The First Steps in Lifelong Literacy

Children develop the skills they need to read years before they start school. As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s first and best teacher. Western Allegheny Community Library can help you get started!

  • Learn about the six early literacy skills your child needs to know before learning to read.
  • Share books with your child again and again.
  • Play, sing and tell stories with your child.
  • Sign up for our library programs they are all designed to help develop early literacy skills.
  • Borrow free books and more from the library.

The 6 Early Literacy Skills

  1. Print Motivation: I like books!
    Children enjoying books is Print Motivation.  Children who love books will want to learn how to read.
  2. Phonological Awareness: I hear words!
    Phonological Awareness is playing with words and sounds through singing and rhymes. This skill will help children to sound out words on their own.
  3. Vocabulary: I know words!
    Vocabulary is knowing the names of things.  Books offer vocabulary that conversation and television do not.
  4. Narrative Skills: I can tell a story!
    Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read, which is a Narrative Skill.
  5. Print Awareness: I see words!
    Print Awareness includes noticing print on a page, reading from left to righ, from the beginning to the end, knowing upside down from right side up.
  6. Letter Knowledge: I know letters!
    Letter knowledge includes learning that each letter has its own shape, sound and name.

For more information visit the Every Child Ready to Read website.

Building Blocks Program

The Building Blocks program at the Western Allegheny Community Library is designed to introduce children to the joys of reading and encourage parents and caregivers to read aloud to their babies every day.  Through a generous donation from the Oakdale Masonic Lodge, we are able to provide the Building Blocks Pack free of charge.  The first few years of a child’s life will determine much of what comes after, as the brain development taking place at this time shapes us for the rest of our lives. This is why it is so important, as your baby’s first teacher, to  help foster important early literacy skills through the use of books. Reading, talking, playing, and singing are crucial to a child’s growth and development.

Parents can sign up for the program during baby storytime or anytime at the customer service desk by filling out a registration form. Each Building Blocks Pack includes:

  • A baby-friendly board book
  • Activity guide with songs and rhymes
  • List of the Best Books for Babies
  • Reusable bag for books
  • Information on the importance of reading to your child