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

Note: Speak to your child in the language you know best.

  • Encourage babble – imitate what they say
  • Stay silent so they can talk back
  • Use all kinds of words even if they don’t understand
  • Speak in “Parentese”- elongated vowels, high pitch, exaggerated facial  expressions and short, simple sentences
  • Add signing to their babble to help your child be understood- signing aids in speech development
  • Narrate what you are doing- “I’m folding the socks and then I’m going to put them away”
  • Ask your toddler to tell you about something that happened to him or her today; ask for more details so your child can expand on the story
  • Ask questions that have more than a yes or no answer. This will get your child to think about possible answers and ask more questions
  • Ask open ended questions- “Why do you think that happened?”
  • Take a Picture Walk- look at the cover, talk about the illustration, “walk” through the book one page at a time and ask for predictions.


The Gloucester County Library System has thousands of children’s books that will get you and your child talking. We also have books for adults on child development.  Check out some of the books in our catalog and try taking a picture walk with your child to encourage conversation.

  • Carl’s Masquerade by Alexandra Day (E Day)
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson ( E Thomson)
  • A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson (E Lawson)
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner (E Wiesner)
  • Forever Home by Henry Cole (E Cole)
  • Be Quiet by Ryan T. Higgins
  • The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (E Pinkney)
  • Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake by Barbara Lehman (E Lehman)
  • Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman (E Fleischman)
  • Spring Hare by Eugene Yelchin (E Yelchin)
  • Time Flies by Eric Rohmann (E Rohmann)
  • Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer (E Sauer)
  • Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne Jones (E Jones)
  • Baby Talk by Harriet Ziefert (BDBK Ziefert)
  • Strega Nona by Tomie DePaolo (E Depaolo)
  • Emily’s Magic Words by Peggy Post (E Post)
  • Can You Who Too? by Harriet Ziefert (E Ziefert)
  • Let’s Sign Baby! by Kelly Ault (BDBK Ault)

Signing DVDs can be found under the call number J DVD 419

  • Baby Sign Language for Hearing Babies by Karen Warburton (419 Warburton)
  • Games for Reading: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Read by Peggy Kaye (649.58 Kaye)
  • Reading for Our Lives: A Literary Action Plan from Birth to Six by Maya Payne Smart (372.4 Smart)
  • Talk to Me Baby!: How You Can Support Young Children’s Language Development by Betty Bardige (372.6 Bardige)
  • Teach Your Baby to Sign: An Illustrated Guide to Simple Sign Language for Babies by Monica Beyer (419 Beyer)