Early Literacy

What We Know About Early Literacy

Early literacy (reading and writing) does not mean early reading instruction or teaching babies to read; it is the natural development of skills through the enjoyment of books, the importance of positive interactions between babies and parents, and the critical role of literacy-rich experiences.

Literacy development begins at birth and is closely linked to a baby’s earliest experiences with books and stories. Babies learn language through social literacy experiences - parents interacting with them using books. These experiences also serve to associate books with parental affection, attention, and approval.

Read to Succeed!

A study of 3- to 5-year-olds who had been read to at least three times per week found the children:

  • Two times more likely to recognize all letters.
  • Two times more likely to have word-sight recognition.
  • Two times more likely to understand words in context.

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study found that 62% of parents with a high socioeconomic status read to their children every day compared to only 36% of parents with a low socioeconomic status.

National Institute for Family Literacy, 1999.

Following are links to a variety of studies and resources that show how early childhood literacy positively impacts success in school.