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Reading as an Early Learning Activity

Read, Read, Repeat!

Think about a time when you didn’t want to learn or do something. Did you do a good job? Was it easy? It’s impossible to love all learning all the time. That said, preparing a young child to feel excited about learning new things (and sometimes failing at it) begins with reading. The single best thing you can do to help prepare a child for reading is to share books as often and early as possible.


  • Relate what you read to real life. When you can, compare real objects or examples to the book. We took a ride on a bus once, just like the people in this book. Do you remember where we were going? What happened? Look, here is a tree. There was a tree in the book we just read! Does this tree look like the one in the book?
  • Pause and ask questions while reading. Where is the bicycle? How does the elephant feel? What do you think will happen next?
  • Children are excited to read when their books engage their interests. Get personalized book suggestions using the Library’s Materials Match form. Or find book suggestions for different ages and topics on the Library’s Booklists for Kids & Teens page.
  • Run your finger under written words on the page as you read them aloud. Without your guidance to the print, children will spend most of their attention on images. Attend a Storytime program at the Library to see this and other early learning activities in action!
  • Follow your child’s interest. In some cases, this may mean you spend all your reading time on one page and do not finish a book.
  • If you or your child has a visual impairment or physical disability that limits book handling, register for services from the Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians! You can access a vast collection of talking books, braille, large print titles and literacy kits.


  • Picture books contain words that are not used in everyday conversation. This helps expand a young child’s vocabulary and background knowledge. Find book suggestions for different ages and topics on the Library’s Booklists for Kids & Teens page.
  • Reading is a bonding activity. The child has your full attention which creates a positive feeling they will then associate with books, reading and learning of all kinds.
  • Reading encourages imaginative thinking, which is necessary for critical reasoning skills.
  • Reading helps young children learn how books and language work.

With these ideas in mind, what will you read next with your child? What is something new you will try? What questions do you have that the Library can help with? Ask us in chat, by calling 412.622.3114 or by stopping into your neighborhood Library. Reading is one of five important learning activities. Learn about the other four by revisiting the Early Learning Activities page!

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