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Every Child Ready to Read: Reading Tips

Last week, a teenager walked into the Library and asked me for books that would teach their three year-old sibling to read. Apparently, the summer project they had been charged with included getting that kid to read. I raised my right eyebrow, as I do, and said, “Let’s go for a walk.”

We talked about what their sibling enjoyed – bears, animals and adventure. As I started pulling books on these topics, we talked about early literacy activities that would lead to confident reading skills.

I assured this overwhelmed teenager that the most important thing they could do to move towards this goal was to instill a love of reading. If reading is fun, then learning will feel fun for the little one. The best place to start is to find books that will seem interesting and to explore them together.

Reading Warriors in action

If you have a child in your life who you hope will learn to read, one critical activity you can do together is READ.


  • Reading is a bonding activity. The child has your full attention, and this creates a positive feeling.
  • Reading increases vocabulary because books contain words we do not use in everyday conversation.
  • Reading together before a child knows how to read helps them learn how books and language work. ​
  • Reading encourages imaginative thinking​, which is necessary for critical reasoning skills.


  • Ask open-ended questions​. How does the elephant feel? What do you think will happen next?
  • Point to written words on the page and say them out loud​.
  • Use books as an opportunity to master the alphabet. How many “M’s” do you see here? What sound does “M” make? Can we think of any “M” words?
  • Relate what you read to real life​. We took a ride on a bus once, just like Pete the Cat. Do you remember where we were going? What happened?
  • Research or talk about the meaning of new vocabulary words.

Reading is one of five activities you can incorporate into your daily routine to help your child get ready to read. These activities are part of an initiative called Every Child Ready to Read that is rooted in public libraries as cornerstones of early literacy in communities.

Angela is a Children’s & Teen Librarian at CLP – Squirrel Hill. She is an extremely slow reader and bicyclist, but really loves both.

Find a good book to explore with your child! Check out some titles that Children’s Specialists have hand picked just for you.

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