Birth to K

You are your child's first teacher!

Children are born learners and the get ready to read years before they go to school.

  • Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life.
  • Children with books in the home have a better chance for a good start in school.
  • Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves.

Help your child get ready to read with these simple activities.


Children learn language and other early literacy skills by listening to their parents and others talk. As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean, and they learn about the world around them.


Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words.


Reading together is the single most important way to help get children ready to read. Reading together builds vocabulary and general knowledge. It helps children learn how print looks and how books work.


Reading and writing go together. Children can learn pre-reading skills through drawing and writing.


Children learn a lot about language through play. Play helps children think symbolically, so they understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences. Play helps children express themselves and put thoughts into words.

What is Early Literacy?

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school. Early literacy activities include a baby chewing on a book, a toddler who wants a favorite story read over and over, and a preschooler who "reads" the story to you from memory.

What Can I Do to Prepare My Child to Read?

You are the key to your child's success. When you read, talk, sing, and play with your child, you're stimulating the growth of your child's brain and building the connections that will become the building blocks for reading and for life-long learning.

Find out more about what you can do to help your baby and toddler or your preschooler get ready to read.

Visit the Library

The library is a place for stories, imagination, play, and learning. The library's 13 locations feature children's areas and collections to stimulate your child's growing mind.

Attend a storytime with your child at one of the library's 13 locations. Storytimes are engaging ways to prepare your child for reading and kindergarten. We even have storytimes in world languges!

Get Book Recommendations

Use Beanstack to discover our favorite books and apps, matched to your child's age and interests.

Stay in Touch!

Subscribe to the Birth to K newsletter for monthly information on child development from birth to kindergarten and tips on how to stimulate your child's growing mind.

For Parents and Caregivers

Find our more about kindergarten readiness and childhood development.