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?”

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 on this pathfinder and try taking a picture walk with your child to encourage conversation.

How to take a Picture Walk:

  • Look at the cover
  • Point out the title and author
  • Talk about the illustration; ask your child what he or she thinks the story will be about.
  • “Walk” through the book, one page at a time.
  • Talk about the characters and predict what might happen to them
  • Ask your child “How do you think the story will end?”
  • When doing a “picture walk” remember to take turns talking- listen to what your child has to say.

Wordless Picture Books

  • The Boy, The Bear, The Baron and The Bard by Gregory Rogers (E Rogers)
  • A Boy, A Dog, and A Frog by Mercer Mayer (E Mayer)
  • Carl’s Masquerade by Alexandra Day (E Day)
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson ( E Thomson)
  • Clementina’s Cactus by Ezra Jack Keats (E Keats)
  • Colors Everywhere by Tana Hoban (E Hoban)
  • Dinosaur! by Peter Sis (E Sis)
  • Dinosaur Dream by Robin Michael Koontz (E Koontz)
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner (E Wiesner)
  • The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang (E Bang)
  • Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri (E Tafuri)
  • Home by Jeannie Baker (E Baker)
  • I See a Song by Eric Carle (E Carle)
  • The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (E Pinkney)
  • Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman (E Fleischman)
  • Time Flies by Eric Rohmann (E Rohmann)
  • Trucks by Donald Crew (E Crew)
  • Wave by Suzy Lee (E Lee)
  • Welcome to the Zoo by Allison Jay (E Jay)
  • Window by Jeannie Baker (E Baker)

Factual Books

Factual books are great conversation starters. Let us know what 
your child is interested in and we can help you find some great books.


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

Adult Books on Child Development                                                    

  • At a Loss For Words: How American Is Failing Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Betty Bardige (372.21 Bardige)
  • Baby Read-Aloud Basics: Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little One Discover the World of Words by Caroline Blakemore (372.4 Blakemore)
  • Building Literacy With Love: A Guide For Teachers and Caregivers of Children From Birth Through Age 5 by Betty Bardige (372.6 Bardige)
  • Simple Signing for Young Children: A Guide for Infant, Toddler and Preschool Teachers by Carol Garboden Murray (419 Murray)
  • Talk to Me Baby!: How You Can Support Young Children's Language Development by Betty Bardige (372.6 Bardige)

GCLS Catalog

Go to

Search Termssubject: child development

AWE- Early Literacy Station Computer

Talk about the games and activities you are playing together


Go to our eReference Center and choose Kids' Sites.

TumbleBook Library (animated talking picture books)

Online Calendar

Go to to view the current month's schedule of events.