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Early Literacy

““Libraries are emerging as community centers that promote family engagement, thus serving an important mission of fostering school readiness for children in many communities,” the report reads. “Libraries are playing a particularly vital role as resource brokers, helping to connect parents with services and resources, as well as a space for parents and children to work on literacy skills.” Bringing Literacy Home: An Evaluation of the Every Child Ready to Read Program (2017)

“Because they serve children for years before they begin school, public librarieshave many opportunities to provide early literacy and learning experiences... Many children and their caretakers visit libraries so it [is] a natural fit for public libraries to start using library program opportunities to teach caretakers about early literacy.”From Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library (2011)




1000 Books Before Kindergarten

This national nonprofit organization is encouraging parents and caregivers to read 1,000 books to their children before they start kindergarten. Many Louisiana libraries participate. You can look on their website to locate a participating library near you.

Big Books at the State Library of Louisiana

The State Library has a big book collection of over 500 titles.  These are great for story time or classroom use as well as for the individual reader who simply needs larger print and pictures to read a story. The State Library’s big book collection is available through Interlibrary Loan at your local public library.

Every Child Ready to Read@ your library® (ECRR)

This is an early literacy initiative developed through the Public Library Association (PLA) and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) that focuses on educating parents and caregivers. ECRR provides turnkey toolkits and resources for libraries to be able to teach parents how to nurture and develop early literacy skills in their children. The State Library offers ECRR toolkits for checkout and also conducts free training annually on the program.


This is a program created by the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities in 1991 which is designed to support children and families in inter-generational family reading and discussion. Louisiana public libraries partner with PRIME TIME, Inc. to offer the 6 week program that engages families and children in literature and reading. Check with your local public library to see when PRIME TIME is offered.

Public Libraries’ Early Literacy Programs

Louisiana’s public libraries offer many programs throughout the year to promote early literacy and focus on developing reading skills in children from birth to age 5. Some of these include:

  • Lapsits
  • Bilingual storytimes
  • Toddler storytimes
  • Preschool storytimes
  • Family storytimes
  • Play dates for toddlers and preschoolers
  • Outreach and training to childcare facilities, caregivers, and educators in their communities
  • Sensory friendly storytimes for patrons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or sensory processing differences
  • Summer Reading Program

To find out more about what your public library offers, please visit your library’s website. The Louisiana public library directory is here: http://www.state.lib.la.us/public-libraries/library-directory.


State Library Early Literacy Training

The State Library provides webinars and workshops for librarians and educators on early literacy. Below are topics from current and past workshops.


            Current training:

Apps, iPads and Story Times

Children are growing up inundated with technology. The webinar discusses how librarians can introduce educational apps and digital books that are developmentally appropriate in a library setting. We will discuss how technology children are growing with can support early literacy development and how we can help. Check the training site for next available session.


Every Child Ready to Read Early Literacy Webinar

This informational webinar is an introduction to the Every Child Ready to Read program and resources. The State Library has 10 ECRR kits that can be borrowed through ILL. Check the training site for next available session.


Very Ready Reading Program Early Literacy Webinar

This webinar session is an overview of Upstart’s, The Very Ready Reading Program (Birth to 24 months, ages 2-3, and ages 4-5). This turnkey program kit complements the principals of the Every Child Ready to Read program. The State Library of Louisiana has these early literacy kits available through interlibrary loan. Check the training site for next available session.



Past training:

Early Literacy Workshops with Susan Bard

Susan Bard is an Early Literacy Consultant and certified professional trainer. She is currently a trainer for the Every Child Ready to Read @ your library® program. She presents early literacy training and children’s programming workshops for library systems, childcare providers and the public.


Story Times and Puppets Workshops with Diane McMahon

Enhance your story hours with puppetelling - storytelling with puppets. Puppetelling makes literature visually exciting and creates an appreciation of literature. It is not “putting on a show” or “performing.”  Rather, it is an informal “presentation” and sharing of literature.


The Very Ready Reading Program

This is a storytime curriculum from Demco and Upstart. The program provides developmentally appropriate storytime content broken down by the developmental needs of each age group. It provides librarians and educators with information on making storytimes engaging and how to involve parents in developing children’s early literacy skills.  The State Library has these products available for checkout and through Interlibrary Loan.


Early Literacy Resources

The Bookworm

The Bookworm is published monthly from the Idaho Commission for Libraries in English and Spanish for each of three age levels: Infants/Toddlers (ages 0-2); Preschool (ages 3-5); and Kindergarten (ages 5-6). If you would like to subscribe to The Bookworm you will receive each month's issue(s) by email.

Grow Up Reading

This resource from the West Bloomfield Township Public Library provides early literacy articles, tips and activities to help children grow up reading. 

Nursery Rhyme Resources

Nursery rhymes help young children become ready to learn to read. Caregivers can use these resources to work with children to develop early literacy skills using nursery rhymes.

Ready at Five

This program from Maryland, promotes a foundation of skills needed to succeed in life. The website provides comprehensive tips sheets, activity calendars for parents to promote early literacy, and free e-newsletters.  

U.S. Department of Education: Helping Your Child Become a Reader

This page lists resources, strategies, example activities for parents and care givers on early literacy as well as resources for what to do if you believe your child has a problem reading.

Zero to Three

Zero to Three is a nonprofit that focuses on providing resources to help infants and toddlers for their first three years of life by supporting parents, families, and professionals in their communities.

Tips for Sharing a Book with a Child

1. Tell a child about the pictures in a book using your own words. Point to the pictures as you describe them.
2. When you read the book to a child, point to the words as you read. This helps the child to know that you are saying the words on the page and not just talking about the pictures.
3. After a child has become familiar with the rhyme, when you read it, stop before the last word on the page and let the child say the last word.
4. Encourage the child to tell YOU about the pictures. This will help the child to learn new words.
a. Pick out something in the picture that you want the child to notice.
b. Ask the child, “Where’s the _____?” and wait for the child to point to it.
If the child points correctly:
• Say, “Yes! That’s the _____!”
• Say something else about the object in the picture, like, “Yes! That’s the lamb. The lamb is smelling the flowers.”
• When you can, show the child a real example of things in the pictures.
If the child points to something else:
• Say, “That’s the _____” and tell the child what it is.
• Then say, “Here’s the _______” and point to the thing you wanted the child to notice.
• After a little while you share the book with the child, ask again, “Where’s the ______?”