Every Child Ready to Read

Our Mission

Early Literacy for Every Child in the Community

Kids Reading

The Safford City-Graham County Library has an exciting program series designed to help get "Every Child Ready To Read." Current research shows that children who learn five critical pre-reading skills before they start kindergarten become better readers. Children who do not know these skills when they come to school have a much more difficult time learning to read.

You can learn about the five skills and how to develop them in children from birth to age five @ your library. Each of the "Every Child Ready To Read" programs explains why the skills are so important, demonstrates how to help children learn the skills, provides titles of high-interest books that are age appropriate, and sends you home with early literacy activities to incorporate into your family's daily routine.

There is a program for each of three age groups: birth to two-year-olds, two and three-year-olds, and four and five-year olds. A schedule for upcoming programs appears below. Be sure to download one of the "Every Child Ready To Read" parent guides from the Resources bar on your right and stop by, ask a librarian to help you find just the right books to help your child get ready to read.

Know the Five Pre-Reading Skills Your Child Needs

Help your child get ready to read with these simple activities:


Children learn language and other early literacy skills by listening to their parents and others talk. As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean. They learn about the world around them and important general knowledge. This will help children understand the meaning of what they read.

Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to talk with you, not just listen to you talk.

Respond to what your child says and extend the conversation. "Yes, we did see a truck like that last week. It's called a bulldozer."

Stretch your child's vocabulary. Repeat what your child says and use new words. "You want a banana? That's a very healthy choice."

If English isn't your first language, speak to your child in the language you know best. This allows you to explain things more frequently so your child will learn more.


Songs are a wonderful way to learn about language. Singing also slows down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words. This helps when children begin to read printed language.

Sing the alphabet song to learn about letters.

Sing nursery rhymes so children hear the different sounds in words.

Clap along to the rhythms in songs so children hear the syllables in words.


By Reading together, shared reading, is the single most important way to help children get ready to read. Reading together increases vocabulary and general knowledge. It helps children learn how print looks and how books work. Shared reading also helps children develop an interest in reading. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves.

Read every day.

Make shared reading interactive. Before you begin a book, look at the cover and predict what the book is about. Have your child turn the book's pages. Ask questions as you read and listen to what your child says. When you finish the book, ask your child to retell the story.

Use books to help teach new words. Books can teach less common words, words that children may not hear in everyday conversation. As you read, talk about what these words mean.


Reading and writing go together. Both represent spoken language and communicate information. Children can learn pre-reading skills through writing activities.

Writing begins with scribbles and other marks. Encourage this by providing many opportunities to draw and write.

Children can "sign" their name to drawings, which helps them understand that print represents words. As they practice eye-hand coordination and develop their hand muscles, children can begin to write the letters in their names.

Talk to your children about what they draw, and write captions or stories together. This helps make a connection between spoken and printed language.


Children learn a lot about language through play. Play helps children think symbolically, so they understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences. Play also helps children express themselves and put thoughts into words.

Give your child plenty of playtime. Some of the best kinds of play are unstructured, when children can use their imaginations and create stories about what they're doing.

Encourage dramatic play. When children make up stories using puppets or stuffed animals, they develop important narrative skills. This helps children understand that stories and books have a beginning, middle and end.

Pretend to read a book. Have your child tell you a story based on the pictures in a book. Or ask your child to "read" a book you've read together many times and tell you the story. This develops vocabulary and other language skills.