Reading & Writing

Early literacy prepares your child for reading and writing

Early literacy is sometimes confused with a child’s ability to read and write at a young age. In reality, early literacy means the development of oral language and literacy skills that begins at birth through every day interactions such as talking, singing and reading to your baby. From these activities, babies develop listening skills and an interest in sounds.

Parents, siblings and child care providers play an important role in helping young children understand the language that they will eventually use themselves. While research shows that the single largest factor in helping develop your child’s early literacy knowledge is being read to and with at home, another important aspect is ensuring that children grow up with materials that support literacy development:

  • Board books and soft books for infants
  • Crayons, markers and paper for scribbling
  • Musical instruments
  • Media that supports early learning

Early literacy behaviors:

  • Book handling, turning pages, mouthing and chewing on books
  • Paying attention to pictures and the story; pointing and laughing at the pictures.
  • Comprehension of the story or pictures and imitating actions in the story
  • Pretending to read or following the words with their fingers

Early literacy skills:

  • Recognition of sounds, letters and words
  • Knowing how to handle a book
  • Being able to follow the words on a page
  • Knowing the name of things
  • Being interested in and enjoying books
  • Being able to describe events and tell a story
  • Discussing what happens in the book

Developing these skills in the first few years makes it easier for children to learn to read in school and learn overall.

More information:

Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions your family will make. With more than 5,000 state licensed and monitored child care programs to choose from, begin your search at or call (877) 255-4254 to let trusted experts help you.