Early Literacy Skills

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Six skills that will prepare your child for reading and writing in the future.

Mom and toddler reading a picture bookPrint Motivation

Print motivation is interest and enjoyment in books and words. Promote your child’s enjoyment of books by reading books together that you both enjoy. Reading should be fun! When they aren’t enjoying reading time anymore, take a break and do something else. Let your child see you reading books that you enjoy.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological Awareness hearing and playing with the sounds that make up words. You can encourage this skill by rhyming and singing. Read nursery rhymes and Mother Goose books. Imitate the sounds of animals, cars, and other things. Clap out words to emphasize syllables.

Print Awareness

Print Awareness is noticing print in the world around us, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow print on a page. Run your fingers under some words as you read books together. Point out words and letters on signs, packaging, and labels. Let your child practice turning pages (board books are perfect for this).


Vocabulary is knowing lots of words. Carry on conversation with your child and introduce new words. Read a variety of books (especially nonfiction) and explain unfamiliar words; don’t replace them.

Narrative Skills

Narrative skills is the ability to describe things, understand the order of events, and tell stories. Ask your child open ended questions. Describe the events of your own day. Guess the endings of books, or make up your own! Read wordless picture books and let your child help tell the story. Name objects, feelings, and events throughout the day.

Letter Knowledge

Letter knowledge is knowing that letters are different from each other and knowing their names and sounds. Sing the ABC song and read ABC books with your child. Practice the names of the letters and the sounds. Talk about the different shapes of letters. Notice different types of letters in books and on signs.