For Grown-ups

What Can You Do to Help Build Literacy Skills for your child? 

  • Talk, Read, Play, Sing, Draw, Write. Have fun!
  • Read books you both like.
  • Stop (or shift gears) when it is no longer fun. Length of time is not important; enjoyment is!
  • Tell family stories!
  • Read a lot of books.

Parenting Resources

Online Resources by Subject
Information for Students and Teachers
Novelist K to 8: For readers. Recommended reads lists and more.
Common Core State Standards Initiative
Wisconsin's Digital Library Look for ebooks. Meet LIBBY, an easy way to borrow and read from your library.
Lexile Framework for Reading

What is Early Literacy? 

More resources are available here.




  • The family storytelling handbook : how to use stories, anecdotes, rhymes, handkerchiefs, paper, and other objects to enrich your family traditions by Pellowski, Anne; Sweat, Lynn.
  • Playing with Stories: Story Crafting for Storytellers, Writers, Teachers and Other Imaginative Thinkers by Kevin Cordi.
  • The parent's guide to storytelling : how to make up new stories and retell old favorites by MacDonald, Margaret Read. 
  • Scrapbook storytelling : save family stories and memories with photos, journaling and your own creativity by Campbell-Slan, Joanna.
  • Telling your story by Apps, Jerold W.
  • Awakening the hidden storyteller : how to build a storytelling tradition in your family by Moore, Robin.
  • Mothers, tell your daughters : stories by Campbell, Bonnie Jo.
  • Telling Your Own Stories by Davis, Donald.
  • The art of storytelling from parents to professionals / [sound recording] :
    by Harvey, Hannah Blevins.

Talk of the Town | Karen Wendt | South Central Library System | 11/1/16




Learning to read begins at birth. Parents, caregivers and librarians can reinforce and help grow brain connections through five practices that will help a child develop the foundation needed to read. Practiced regularly, these activities will help a child develop the six early literacy skills and be prepared to learn to read. Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play. To learn more, click here.
Early literacy is everything a child knows about reading and writing before he or she can read or write. Six basic skills comprise early literacy and help determine whether a child will be ready to learn to read and write. The six skills that help prepare children for reading include:

PRINT AWARENESS: includes noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the written word on the page.
Why Is It Important?
Children have to be aware of words before they can read them. They need to know how books work--which is the front cover, what's upside down and right side up, which page to start on, how to look from left to right on each line of text.
When kids are comfortable with books, with how to open a book and where the story starts and what those black squiggles are, they can concentrate on starting the decoding process.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Read board books that your child can handle on their own; let them turn the pages as you read together.
Sometimes point to the words as you read.
Talk about print even when you are not reading together. Look for letters and words on signs and labels and lists.

LETTER KNOWLEDGE: includes knowing that letters are different from each other, knowing letter names and sounds, and recognizing letters everywhere.
Why Is It Important?
To read words, children have to understand that a word isn’t one single thing—it’s made up of smaller things, and those smaller things are letters.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Look at and talk about different shapes (letters are based on shapes)—circles, triangles with diagonals, squares.
Play “same and different” type games.
Look at “search for the picture” books.
Notice different type styles of letters (“a” or “A”) on signs and in books.
Read ABC books.
Talk about and draw the letters of a child's own name.

VOCABULARY: includes knowing the names of things.
Why Is It Important?
It's much easier to decode a word on the page when it's a word you already know. So children with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out. Children who understand what they're reading are more motivated to keep reading.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Encourage children to learn their native home language first; this makes learning another language (speaking and reading) easier later.
Talk with children in positive and conversational ways; commands, “fussing,” and “no’s” do not encourage language development.
Carry on lots of conversations with children.
Explain the meanings of new words.
Read books! Picture books use a different vocabulary than casual spoken conversation.

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS: includes hearing and playing with the smaller sounds of words and recognizing that words are made up of a number of different sounds.
Why Is It Important?
Children who can hear how words "come apart" into separate sounds will be more successful at "sounding out" words when they start to read.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Sing songs; most break words up into one syllable per note. Reading works with syllables also.
Recite rhymes; rhymes depend upon ending sounds.
Play with tongue twisters.
Pick a sound for the day. Notice it at the beginning of words and at the end of words

NARRATIVE SKILLS: include describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events (sequencing), and making predictions (what might happen next).
Why Is It Important?
If children can describe something, they have an understanding of it. If children can tell what’s happening in a story they’re reading, they are comprehending the story and not just the sounds of each individual word. Understanding what they're reading is crucial to helping them stay motivated to keep reading. If they don’t understand what they’re reading, they won’t care, and they won't want to put in the practice they need to become fluent readers.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversations rather than yes/no or right/wrong answers.
Talk about your day and its series of events.
Mix up the events in a story; make it silly!
Guess what comes next—or come up with a different ending.
Read stories without words; they really help focus on this skill.
Name objects, feelings, and events.