First Readers @ Tulsa City-County Library
- Learning to read begins at birth.
- Parents and caregivers are a child’s first and best teachers.
- Learning to read and write is essential to school success.
- Engaging children in simple but powerful activities every day helps them develop early literacy skills and get ready to read. These activities or practices are talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing.
Every Child Ready to Read® is a parent education initiative developed by the American Library Association and the Public Library Association. It provides skills and strategies parents and caregivers can use to help children get ready to read. Every child can become a successful reader and develop a lifelong love of learning. This section offers tips, guidance, and recommendations for parents and caregivers about developing early literacy skills in pre-readers.
The Tulsa City-County Library provides parents & caregivers of children birth to age five with special First Readers packets. These packets are designed to give parents & caregivers vital information about the importance of reading to young children. First Readers packets can be picked up at any Tulsa City-County Library location. Please contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.
First Readers Packet Contents
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Literacy Toolkit
- Zero to Three: Early Language and Literacy
- Every Child Ready to Read
- Reading is Fundamental: Raising Readers
Research has identified five simple activities that can help your child get ready to read. These activities are easy to do with children of any age. You and your child can enjoy them thoughout the day – at home, in the car, or anywhere you spend time together. What YOU do helps your child get ready to read!
- TALKING - Children learn about language by listening to caregivers talk and joining the conversation. Conversations help a child express thoughts, learn what words mean, and gain new information about the world. Any place is a good place to talk with your child! Listen to what your child says, answer questions, add new information, and listen some more!
- SINGING - Songs are a natural way to learn about language. Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words. Sing with your children any chance you have. You don’t need a perfect voice, just some enthusiasm! Play music especially written for children. Check out children’s music CDs from the library.
- READING - Reading together with your children is the single most important way to help them get ready to read. It increases vocabulary and helps children learn how print looks and how books work. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves. Show your child that reading is important by letting him or her see you read.
- WRITING - Reading and writing go together. Writing begins with scribbles and other marks. Encourage children by providing opportunities to draw and write. Talk to your children about what they write or draw. This helps make a connection between spoken and printed language. When your child is ready to write letters, begin with uppercase letters and show examples of your writing.
- PLAYING - Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. Through play, children realize that one thing can stand for another. This also helps children understand that written words stand for real objects and experiences. Encourage children to use their imaginations and “play pretend”. In this way they can create their own stories!
Storytime at the Tulsa City-County Library is the perfect opportunity to engage in all five of these activities with your child. At storytime we read books, sing songs, talk, learn about letters, and play!To find out what storytime programs are taking at your library location check the Tulsa City-County Library Event Guide which is available at all locations or online at www.tulsalibrary.org.
Library Services for First Readers
The best books for very young readers can vary by age and interest. It is important to remember that playing with and chewing on books is totally normal for young children. It is all a part of the way they familiarize themselves with books. Here are some recommended book types for young readers based on age.
Birth to 4 Months
- Stiff cardboard books
- Soft but firm vinyl books
- Simple large pictures set against a contrasting background
4 to 6 Months
- Cloth and soft vinyl books. These are lightweight and compress in babies' hands as they are grasped.
- These books are easier to pick up and can be washed. Don't be surprised if they are tossed on the floor or are explored by mouth!
- Simple, bright pictures against a contrasting background are still the most appealing illustrations.
7 to 9 Months
- Chunky board, block or chubby books. These are small and constructed so that the next page springs up when the previous page is turned.
9 to 13 Months
- Standard cardboard books may be used.
- Pictures of familiar things and activities may be the books babies will like best.
- Novelty books with which children can interact become fun at this age.
12 to 18 Months
- Books with paper pages are increasingly appropriate.
- Books with familiar content are most enjoyed.
- Books with songs or repetitive verses.
- Actual stories may begin to be of interest; but they must be very simple and should relate to the child's experience. These have few words per page.
19 to 36 Months
- Stories about special interest in the toddler's life (e.g. messy eaters, going to bed, sitting on potty chair, etc.)
- Simple stories about how things work help satisfy their urge to ask why.
- Books in which pictures follow the text very closely. They like to try to relate what they hear with what they see.
- Predictable books, which help the child develop the ability to sequence and anticipate events.
How to Share Books
Reading aloud helps your baby learn new words, creates a positive bond to you and leads to lifelong learning! The Tulsa City-County Library is here to help you “raise a reader” by giving you what you need to become your baby’s first and most important teacher.
When to Share Books
- Begin when your child is born.
- Set aside a special time each day, such as nap time or bedtime.
- Take advantage of "waiting" times to share books such as on trips or at the doctor's office.
- Visit the library and attend My First Storytimes. Librarians share songs, rhymes and games with newborns to 24-month-olds and their parents or caregivers. Programs last approximately 20 minutes. To find out what storytime programs are going on at your library check the Tulsa City-County Library Event Guide which is available at all locations, or visit the online Event Guide at http://www.tulsalibrary.org/eventguide/.
How to Share Books
- Find a comfortable place to sit.
- Turn off other distractions -- television, radio or stereo.
- Hold the book so your child can see the page clearly.
- Read with expression.
- Vary the pace of your reading -- slow or fast.
- Involve your toddler by having him or her point out objects, talk about the pictures
- Repeat common words.
- Let your toddler select books to read.
- Reread your child's favorite books whenever asked.
- Recite or sing rhymes from your favorite books.