Children’s Literacy




Children’s Literacy

–Melissa McLachlin

Literacy in children starts from the time children are born. Parents are the very first teachers that a child learns from. Literacy starts at home, yet many children are not prepared for entering school and learning how to read.Studies show nine out of ten children who are poor readers in first grade have the probability of being poor readers in fourth grade (Wise, 2002).

Some of the challenges regarding literacy are due to factors such as socioeconomic status, literacy of the parents, race, or their environment and they could be resolved by implementing programs for:

  • Parents and caregivers: educating them about the importance of early literacy learning
  • Community:  in local libraries and in collaboration with local school districts in identifying at-risk children
  • Parents with literacy deficiencies so they can be prepared to teach their children
  • Access to books in the home
  • Low-income and non-English speaking families

Parents are the windows to the world to which the child sees and learns about society. Literacy is a social process; it is borne from social roots and depends on interactions among people in order to be learned, used, and passed on (Teale, 1999).  For low-income parents or those who do not speak English, the opportunities for a richer learning environment are diminished. And while the racial and ethnic disparities are smaller than they were forty to fifty years ago, socioeconomic disparities in literacy skills are growing (Reardon, 2012).

Each different factor regarding literacy in children must be addressed according to the community’s needs. What are some other ways literacy can be addressed in the community?

For more helpful info:


Reardon, S.F., Valentino, R.A., & Shores, K.A. (2012). Patterns of Literacy among U.S. Students. The Future of children, 22 (2), 17-37.

Teale, W. H. (1999). Libraries promote early literacy learning: ideas from current research and early childhood. Journal of youth services in libraries, 12 (3), 9-16.

Wise, S. (2002, August 1). Michigan State Board of Education Early Literacy Task Force Report. Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Children’s Literacy

  1. Addressing children’s literacy is ultra-important. Assisting parents with this assessment and growth may entail some partnerships with other community programs. Obviously, the local schools and pre-schools will need to play a critical role. Also, day cares should be tapped to expose the very young to reading and communication.

    Another thought might be to target caregivers and babysitters with tools to help them in their roles with children. Kids always need to be entertained, it seems, so why not use this to leverage the library and its information resources to help introduce concepts and ideas to children in the care of others?


  2. I agree with you 100% on this one! Children’s literacy is one of the biggest projects that a library can take on. My library has summer reading programs for children, teens and adults. And for the littlest children, we have play times and story times that incorporate reading and learning.
    The American Pediatric Association is now recommended that parents start reading to their children from birth, further proving that it is never too early to get kids reading!

    One thing that I love about my library, is that we have audiobooks and Playways for kids. So that kids who have not yet learned to read, or are struggling with reading, can still listen along to books and stories.

    Great post!

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