The Five Practices

Learning to read begins at birth. Parents, caregivers, and librarians can reinforce and help grow brain connections through five practices that will help a child develop the foundation for reading. Practiced regularly, these activities will help a child develop the six early literacy skills and be prepared to learn to read.
  1. Read
  2. Write
  3. Sing
  4. Talk
  5. Play
The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.

Print Motivation

The more fun a child has reading books, the more likely they will become an independent reader. Read all types of books that a child might enjoy, including pop-ups, wordless books, fiction, and non-fiction.
Print Awareness
Children who spend time with books gradually learn the book basics that will allow them to jump right into reading when they are in school.
Letter Knowledge
Learning letter names, shapes, and sounds is a building block to being able to sound out words on a page.  Reading books and looking at letters throughout is a great way to help children make the connection between letters and words.  Shapes are the precursor to letters so even the youngest children are preparing to learn letters by learning their shapes!
Picture book texts have a higher incidence of rare and less common words than typical conversations. Multiple readings of picture books provide children with repeated exposure to new words. Providing short definitions can help children learn new words while you read.
Phonological Awareness
Language games such as rhyming, tongue twisters, and playing with syllables help children begin to learn phonological awareness. Rhyming books, books that incorporate songs, and nursery rhymes all help build these skills.
Narrative Skills

Conversation before, during, and after stories, retelling, and asking children open-ended questions all help children think about the story they just read and learn sequencing, which all help build comprehension skills.