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EGL 2230: Children's Literature: Early Literacy

Early Literacy

Learning to read is not a natural skill and children won't learn to read simply by being read to. Early literacy skills, like talking, reading, writing, singing, and playing help to develop constrained and unconstrained literacy skills.

Constrained literacy skills are required to begin to learn to decode words, understand letters, and phonetic sounds. They are necessary to begin to learn how to read, however without unconstrained literacy skills, these readers will plateau.

Unconstrained literacy skills are exactly that, unconstrained. Readers can always continue to expand their vocabulary and comprehension. These skills, including print motivation, are the best long term predictors of reading success.

The amount of time and quality of communication that children experience directly shapes their brain development. Books allow caregivers to expose children to additional words, build on print and phonological awareness, and develop a love of reading. It’s also important to expose children to positive interactions with books. 

Online resources on early literacy:


babies need words every day flyer

Reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing are all early literacy components. For more information on how these skills translate into traditional literacy components, like phonological awareness and others, click here.

Videos on early literacy:

Below you'll find just a few books and e-books related to early literacy. To access e-books off campus, you will need your OWL Link username and password.