Early Literacy Resources

​Early Literacy Resources

Many community and national resources are available to support early literacy activities and provide additional information to help you better serve children's early literacy promotion efforts.

"[Promoting early literacy] elicits from parents a real recognition that you as their child’s physician are expressing not only your belief in the child’s potential but also your belief in the parents’ potential as that child’s teacher. Early literacy is a very powerful message and a message about how much power parents have."

​​—Perri Klass, MD, FAAP

Pediatric Professional Initiatives

AAP Initiatives​​​​

Many AAP Initiatives support children’s early development, and a few provide specific guidance that promotes early literacy and learning (e.g., Bright Futures, Healthy Child Care America, and Community-based Initiatives). Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics Community Pediatrics Grant Projects Database to view previously funded projects (enter "early literacy" in the search box). The database includes grants funded through the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program, the Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program, the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative, and the Healthy People 2010 chapter grants dating back to 1989.

For information about the CATCH program, contact your local AAP CATCH facilitator or contact the CATCH program at 847/434-7085 orcatch@aap.org for referrals to other pediatricians interested in early literacy issues. Other pediatricians who are addressing literacy issues in your state may be valuable resources in setting up or enhancing your own program.

Note: Guidelines and goals for AAP grant programs may change from year to year. Please contact the Division of Community-based Initiatives to obtain information concerning proposal guidelines and current AAP grant opportunities at 847/434-7085 or e-mail us at docbi@aap.org. Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics can obtain grantee contact information by searching this database through MyAAP.

Reach Out and Read National Center​

Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy in pediatric exam rooms across the nation by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. Doctors and nurses know that growing up healthy means growing up with books. The Reach Out and Read program provides tools to promote children's developmental skills and later school success. Its website provides resources for practices that implement literacy programs targeted toward children from ages 6 months to 5 years. Learn how to become a Reach Out and Read practice site. 

Reach Out and Read also provides tips for talking with parents about books.

Resources for Talking About Reading With Families With Low Literacy Levels

Parents and caregivers who are not comfortable reading to their children because of their own low literacy skills need early literacy guidance that is similar to what you would provide other parents and caregivers. Focus on the importance of the parent and child having time together to talk, read, and sing. When they look at books, encourage them to talk about the pictures in books and make up or act out stories based on the pictures. Talking about all the items around them, such as in their home, at the store, and while traveling, also helps build early literacy. Telling stories and singing songs are literacy-building activities too.

Handouts for promoting early reading and literacy (written at a fourth- or fifth-grade level) are provided for the following well-child visits and developmental ages:

Additional Public Resources

The following organizations and websites offer useful information for pediatricians who are promoting literacy. School and public librarians are also valuable resources and may be able to help you promote literacy in your practice and community.

American Library Association

ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 64,000 members. Its​ mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. ALA offers professional services and publications to members and nonmembers. View theCaldecott Award winners and see the most distinguished American picture books for children.

America's Literacy​ Directory​

This directory of literacy and educational resources, such as family literacy services, learning disabilities programs, and English-as-a-second-language sources, allows visitors to type in a city, state, or ZIP code to identify an educational need and receive a list of available programs or materials.

Bankstreet Library

The Bank Street Library offers children's resources, including book lists, book awards, and summer reading lists.

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

Founded March 6, 1989, by Mrs. Barbara Bush, the Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to nearly 600 family literacy programs in 47 states and the nation's capital since its inception.

Center for Early Literacy Learning

CELL has developed a website that makes resources easily available for those who care for children, from birth to age 5, with identified disabilities or developmental delays and at risk for poor outcomes. It was funded by the US Department of Education's Office of Special Education to promote the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based early literacy learning practices.

Children's Book Council

The CBC is the national nonprofit trade association for children's trade book publishers. It offers children's publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including educational programming, literacy advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. Its website offers a database of reading lists and information about the Every Child a Reader national programs.

Children's Literacy Initiative

CLI was founded in 1988 to enhance the opportunity for children from low-income families to enter school ready to learn and, once in school, to be successful in learning to read. Its website offers useful material for educators and printable resources for parents.

Colorín Colorado

Colorín Colorado is a bilingual website providing information, activities, and advice about helping English language learners (ELLs) succeed. A sister project of Reading Rockets, Colorín Colorado offers a range of resources for Spanish-speaking and ELL parents, such as family literacy activities, multicultural book recommendations, author interviews, and monthly newsletters. Colorín Colorado also features an extensive collection of resources for ELL educators, including research-based strategies for reading, language, and content-area instruction; recommendations for building relationships with ELL families; and information on the Common Core State Standards and ELLs.s

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library helps communities develop early literacy programs and provide books for early readers. Information about finding or starting a community program is available, along with funding information and other resources.

Get Ready to Read!

Get Ready to Read! is a website powered by the National Center for Learning Disabilities that has information for professionals and parents. It has a free kindergarten readiness test for children and provides resources to address areas of need identified by the test.

Guys Read

Guys Read was created and designed to reach boys directly with books recommended by other "guys" and to motivate adults (parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and publishers) to examine the role gender plays in the books written for and given to boys. Jon Scieszka, author of the Time Warp Trio series and many other books popular with boys, serves as the spokesperson for Guys Read.

International Children's Digital Library

The International Children's Digital Library has thousands of free digital books online. Most are picture books. Books in more than 50 languages are available to download through apps for iPads and smartphones.

International Reading Association

IRA's mission is to promote reading by continuously advancing the quality of literacy instruction and research worldwide. Its website includes parental and professional resources for beginning readers.

Pikes Peak District Library Kids' Web Page

This website is an example of one of many public library websites full of resources for children and parents with links to many other useful websites. For more public library websites, you can enter the name of a city and the words "public library" in a Web search engine. The information and links available are astounding and have been vetted by certified librarians.

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.

RIF prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. Founded in 1966, RIF is the oldest and largest nonprofit literacy organization for children and families in the United States. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8.

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is an educational initiative of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital. Its website includes 1-page tip sheets for parents that are available for download as a PDF file in Arabic, Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

US Department of Education

Many useful resources and downloadable activities for parents and children designed to encourage learning and success in school are available from this Department of Education website.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of available resources related to early literacy and early learning.​​​​​​​