Weekly Topics: Early Literacy & General Parenting

Family Place™ Libraries acknowledge the role of parents and other caregivers as a child’s first true teacher, providing them with the information they need to be the best teacher they can be. By providing a dedicated Parenting Collection and an extensive collection of children’s materials that families can explore, our libraries help your child get an early start gaining important literacy skills. 

Early Literacy and General Parenting 

Reading, talking, singing, and playing with your child from an early age gives your child an opportunity to love reading and learning. From infancy, children begin learning primarily by watching parents and other caregivers model the social emotional, cognitive, and fine motor skills needed to succeed. Our playgroup sessions incorporate a play-based curriculum that provides chances for caregivers to demonstrate appropriate interactions with others and allowing children to develop their own problem-solving and empathy skills. Caregivers also serve as instructional models for building literacy skills by emphasizing daily reading time and engagement with books, like pointing out the words on the page or asking questions. Reading with your child at least once everyday is linked to higher academic success.  

Click here for some common questions and answers about early literacy and general parenting. 

The following are great strategies to incorporate into daily reading times for all ages: 

  • Point to each word as you read. This helps your child connect the words on the page with the story and illustrations. 
  • Ask your child to make a prediction based on the title. Asking your child to make predictions about a story based on the title or cover encourages him or her to keep making predictions before reading a book for the rest of his or her life. 
  • Take “picture walks.” Use the clues in the pictures to help your child tell the possible story before reading. 
  • Model excitement for reading. Read slowly, with an emphasis on pronunciation along with an attitude that shows that reading can be exciting for everyone. You’re also modeling how intonation and varying pitch contribute to the story. 
  • Ask questions after every story. Encouraging the practice of reading and reflecting on stories from an early age teaches your child critical thinking and analytical skills. 
  • Connect reading and writing. Write down a sentence or story that your child shares with you. This helps your child understand how his or her words and story can turn into print that is read and shared with others. 

For more information, check out this resource


Healthy Development and Positive Parenting Practices 

Just as children learn successful reading habits from watching their caregivers model best reading practices, they also learn how to be happy and healthy from watching how adults behave and socialize with the people around them. The most brain growth happens by your child’s eighth birthday, with the first three years of life being when the most brain development occurs. 

There are many things you can do to ensure that you child develops the skills they need to become independent and healthy. The sections below share some tips to try as your child grows. 


Infants: Birth to One Year 
  • Talk to your baby. Small children find your voice comforting. 
  • Answer when your baby “talks.” This helps your child build language skills early on and anticipate the back-and-forth of conversation. 
  • Read to your baby. Hearing spoken words helps your child understand the sounds we use to communicate. 
  • Sing and play music. This stimulates brain development and encourages a lifetime love for music. 
  • Hold your child. Physical contact instills a sense of security. 
  • Distract your child with toys. Provide positive redirection if your baby is interested in something they should not be playing with. 
  • Take care of yourself. You can be the best caregiver when you are well rested, happy, and healthy. 

For more information, check out this resource


Toddlers: One to Three Years 
  • Read to your toddler. Begin getting in the habit of sharing stories daily. 
  • Ask your toddler to find objects by name. This helps your child understand that words represent objects. 
  • Play games with your toddler. Matching, shape sorting and similar puzzles help your child develop problem-solving skills. 
  • Respond to good behavior. Make sure that you are rewarding what you’d like your child to do more than engaging with his or her bad behavior. A time-out is an appropriate response to unwanted behavior. 
  • Go on field trips. Explore your world and encourage your child’s growing sense of curiosity. 

For more information, check out this resource for toddlers between one and two years old or this resource for toddlers between two and three years old. 


Preschoolers:  Three to Five Years 
  • Keep reading to your preschooler. Encourage a love for reading by visiting the library together. 
  • Involve your child in chores. Asking your child to do tasks appropriate to his or her age helps your child learn a sense of helpfulness and responsibility. 
  • Be consistent when dealing with unwanted behavior. Be clear with your child about the behavior that needs correcting. 
  • Speak in complete sentences. Use “grown up” words to help your child develop better language skills and vocabulary. 
  • Help your child help themselves. Work through problems together step-by-step when your child is upset or frustrated. 

For more information, check out this resource


Library Resources 

Here are just a few resources for additional information about early literacy and parenting available at the Plano Public Library. 

Books 

eBooks 

DVD 

Kanopy 

Additional Resources 

Other early literacy and general parenting resources are available online. 

Websites 

Apps 

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