Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!
A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners
Home > ELL Topics A-Z > Early Literacy
ELL Topics from A-Z

Early Literacy

Children learn many of the skills they need for reading long before they begin school. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can learn about books and print and begin to learn letter names and letter sounds. These articles provide information on a variety of early literacy topics, including how to support young learners as they develop the skills that form the foundation for learning to read.

This section contains 35 articles.

Sort by: Date | Title
Display: Summaries | Titles only

Patterns and Categorizing

Children begin using their senses to recognize patterns and categorize things at a young age — skills that play an important role in early learning. This tip sheet provides some simple activities, as well as recommended books, that parents can use to help their kids build pattern recognition and categorization skills in science and math.

The Spirit of Día: Celebrating Cuentos Every Day

Early Literacy Instruction in Dual Language Preschools (Spanish/English)

Dr. Karen Ford provides Spanish/English dual-language practitioners with an overview of effective literacy instruction for young children. She includes strategies for supporting early bilingual literacy development, similarities and differences between the two languages and their alphabets, and guidelines for literacy assessment in the preschool classroom.

Environmental Print

Letters are all around us! Here are some ideas to use print found in your everyday environment to help develop your child's reading skills.

8 Strategies for Preschool ELLs' Language and Literacy Development

The Importance of Reading Widely

Sharing lots of different kinds, or genres, of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement 'traditional' fiction. Some are suggestions for read alouds, while others may be ones your child can read on his own.

Use Words to Teach Words

Students who comprehend the most from their reading are those who know a lot about words. These students know about word prefixes, suffixes, word roots, and multiple meanings of words. Families can help develop word knowledge through simple conversations focused on words.

Good Night, Sleep Tight: Preschoolers and Sleep

It's important to remember that a lack of sleep can greatly impact your preschooler's behavior and ability to have a good day at preschool. Try this little experiment with your child to make sure they understand and maintain an appropriate sleep schedule.

How to Read With a Squiggly Baby (or Toddler!)

As parent, you know how important it is to set aside some time everyday to read with your baby or toddler. But you also know how hard it can be for your child to sit still while you read together! If you've got a squiggler in your house, see if these tips help your reading time go a little more smoothly.

Picture This! Using Mental Imagery While Reading

One way to help a child comprehend what he is reading is to encourage him to visualize parts of the story in his mind. These "mind movies" help clarify information, increase understanding, and can include any of the five senses. Try these practices below when reading with your child.

Does My Preschooler Have Delayed Development?

Parents and caregivers want the very best for their children, and therefore are often the first to notice and to worry when they suspect their child may be showing signs of delayed development. Get answers and advice with this easy-to-understand information about developmental delays.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: Math and Literacy for Preschoolers

Even our youngest learners are exposed to math everyday. By providing an environment rich in language and where thinking is encouraged, you can help your preschooler develop important numeracy and literacy skills. Here are four everyday examples of ways to integrate language and math.

Getting Ready to Read: Using Storytelling, Rhymes, and More!

From singing and rhyming to storytelling and acting, these activities will help children to develop a wide array of reading readiness skills.

Selecting Books for Your Child: Finding 'Just Right' Books

How can parents help their children find books that are not "too hard" and not "too easy" but instead are "just right"? Here's some advice.

The Language Development of Younger Internationally Adopted Children

More Than Books at the Library

In addition to a wealth of books, your library most likely will have tapes and CDs of books, musical CDs, movies, computers that you can use, and many more resources. You also might find storytelling programs, books in languages other than English, or programs to help adults learn English or improve their reading.

Library Services for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

As a parent, you are your child's first and most important teacher. Without a doubt, reading with children spells success for early literacy. Taking your children to the library often will help them develop an enjoyment and respect of books from an early age. As soon as you can, it is a good idea to include children — even toddlers — in weekly trips to the library. This articles describes some library resources available for young children.

Tips for Parents of Babies

It's never too early to read to your baby. As soon as your baby is born, he or she starts learning. Just by talking to, playing with, and caring for your baby every day, you help your baby develop language skills necessary to become a reader. By reading with your baby, you foster a love of books and reading right from the start. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Tips for Parents of Toddlers

Being a toddler is all about action. Encourage continued language development and interest in books and reading by keeping things lively and engaging. Everyday experiences are full of opportunities to engage in conversation and develop language skills. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Why Reading to Your Kids in Spanish Will Help Them Become Better Readers

Many parents are hesitant to read to their children in Spanish because they are afraid that it will confuse their children as they try to learn English. In fact, research shows that the opposite is true — reading to a child in their first language will make it easier for them to learn to read in their second language, and the benefits are even greater if a child learns to read in his first language. Read more about these benefits, as well as suggestions for ways to encourage your child's Spanish-language literacy skills in at home!

Tips for Developing Good Reading Habits at Home

Good reading habits start at home! These simple steps that you can take will help your child become a stronger reader and student.

Helping Your Child Succeed: Helpful PreK-12 Tips

Some of the main academic subjects include reading, math, social studies, and science. Whether your child is struggling in a certain area, or you just want to help them get ahead, this article contains tips you can use to help them succeed in every subject, from preschool through high school. There are also suggestions for how to make sure your children are developing socially and staying healthy.

School Issues and Program Information

All schools are held to certain standards based on federal and state laws. This article discusses some of obligations stated in The No Child Left Behind Act, which includes mandatory testing. It also describes the different programs available to English Language Learners and students with disabilities, as well as vocational and college preparatory programs.

How the School System Works

Besides your child's teacher, many other people are involved in your child's education, The more you know about what they do, the more you can help your child.

Pathways to Success:
An AFT Guide for Parents

As a parent, you want the best for your kids. The American Federation of Teachers shares your expectations and knows you can make a big difference in your child's education.

Get Your Child Ready To Read

Even when your child is still a baby, there are things you can do to help him learn! The first three years of life are very important in developing your child's mind and abilities.

Tips for Parents of Kindergartners

Play with letters, words, and sounds! Having fun with language helps your child learn to crack the code of reading. These tips offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

Read early and read often. The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. It's never too early to begin reading to your child! The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Reading for Information

Don't forget to add non-fiction books to your reading routine! Kids can follow their own interests and learn about the world around them by reading about bugs, dinosaurs, or outer space. You can also use the information in books to do activities at home – make green eggs and ham like Sam I Am, or a newspaper hat like Curious George!

Oral Language: Expanding Your Child's Vocabulary

Talking to your child helps expand vocabulary, develop background knowledge, and inspire a curiosity about the world – all of which help with learning to read! Here are some simple activities you can do at home to get your child ready to read.

A Home for My Books

Creating a library of your child's books is a great way to show her how important reading is. It will also give her a special place to keep her books and will motivate her to keep pulling books from her own library to read. Here are some ideas for getting started!

Juguemos con el lenguaje/The Joy of Talking With Young Children

Parents, child-care providers, and teachers can take ideas from this practical guide to language and literacy development for Spanish-speaking children, ages four to eight years old.

Family Stories

This article provides a number of ways that you can make storytelling a part of the time your family spends together.

Choosing Childcare

The first five years of a child's life are a time of tremendous physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth. The experiences a child has during this time can make an impact on their readiness to learn. Here the Education Department offers some tips to guide parents in choosing childcare.

Common Signs of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. This article provides a list of common signs of dyslexia.