Raising a Reader

Story Times


Books Every Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten

100 More Books before Kindergarten100 Books before Kindergarten
100 Books before Kindergarten - 4th EditionAnother 100 More Books before Kindergarten
100 Books before Kindergarten - 6th Edition100 Books before Kindergarten - 5th Edition
100 Books before Kindergarten - 8th Edition100 Books before Kindergarten - 7th Edition
100 Books before Kindergarten - 8th Edition100 Books before Kindergarten - 9th Edition


You can help your child get ready to read.

It's never too early or too late to help your child develop language and other early literacy skills. Here are five of the best ways for children to get ready to read.

Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. The experience of self-expression also stimulates brain development, which underlies all learning.

  • Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to talk with you, not just listen to you talk.
  • Stretch your child's vocabulary. Repeat what your child says and use new words. "You want a banana? That's a healthy choice."

Singing, which also includes rhyming, increases children’s awareness of sensitivity to the sounds in words. This helps prepare children to decode print (written language).

  • Sing the alphabet song to learn about letters.
  • Clap along to the rhythms in songs so children hear the syllables in words.

Reading together, or shared reading, remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.

  • Read every day.
  • 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.

Writing and reading go together. Writing helps children learn that letters and words stand for sounds and that print has meaning.

  • Writing begins with scribbles and other marks. Encourage this by providing many opportunities to draw and write.
  • Talk with your children about what they draw, and write captions or stories together. This helps make a connection between spoken and printed language.

Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn about the world. General knowledge is an important literacy skill that helps children understand books and stories once they begin to read.

  • 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.


Imagination Library

Sign up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to receive a free book, addressed to your child, every month until their 5th birthday. Available to Hancock County residents with children born in 2016 or later. This program is sponsored by the Hancock County Community Foundation. Sign up online for free!

Online Reading Resources


Animated, Talking Picture Books for Preschool - Elementary

Novelist K-8 Plus

Recommendations, reviews, read-alikes, series information, book lists and more.

OverDrive eReading Room for Kids

OverDrive eBooks, just for kids! Sort by subjects, collections, and reading levels.

Explora Educators Edition

Lesson plans, student tools, curriculum standards, and other valuable resources for teachers.


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