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Early Literacy

Raising Readers with the New Orleans Public Library

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they learn to read and write. It’s the foundation that newborns to 5-year-olds need to become readers.

The New Orleans Public Library believes in helping parents and caregivers raise readers together. We are committed to providing support from the very beginning of children’s early learning to years beyond. Our resources can help them become ready to read and prepare them to be lifelong learners.

Early Literacy Practices

Five of the best ways to help your child be prepared to read are talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. By practicing these early literacy activities together, you are helping your child develop essential pre-reading skills needed to be ready to learn to read.

Talking – Children are listening. They are learning about language through every conversation. When you talk with them, describe things that you see and explain what you are doing. The more words they hear, the more words they will learn and understand. This helps them learn to read and tell their own stories.

Singing – Singing is a fun way for children to learn about language. The rhythms and rhymes of songs help them hear new words and the smaller sounds that make up those words, because singing naturally slows down language. This helps children sound out words when they are learning to read.

Reading – Reading together is the single, most important way to help children become readers. When you share a love of reading with children and create an enjoyable experience, it makes an impact that will last a lifetime.

Writing – Scribble, color, draw, write, trace, paint, cut, and glue with your child. The possibilities are endless when it comes to building the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills needed to be ready to write letters, words, and sentences.

Playing – Have fun together. Playing is a natural way for children to learn about the world around them. Through each playful interaction with you, they are learning and using language. This helps them to be able to express themselves and become ready to learn to read.


November Early Literacy Calendar - New Orleans, LA

December Early Literacy Calendar - New Orleans, LA

This Week’s Virtual Storytime


The Library’s weekly reading-readiness storytime program is a great way for families to get ready to read together. Talk, sing, read, write, and play in a format designed for children (birth to 5 years) and you. 

Currently, we offer virtual and outdoor early literacy storytimes. A new pre-recorded, on-demand video will premiere every Monday at 10am. Outdoor storytimes will be held every Tuesday at 10:30am at Algiers Regional Library, East New Orleans Regional Library, and Milton H. Latter Memorial Library.
View our Events Calendar for this month’s storytime listings. 

Story Trails

Follow a story along our new Story Trails. Story Trails combine movement and literacy and allow families to experience storytime outdoors at your own pace. Weather permitting, Story Trails are set up outside of Alvar Library, Algiers Regional Library, Central City Library, Children’s Resource Center Library, East New Orleans Regional Library, and Norman Mayer Library during operating hours.

To ensure that a Story Trail will be out for your visit, please call the Library location ahead of time.