By Erika Qualls Barnett

Every Child Ready to Read is a parent education initiative from the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children.


In an effort to further develop early literacy skills, PLA and ALSC concluded that public libraries could have a greater impact by educating parents and caregivers. By giving parents and caregivers lessons about the importance of early literacy and hot to develop pre-reading skills at home, the efforts of public libraries is multiplied.

Five Skills

The last ECRR Practice we will explore is Playing. Children learn so much when they are playing and they don’t even realize it! When kids play, they are learning how the world works. They can use the space and materials around them to create a story by using their imagination. A simple block can represent anything in the world they are creating. It can be a phone, a car, or even a book. Play can help children express themselves and put their thoughts and feelings into words. While there are so many awesome toys that can be purchased to help a child play, materials from around the house will help them build their background knowledge, learn story structure, and expand their vocabulary.

Tips for Incorporating Playing into Daily Life

  • Have plenty of play time! Allow children to have unstructured time to use their imaginations to create stories about what they’re doing.
  • Make puppets from materials such as socks to play and make up stories.
  • Grab a blanket and make a fort. This fort can become a castle, house, cave, or anything else your child can imagine. 
  • Go outside and play! Not only does play help with early literacy skills, but it encourages movement and exercise.

Additional Resources

Books to Encourage Reading

Erika Qualls Barnett

Erika Qualls Barnett

Erika is a cardigan-loving Hufflepuff that enjoys the Cubs, reading, and walks with her husband.

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