Friends of the Laguna Beach Library
Help Your Child Get Ready to Read!


The Orange County Public Library wants all children to love reading! Children need a variety of skills to become successful readers. The National Research Council recommends that children enter school with six specific “early literacy skills” that serve as the foundation for learning to read and write. The more of these skills your child has, the more he or she will benefit from reading instruction at school. The good news is—learning these skills will be great fun!!

Vocabulary is knowing the names of things—an extremely important skill for learning to read. Most children enter school with between 3,000 and 5,000 words in their vocabulary. The more the merrier!

Print Motivation is a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, asks to be read to and loves the trips you make to the library.

Print Awareness includes learning that writing in English follows basic rules such as flowing from top-to-bottom and left-to-right, and that those squiggles on a page is what is being read by someone who knows how to read. (This can be different in other languages, and it’s okay to work with a child in the language you are most familiar with.) An example of print awareness is a child’s ability to point to the words on the page of a book.

Narrative Skills, being able to describe things and events and to tell stories, allow a child to understand what they are learning to read. An example of a narrative skill is a child’s ability to tell what happens at a birthday party or on a trip to the zoo.

Letter Knowledge includes knowing letters by sight, name and sound. An example of letter knowledge is a child’s ability to tell the name of the letter B and what sound it makes.

Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the smaller sounds in words. Phonological awareness includes the ability to hear and create rhymes, to say words with sounds or chunks left out and the ability to put two word chunks together to make another word. Many children who have difficulty in reading have trouble in phonological awareness.