Early Literacy Skills

Language and literacy development begins at birth and provides the foundation for a child’s success in school. It encompasses the skills related to listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Early literacy skills are defined as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that come before, and lead up, to conventional reading and writing.

Did you know that your child begins using early reading skills to read from the time they are born? 

You may not know it, but when you talk, sing, read and play with your child, you are building important skills and teaching them to love books. The more stories you can read and tell your child, the better!

We have a “Pre-K Recommended Literature” list below of eight great books that you can find at the Nashville Public Library or buy them from your local bookstore.

No matter what book you read to your child, here are a few things to remember:

  • Choose books that you and your child enjoy! If you start a book and decide it’s not for you, it’s OK to put it down and try a different one. Ask your local librarian or bookseller for books they recommend.
  • Read with expression.  Make sound effects, do different voices for characters—whatever makes it fun for you and your child!
  • Make it interactive! Are there words or phrases that get repeated?  Have your child join in.
  • Read the pictures.  Did you know you can read a book without ever reading the words? Look at the pictures and have your child tell you the story they see.  You can help them out by asking questions like, “What’s happening here?” “What do you see?” or “What do you think will happen next?”
  • Talk about the book.  The story doesn’t have to end on the last page. Talk about what you read.  What did you like?  What didn’t you like? Can you connect what you read to your life?

There are many ways for you to support your child’s early literacy and language development.  


Pre-K Recommended Literature at Your Local Library & Free Activity Sheets

Below is a  list of “Pre-K Recommended Literature” for your child, as well as activity sheets to support at home learning. The activity sheets, which you can download on this page for free, provide additional learning opportunities for each of the essential literature books. We have included a version for parents and families to use at home and a version for teachers to use in schools. (Teachers can download activity sheets on our Educators page.)