Early Literacy

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Kids who enjoy books will want to learn how to read.

Literacy starts early with the simplest of activities. Come into the library to use our new early literacy materials like magnet word boards, play cubes, puzzles, blocks and more. At the Main Library and North Quincy use our AWE Early Literacy computer stations. Below you'll find five easy things you can do with your child to encourage early literacy skills and links to resources you can use.

NEW! Find out about our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program and see how many books you can read with your child or children before they reach kindergarten!

Purple circle with a green book being read by two green cranes and the text 1000 Books B4K Thomas Crane Public Library insideOrange circle with the word "talking" in white lettersGreen circle with the word "singing" in white lettersBlue circle with the word "reading" in white lettersPurple circle with the word "writing" in white lettersYellow circle with the word "playing" in black lettersRed circle with the text Parent Resources in white

Orange circle with the word "talking" in white lettersChildren learn language by listening to people around them. Talk to your child and encourage your child to talk to you to teach new words and meanings. Ask your child questions and listen to their answers. Try repeating words to reinforce new vocabulary. When children learn new words by hearing them and using them they will understand them better when they read them later on.

A little girl seated at a computer next to an adult woman.

  • Speak Up! - Activities and ideas for parents to use to encourage children to talk, learn and use new words.
  • Mama Lisa - Mother Goose rhymes to say and repeat with your child.
  • KidZone - Worksheets on many topics to get you and your child talking about new words.
  • Talking Is Teaching - Simple talking activities to do with your child. Available in Spanish as well.


Green circle with the word "singing" in white lettersSongs introduce new words and sounds. Singing also slows down language, making it easier for children to hear the sounds in each word. Singing the alphabet is an easy way to start introducing both singing and the letters that make up our words. Singing nursery rhymes and clapping along with your songs introduces syllables to help children hear each part of the words.

  • Mama Lisa - Songs in many languages from all over the world.
  • The Teacher's Guide - Children's songs with videos and printable lyrics.
  • KiDiddles - Song lyrics and many playable files, searchable by theme.
  • Words for Life - Songs and rhymes along with other early literacy tips for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and older children.


Blue circle with the word "reading" in white lettersReading together is an important way to help children get ready to read. When reading together you share new words with your child while you learn about a new topic. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read on their own as well. Try to read with your child every day. Show your child how to handle and use a book and how the text tells the story along with the pictures.

Mother and toddler reading together on the floor in front of a bookcase.


Purple circle with the word "writing" in white lettersReading and writing go together. Children begin writing skills by scribbling and making other marks with crayons and other writing implements. Encourage this! Offer your child paper and crayons for drawing. Holding a crayon is an early writing skill. Ask your child about what they draw to encourage connections between written language and spoken language.


Yellow circle with the word "playing" in black lettersChildren learn about language and the world around them through play. Children learn to express themselves and put thoughts into words while playing. Let your child play each day. Unstructured play allows children to use their imaginations and create their own stories. Dramatic play allows children to develop narrative skills. Allow your child to play out a story you have read together to encourage your child's understanding of the words in the story.

Baby girl in pink chewing on a small red ball.


Red circle with the text Parent Resources in whiteParents and other caregivers are the first teachers a child has. Even infants and toddlers can pick up important early literacy skills from the adults around them. Early literacy skills will help children both at a young age and when they're older and you are in the best position to help them! Take a look at some of the parent and caregiver resources below for more information on the importance of early literacy skills and how best to support them:

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