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​Learn to Read

Early literacy begins with you! Children are ready to learn the minute they are born. Talk, sing, read, write and play with your child to lay the foundation for a future of reading success!


First Five Years: TALK!

That's it! Talk to your little ones. Narrate your day. Offer them language and don't skimp on the vocabulary! The more words your pre-readers hear, the more they will learn how language works and that will prepare them to learn to read. Do you speak more than one language? Use all the languages you know; their growing brains will be better for it.

Suggested activities: Make a grocery list together, narrate a car trip, or do a "picture walk" through a picture book (any book will do, but try out our suggested wordless picture books to get started). 


First Five Years: SING!Kids learn the sounds and rhythm of language best when listening to and singing songs. Take the lead and teach your child a few of your favorites. Need a little inspiration?
Attend a storytime and learn lots of kid-friendly music.

Check out some of our music picks for kids: Kindie Rocks!,Baby Rock!, and Kids' Music for Hip Families.

Download free digital music for kids on Freegal.


First Five Years: READ! A major key to learning to read is...reading! Read together, model reading behaviors and give your child access to as many print sources as possible.
Need a suggestion for a book to read together?

Try these lists of our recommendations:
Read to Me or Family Faves.  Do you speak Spanish? Check out our Nací Para Leer list.

Is your child tech-savvy? Discover online, interactive books fromTumbleBook Library. For Spanish books, try TumbleBook Biblioteca.


First Five Years: WRITE!Crayons, paints, markers, fingers in shaving cream on a tabletop. Make writing activities available to your child and let them "scribble" their way to writing, a skill that will help them better absorb the concept of reading. Start with scribbled circles, move on to freestyle lines and shapes and then have them try the first letter of their name.

Is your child ready to practice letters? Print out handwriting practice worksheets at this website.


First Five Years: PLAY!Kids learn through play.  Let them let loose! Play at home, at the park or at one of the library's First Five Years spaces. These spaces include interactives, board books and are made just for kids ages birth to 5 and their families.

Explore the Valley's museums with a Culture Pass, available for checkout at each of our 17 locations. A Culture Pass provides admission for two at one of 12 cultural institutions including the Children's Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Phoenix Zoo.

Play online with our recommended kids' games. (Please note:  only some of the games included on this list are suitable for preschoolers.)

Every library storytime includes play. Whether within the storytime (bubbles! shakers! the parachute!) or after the program, during community time, storytimes offer kids a chance to play with new things and new people.

​Talk! Sing! Read! Write! Play!

Doing these things prepares your child for reading success. Watch a mom and daughter share language and practice many of these early literacy activities to see just how easy and fun it can be!

These activities recommended by Every Child Ready to Read, a national early literacy initiative.