Early Literacy Resources

Library staff play an important role as informal educators in Idaho’s early literacy ecosystem. Whether you offer enhanced storytimes that provide caregivers with research-based early literacy tips, curated play areas to encourage the development of early learning skills, or books and materials that help children learn, you are supporting families in your community as they prepare their children for school. Here are resources that can help you provide high-quality learning opportunities for children in your library.

If you need additional continuing education support, check out the Youth Services Sequence on ICfL’s Library Learning Online page, or the Library Basics ABLE courses.

All Aboard for Kindergarten from Washington State Library’s Niche Academy

Growing Readers Together Early Literacy Support Team from the Colorado Department of Education

General Storytime Resources

Basic Storytime Training: Presented by ICfL consultants in spring 2019.

ALSC Blog: From the Association for Library Services to Children.

Jbrary: A blog and YouTube channel with extensive resources on all things storytime.

Storytime Katie: One librarian’s journey into storytime land.

Flannel Friday: Flannel Friday is an online event in which participating bloggers post a description of a flannelboard, puppet, or prop storytime activity on their blogs every Friday. All the participating posts are gathered into one spot in a link round-up. It is a way of sharing ideas, encouraging new techniques, and building community among children’s library staff around the country (and even around the world).

Jen in the Library: A collection of storytimes and resources.

Story Time Secrets: Resources for sharing books with kids.

Bayviews.org: Storytime from the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California.

Sensory Storytime Resources

Sensational Storytime Manual: A handbook containing storytime planning cards including songs, rhymes, group activities, sensory exploration, and crafts appropriate for children with sensory/special needs. Published by the El Dorado County Library.

Talking is Teaching: Tips and resources to help caregivers talk, read, and sing with their children.

Eat, Play, Grow Toolkit: The EatPlayGrow curriculum combines the latest science and research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)  with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s creative educational approach to teach children ages 2-5 and their parents how to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.

Reel Stories: The Maryland Family Network’s project to illustrate the importance of having nurturing experiences during the first five years of a child’s life.

VIEWS2: Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully (VIEWS2) is a project from the University of Washington’s iSchool that provides resources and tools for library staff to help families develop early earning skills.

Fostering Readers: An initiative from the State Library of Oregon to help library staff plan fun, research-based literacy activities for children in K-3rd grade.

Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit: These research-backed resources were created for librarians to help families prepare children ages 0 to 8 for success in school and in life. This toolkit is completely downloadable, printable from the Center for Childhood Creativity.

Read Aloud Poster Downloads: A series of posters that you can download and print on the importance of reading aloud to children.

The Molina Foundation: The Molina Foundation is a national nonprofit organization focused on reducing disparities in access to education and health.

Every Child Ready to Read was a long-running ICfL program that consisted of a series of three 45-minute sessions that involved young children and their parents in learning about early literacy practices that help prepare children to be successful in school. Early literacy practices were highlighted and parents had a chance to practice them with their child. Fun interactive activities, practical tips, and resources were shared during each session. Materials for families and your library were available from the Read to Me program at no cost to your publicly-funded Idaho library. Due to declining participation, the program was discontinued in 2019, but the workshop materials are still useful and can be found here:

Additional Resources:

EatPlayGrow™ is a program that ICfL offered in 2018, and was aimed at preschoolers and their parents that shares information about developing healthy habits along with early literacy and art activities. The program is supported by the Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation.

Program Requirements:

  • Present at least 5 of the 11 lessons (“Sleep” lesson is required) in 2018
  • Work with a community partner (not a Friends of the Library group)
  • Survey of sample of participating parents
  • Serve at least 10 families with programming
  • Attend a program webinar or archived webinar before program implementation
  • Submit a final summary report

Program Description:

Healthy habits start at home and families play a critical role in forming healthy habits in their children from the early years and beyond. When families eat and play together they can replicate the healthy activities found in the curriculum. One in three Idaho children is overweight or obese. Families use and trust their public libraries in Idaho, and librarians are excited to offer ways to reinforce healthy messages with the families they serve and increase the number of children who begin school with healthy habits in place.

EatPlayGrow™ was developed by Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) in partnership with the National Institutes of Health. The free curriculum breaks down healthy habits into a format that librarians are comfortable presenting, and parents and young children find engaging.  Extensive research showed the curriculum and activities they developed are effective in changing parent and family behavior, as well as increasing awareness and motivation about strategies that help individuals and families make healthy choices.

EatPlayGrow™ consists of a series of 11 healthy lifestyle lessons that are geared toward children under the age of six. It incorporates hands-on educational lessons along with storytelling, music, art-making and movement to teach young children and their families the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. The program focuses on nutrition, physical activity, and the importance of sleep to healthy development. It provides follow-up tools for parents to help them discuss the lessons and assist them in adapting that information into their home settings. The curriculum (available in English and Spanish) includes:

My Five Senses; GO, SLOW, WHOA; Fabulous Fruits; Move to the Beat; Energy Balance; I Love my Veggies; Perfect PortionDem Bones; Healthy Beverages; Smart Sleep; and Family Meal

Curriculum details can be found at:  www.eatplaygrow.org. The website also has video clips of activities and demonstrations for each of the 11 lessons, plus much more. You need to create your own password to access the site. Anyone can use the free curriculum and resources without officially participating in the ICfL-sponsored program.

Idaho libraries are required to partner with a community organization, business, or agency to help garner more support for the program on the local level. Libraries are also encouraged to share information with families from the High Five Idaho Children’s Health Collaborative, http://highfiveidaho.org/.  ICfL will supply books and handouts for parents to take home so they can immediately put into practice the lessons learned, and ensure that consistent evaluations are completed in a timely manner.

“Six Skills” Activity Sheets

Take-home activity sheets that reinforce each of the Six Early Literacy skills. Use for enhanced storytimes, literacy stations, Tubby Buddy boxes, and parent workshops.