlers, 18-36 months:

  • Allow your child to participate in the reading experience by encouraging them to point to pictures on the pages or by asking them questions about the book as you read.
  • Read the world around you—read aloud signs, restaurant menus and labels on packages as you and your toddler go about your day.  
  • Don’t worry if your toddler can’t sit still for an entire book. Read a few pages and try again later.

Preschoolers, 3-4 years old:

  • Compare words with the same letter sounds. For example, how many words can you think of that start with the letter B? Baby, bunny, ball, bubbles. Take turns adding to the list.
  • Add rhymes and songs into your reading time. It helps children recognize the patterns and sequences in sounds and words.
  • Use wooden or magnetic alphabet letters to spell out simple words. Help your child think of words to spell.