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Helping young children be ready to learn to read does not have to be hard – in fact, the best ways are simple and inexpensive. Here are my top five tips:


Play! Items you already have around the house make great toys that don’t break the bank. Boxes, tubes, pots and pans and old magazines are all tons of fun for young children.  Simple toys encourage creativity and imagination.

Sing! Singing develops phonological awareness by helping children to hear the smaller parts of words. Songs can also introduce new vocabulary while cementing the bond between child and caregiver.  Don’t worry about how well you sing – I promise your child will love it no matter what.  If you are stumped for songs, you can check out or download music from the library.

Talk! Make eye contact and talk with your child. Research shows again and again that talking with children builds their vocabulary and understanding of the world around them.  A voice on the television or caregivers talking to other adults near a child does not have the same affect. Respond to your children when they babble or talk and give them new words to use.

Read!  I hear from parents all the time about children who won’t sit still for the 20 recommended daily reading minutes.  Since I can barely do that either, I have a great deal of sympathy for those children.  It is fine if children stand (or walk, or run!) while sharing books. You can also break your time into smaller chunks. Read while you are waiting for appointments or in the check out line at the store. Sneak in a book during snack time or while your child is in the bath.

Write! Children as young as 15 months enjoy exploring art and writing materials. For young children, art and writing skills are the same thing! Let your child make marks on paper or the sidewalk with crayons, paint or markers. For a no mess option – try this project from our pinterest page.

Join us at the Covington Library on Saturday April 18th for our annual Early Childhood Literacy Fair from 10:30 – 1:30.  Free books for children, developmental screening for children under 36 months, balloon animals, early literacy activities, activities from the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Contemporary Art Center and a Concert with family favorite Zak Morgan at 1:00!  It’s always a great time filled with helpful information from community partner and plenty of prizes for the children.

-Amy Schardein, Early Childhood Librarian

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