Before children can learn to read, they must develop a range of early literacy skills. Learning these skills, which begins at birth, has a long- term impact on children’s reading achievement and academic success. Children who enter school with well-developed early literacy skills have an advantage; they are ready to learn to read (Every Child Ready to Read, 2nd Edition).

Activities to do at Home

Allow your child to select the hand they wish to write with. Hand items
to your child or place them in front of him/her. Do not force writing instruments 
into a particular hand.


  • Encourage fine motor skills with fingerplay. (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Where is Thumbkin)
  • Give your baby items to hold and manipulate in their hands.
  • Speak to your baby and say words of items they see. (cat, mom, dish, etc.)
  • Expose your child to books. Seeing words written will encourage reading and writing.
  • Read to your child.


  • Provide your toddler with crayons in a supervised environment.
  • Encourage playing with puzzles as this increases fine motor skills.
  • Give your child snacks such as Cheerios to build muscles and coordination in hands and fingers.
  • Read to your child. Picture dictionaries are a great activity. Point to the words as you read them to your child.  Point out starting sounds (M is for Mom)


  • Practice writing words. Start with their name.
  • Provide supervised activities with scissors and writing instruments.
  • READ - READ - READ. 

How to get your child writing

  • Invest in an erasable white board and markers.
  • Draw their name in dots and have them connect the dots.
  • Correct backwards and upside down letters.  Don’t allow bad habits.
  • Point out words in your everyday life  (Stop signs, McDonalds, etc.)
  • Provide a picture dictionary with bold words.
  • Allow your child to draw and write on paper.
  • Remember the more your child reads, the better they will write.

Books that will assist in writing skills

The library has numerous alphabet and word books available to you and
your child . The more you read to your child, the better they will speak, write,
and communicate. These skill will carry them through their school years and 
into adult life. 

Reading is Key! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • My First Dictionary by Archie Bennett (J423 BEN)
  • My Favorite Word Book by Selina Young (J428.1 Young)
  • Play With Letters series by Jane Belk Moncure (E Moncure))
  • C Is For Curious by Woodleigh Hubbard (E Hubbard)
  • Kipper’s A to Z by Mick Inkpen (E Inkpen)
  • Opposites by Sue Hendra (J428.1 Hendra)
  • Preschool Arts and Crafts by Grace Jasmine (LM372.55 Jasmine)
  • The Busy Mom’s Book of Preschool Activities by Jane Kyle (372.13)
  • Nursery Rhyme Time by Ru Story-Huffman (LM372.1332 Story)
  • Cut and Create Mother Goose by Kim Rankin (372.55 Rankin)

Letter and Phonics DVDs can be found in J DVD 372

Many DVD’s are available on language development (i.e. Sesame Street, Barney,
Baby Einstein, etc.)

Adult Books on Child Development                                                    

  • Baby Read-Aloud Basics: Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little One Discover the World of Words by Caroline Blakemore
  • Child: How Children Think, Learn and Grow in the Early Years by Desmond Morris (612.654 Morris)
  • Ready for Preschool: Prepare Your Child for Happiness and Success at School by Nancy Hertzog (649 Hertzog)
  • Simple Signing for Young Children: A Guide for Infant, Toddler and Preschool Teachers by Carol Garboden Murray (419 Murray)
  • Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach (618.92 Leach)

GCLS Catalog

Go to www.gcls.org/catalog

Search Termssubject: child development


Go to our eReference Center and choose Kids' Sites.

TumbleBook Library (animated talking picture books)

Online Calendar

Go to www.gcls.org/calendar to view the current month's schedule of events.