Early Literacy Newsletter Issue 4

What is Early Literacy? Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school. There are six early literacy skills that parents can incorporate into their children's daily life. These six skills are: Vocabulary, Print Motivation, Print Awareness, Narrative Skills, Phonological Awareness, and Letter Knowledge. More detailed information about these six skills is available at

You can help your baby, toddler and preschooler learn important skills now so they can become good readers. There are many simple and fun ways to do this. We invite you to bring your child to Library storytimes, which utilize research-based techniques to build early literacy skills. This newsletter will help you extend storytime benefits by including book-related fingerplays, crafts, and other activities.

This issue features the literacy skill known as vocabulary. Vocabulary is knowing the names of things, of feelings, concepts and ideas. A child who has a large vocabulary has a significant advantage in learning to read.

Read books with words not used in daily conversation as well as stories that highlight specific words. Non-fiction, fairy tales, and poetry are good choices for introducing new vocabulary. Here are some titles to help build vocabulary.


Doctor De Soto Excuse me Creatures
Eating The Gruffalo Henny Penny
In Aunts Llama llama Napping House
Fingerplays for Toddlers and Preschoolers

One day the sun was shining bright

Hold up right hand for sun

But clouds came along, it was dark as night

Hold up left hand for clouds

The rain began to sprinkle down

Wiggle both hands for rain coming down

But when the clouds had passed on by

Move both hands to the right

A beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky

Left hand makes arc over head from right to left


Here's a box with a surprise

Thumb inside fish

Someone is hiding deep inside

Cover fist with other hand for lid

Lift the lid, look in the top

Here comes a Jack-in-the-box!

Pop thumb out

Opposites Vocabulary Game

black white day night

Reserve this book

Learning "opposites" is a fun way of introducing vocabulary. There are many books on the concept of "opposites". Look around your house, yard and neighborhood for ideas to teach this concept as a game. Some examples are:

Round ball/ Square block

Soft teddy/ Hard dinosaur

Tall tree/Short flower

Smooth rock/ Rough sidewalk

Slow walk/ Fast run


Craft:   Make a Handprint Butterfly
Trace your child's hand print on two or four pieces of paper. Cut out the handprints and decorate using whatever you have in your house, such as magazine paper, tissue paper, cotton puffs, etc. Glue the handprints to a popsicle stick or just make the body out of construction paper. You can draw on the eyes, and add antennae for a finishing touch. Hang it in your window, or attach a magnet and display it on your refrigerator. butterfly
Toddler Books
These are examples of fun books for toddlers that emphasize specific words.
green sheep everything book kitty up bounce
For Babies
curious george

Increase your baby's vocabulary by reading board books. As your baby begins to talk, point to pictures and ask your baby to name the objects. Talk about each picture and add description. For example, if your baby says "ball," respond by saying, "Yes, that's a blue and yellow ball with a monkey on top".


Books for Babies

The Library offers a special bag, containing new children's cardboard books and a parenting book, for parents of newborns.  These Books for Babies bags are for babies from birth to six months old and for Lake Oswego Residents only.  Funding for Books for Babies is provided by the Friends of the Library.  Parents can request a bag at the Library check out desk.  For information, please call 503-675-2538.
books for babies photo