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Every Child Ready to Read

This approach is used in public library systems across North America and was developed by the American Library Association (ALA) to educate parents and caregivers, and to facilitate the sharing of books and activities to get children ready to read.

Studies show that children who had been read to during their first five years had a major advantage in learning language skills.

Here are five of the best ways for children to get ready to read


Babies learn by hearing words. When your baby babbles, talk back and continue the conversation.


Songs are a wonderful way to learn about language. Sing to your baby, anytime and anywhere! Borrow music from the Library to learn new songs to share with your baby.


Reading together with your child is the best way to help children get ready to read on their own. Read for a short time, and then for a bit longer, as your baby gets older. Ask library staff to help you pick books to share with your baby. Let your child see you read too!


Reading and writing go together. Encourage your child to put ideas on paper, like their favourite things, what they did today and items for a grocery list. Scribbling is the first step to writing, and it may become artwork too!


Children learn a lot about language through play. Not only is playing fun, the whole family can join in! Make games like “tickle rhymes” and finger plays part of everyday activities.


How do children’s programs at the Library help develop pre-reading skills?

The Library’s Every Child Ready to Read programs include stories, activities, songs, puppets and rhymes, shared with a preschooler and his/her parent/caregiver, to help develop pre-reading skills. These programs, offered in series over six weeks, are offered at branches throughout the city and are free to attend.

Babytime:  ages 0-18 months
Toddlertime:  ages 19 -35 months
Storytime:  3-6 year olds
Family Storytime: children of all ages
Evening Storyime:  children of all ages


Funding for some of the Every Child Ready to Read material was generously provided by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library.