Raise a Reader

Six Pre-reading Skills by Age Six


Children do not wake up one day with the ability to read. These skills are developed over time. There are 6 skills that children need to develop before they can learn to read, and developing these skills begins when they are babies. Parents can make a huge difference in how easily a child learns to read. When you READ, TALK, SING, PLAY, RHYME, COUNT and PRETEND with your child, you are helping develop his/her 6 pre-reading skills. Build a reader! The six pre-reading skills are:

  1. Enjoying Books (print motivation)

    Have fun reading with your child. It is so good for them, and if you stop, unplug, take a breath and enjoy the time reading and growing with your child, it’s good for you too. Visit the library regularly to stock up on great books for you and your child. Children who see adults reading for pleasure are more likely to be readers. **Library cards are FREE and take only a moment to get. Children may also get cards. In fact, we encourage it!

  2. Noticing Print is Everywhere (print awareness)

    Print is everywhere — signs, directions, news, food labels, mail, bumper stickers, etc. Have fun pointing out what things say as you are out and about or at home.

  3. Words, Words, Words (vocabulary)

    Children learn to speak by listening to you talk— so talk, talk, talk to your babies! While learning to speak, they are building skills that will help them learn to read too! Read to your child. Children learn new words by hearing and seeing them. Describe what you see (color, size, shape), describe sounds that you hear, tell stories about your day, ask your child questions about what he/she sees, explain things that you’re doing as you’re doing them, etc…

  4. Telling Stories (narrative skills)

    Imagination is the key to all new ideas! Encourage your child to pretend and play make believe. Help your child tell stories by asking questions that stir imagination.

    If you ran the zoo, what animals would be there? If the moon could talk, what would it say? If you were driving, where would you take us? Where is that squirrel going?

  5. The Alphabet (letter knowledge)

    Point out letters when you see them, and connect them to sounds. You can make it a game when you’re driving or shopping — “Let’s find things that start with c—cart, cooler, cat, cactus, car, can, cheese…”

  6. Talking (speech and language development)

    Take time to rhyme, sing and play word games. Going to the store? Make up a “going to the store” song for the drive or walk there. Sing nursery rhymes or old favorites whenever you get a chance. Bath time, car time, dinner time, anytime you’re waiting together is a great time to rhyme and play word games. Cat, hat, sat, mat, that, rat, gnat, flat, splat, bat… Playing word games is a fantastic boredom buster.

Plus Library Time


There are thousands of books for babies, children, teens and adults available at the library. Make a visit to the library a regular stop for your family, and stock up on great reads. Fun and interesting library programs are offered throughout the year at no charge for you to enjoy. Plus, our story times are designed to help your child develop the six pre-reading skills listed above. We welcome you to stop by and enjoy your library today!