Young Children

Learn about early literacy practices, and find out about our resources especially for babies, especially for toddlers, and especially for preschoolers, plus even more!


Early Literacy Tip — Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any New Vocab?

The language of nursery rhymes and books is different from the language of conversation. Rhymes and books often have one or two unusual words, ones that children don’t hear in regular conversation. Having a large vocabulary helps children understand what they hear and what they will later read. Remember, don’t replace those unfamiliar words, explain them.

— from The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards by Betsey Diamant-Cohen and Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting



 5 Practices that Help with Early Literacy

Early literacy is all the skills your children are learning about reading and writing before they’re ready to do it themselves.  Our library programs and collections can help build these skills. There’s lots of things you can do with your child at the library and at home to develop these skills, including the five practices of talking, singing, playing, writing, and reading.

Talk Sing Play Write Read
Talking with children builds vocabulary so they recognize words when they read.  It also gives them the words they need to express themselves when they start to write.Talk with your child about the words, pictures, and stories in the books you read together. Singing with children helps them hear the smaller sounds that make up words. This will help them sound out words when they start to read.Sing along in our storytimes and check out our large collection of music CDs for kids to help build your repetoire. Children learn best through play. Playing almost always involves talking, explaining the rules and telling a story about what happened.Come play in our Kid Zones at the library — many of our branches have puppet theatres! Writing and reading naturally go together!  Colour with your kids so they can start building the fine motor skills they’ll need when they’re ready to hold pencils and pens. Reading is hands down the best way to build your child’s early literacy skills! Our storytimes are chock full of ideas for reading with children, including techniques for making books interactive.Looking for more tips on reading with children? Our Read-to-Me brochure is a great place to start!


 Especially for Babies

It’s never too early to read to your child! Babies are building brain connections right from birth. Worried those little fingers will rip the pages? Check out our board book collection that features bright illustrations and simple text — they are virtually babyproof!

Check out our drop-in Babytime programs at different times and locations around our system.

Did you Receive your GVPL Books for Babies Bag?
GVPL Books for Babies is a community-based literacy program focusing on the importance of reading to newborns. Each baby born January 1, 2010 or later and residing in GVPL’s service area is eligible to receive a GVPL Books for Babies kit. Learn more here.

 Especially for Toddlers

We know that toddlers are at that stage where they want to move around, so our Toddler Time programs and Family Storytime programs are designed with lots of movement in mind.  Looking for that perfect book for your little guys?

Stories to Go Boxes

It’s storytime in a box! Stories to Go are a great resource for families, caregivers, and early childhood educators to use with young children. Filled with books, music CDs, rhymes and puppets, each box focuses on a theme for babies and toddlers or preschoolers. Learn more here.


 Especially for Preschoolers

Our Preschool Storytimes and Family Storytimes are great for preschoolers! We also have a number of special preschool programs running during the year. Check our program calendar for specifics.

Looking for more great books for kids?  Check out our list of 100 picture books to read before kindergarten.  Our staff have also handpicked books on various topics and for various age levels so be sure to ask us! New lists are created regularly so be sure to check back!


 Links to More Resources 

Fingerplays, Rhymes & Songs


Books & Stories

  • Boys Do Read — “We want teen boys to read just like everyone else, and we are willing to give them whatever it takes.” Picks selected by Richmond Public Library staff.
  • Guys Read — Founded by children’s author and all-round funny-guy Jon Scieszka, this web site includes book recommendations for boys that boys will want to read.
  • KidsReads.com — Keep pace with the latest news about kids’ favourite books, series, and authors.
  • ReadKiddoRead.com — Author James Patterson’s website is a great place to browse for suggestions about what to read next.



  • SkratchTrack — Online reading incentive program: keep a log of books you’ve read, write mini reviews, and collect online awards along the way. Perfect for home or the classroom.
  • Starfall — Online learn-to-read activities for kids, and literacy information for their parents and teachers.



  • Grow Up Reading! — A fabulous resource for parents to learn more about their kids’ emergent literacy, from birth to kindergarten-age. Includes activities, reading tips, information on brain development, and age-appropriate book suggestions. From the librarians at West Bloomfield Township Public Library, Michigan.
  • Jim Trelease on Reading  — Read-aloud advocate Jim Trelease has a wealth of information on his web site for parents and teachers. Why, how and what to read aloud, how to control kids’ TV consumption, reading and spelling research, censorship issues–it’s all here. He also includes essays from the 6th edition of his classic resource, The Read-Aloud Handbook.
  • Literacy Tips for Parents — Excellent tips to help you help your child to read. From the Parents & Teachers section of PBS’ Between the Lions site.
  • PBS Parents: Reading & Language — Advice, tips and activities related to children’s literacy and creating a “literate home,” as well as book recommendations from the American Library Association.
  • Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers — Strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn to read, and assist parents and teachers who work with struggling readers; also, monthly book recommendations and interviews with children’s authors, as well as hundreds of current articles about reading. Reading Rockets’ sister site, LD OnLine, provides comprehensive information on learning disabilities for parents, teachers, and other professionals. Both sites are produced by WETA (PBS Washington, DC).



  • The Canadian Children’s Book Centre — An excellent resource for information about Canadian authors, illustrators, and publishers, and Canadian children’s literature awards; home of Canadian Children’s Book Week.
  • The READ Society — The READ Society is a non-profit literacy organization in Victoria that provides individualized programs created by professional teachers in reading, writing and mathematics for young children, youth and adults. As a non-profit, READ offers tuition assistance for children and youth from low-income households whose academic skills are below grade level.