Early Literacy at The New York Public Library

Early Literacy at The New York Public Library


Parents and caregivers are a child’s most important teacher. Help your child develop essential language skills by doing these early literacy activities together every day.

ReadRead together every day, even if it is only for a few minutes. Many children love to hear the same stories over and over, so find favorites!

TalkTalk throughout the day to your child. Point out what you are seeing and doing together, and ask lots of questions!

SingSing songs and nursery rhymes! Rhymes help your child learn new words and develop listening and memory skills.

Encourage scribbling!
 Keep crayons and paper on a table where your child can practice.

Have fun together! Playtime helps children learn important language and social skills. 

Visit your local library or see below for more resources to support your childfrom books and story times to family literacy workshops and more!


Story Times

Look out for these online story times featuring our librarians!

Age TipsPreschool Story Time | 3–5 years
The latest books and old favorites help introduce your preschooler to new vocabulary and reinforce learning. In preschool story time, children and their caregivers will enjoy stories, songs, rhymes, and movement while building language and literacy skills.

Toddler Story Time | 18 months–3 years
Once your child begins to walk, they belong in toddler story time, where they will sing and move, begin to recognize letters, share wonderful books, and develop pre-reading skills.

Baby Story Time | birth–18 months
Reading readiness begins at birth, and our programs for the youngest and their caregivers always include great books, fun songs, silly wiggles, lots of language, and time to get to know the other babies in your neighborhood.


Family Literacy Workshops give parents coaching and tips on how to read to their children and better prepare them for school.

Bronx Locations: Allerton, BaychesterBelmont, Bronx Library Center, Castle Hill, City Island, Clason's Point, EastchesterEdenwald, Francis MartinGrand Concourse, High BridgeHunts Point, Jerome ParkKingsbridge, Melrose, Morris ParkMorrisania, Mosholu, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Pelham BayPelham Parkway-Van Nest, RiverdaleSedgwickSoundview, Spuyten Duyvil, Throg's NeckTremontVan Cortlandt, Wakefield, West FarmsWestchester SquareWoodlawn Heights, and Woodstock

Manhattan Locations:  125th Street42nd Street Children's Center, 53rd Street, 58th Street67th Street, 96th StreetAguilar, Battery Park City, BloomingdaleChatham Square, ColumbusCountee Cullen, EpiphanyFort WashingtonGeorge BruceGrand Central, Hamilton Fish, Hamilton GrangeHarlem, Harry Belafonte 115th Street , Hudson ParkInwood, Jefferson Market, Kips Bay, Macomb's Bridge, Morningside Heights, MuhlenbergMulberry Street, New Amsterdam, Ottendorfer, RiversideRoosevelt IslandSeward Park, St. Agnes, Tompkins Square,  Washington Heights, Webster, and Yorkville

Staten Island Locations: Dongan Hills, Great KillsHuguenot ParkMariner's Harbor, New DorpPort RichmondRichmondtownSt. George Library CenterSouth BeachStapletonTodt HillTottenville and West New Brighton


Everyday Tips

It's never too early for books and reading! Even very young babies love hearing stories and looking at pictures.


Set aside a special time for reading. Nightly bedtime stories work well for many families, but any time of day is good. Just find a cozy spot and get started.


Find favorites. Many children love to hear the same stories over and over. It comforts them and helps develop language skills.  


Visit your local library. Libraries offer an array of free programs and resourcesfrom books to story times and family literacy workshops.





Other Languages

French tip sheet and growth chart

Bengali tip sheet and growth chart

Chinese tip sheet and growth chart


You can also check out 
ABC Read with Me in NYC
from your local library!


More Resources

Learn more about how you can build your child's early literacy skills with these resources offered throughout New York:

In the Community

Other Libraries

Brooklyn Public LibraryOffers a rich array of early literacy programs at its 59 locations throughout the borough.

Queens LibraryProvides classes and events for children 0–5 and their families and caregivers.

Early Literacy Organizations

City's First Readers: Provides resources that support early reading development for children. An initiative by the New York City Council.

JumpstartLeverages the power of community and adult-child relationships to build key language and literacy skills.

Literacy PartnersStrengthens families by empowering parents through education.

Parent-Child Home ProgramProvides the necessary skills and tools to build school readiness.

Reach Out and Read of Greater New YorkPartners with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

Literacy Inc.Builds neighborhood networks that support young readers by working with school, library, and community partners.

Places to Visit Cultural Institutions

Cool CultureHelps families access 90 of NYC's cultural institutions for free.

Children's Museum of the ArtsBrings hands-on art programming to children throughout New York City.

Children's Museum of ManhattanHelps children learn through creative environments that support play, imagination, curiosity, and discovery.

Children's Museum of Staten IslandDemonstrates through hands-on activities that learning can be exciting and fun.

Children's Museum of BrooklynTeaches children through exhibits in history, science, world cultures, and more.

The New Victory Theater: Transports children and families to other worlds through storytelling and performance.

New York City's Children's Theater: Creates original, entertaining, and enriching theater for children and adults to enjoy together.

At HomeAt Home

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Information and resources for you and your child's health.

Little eLitFor educational apps, articles, and media.

WNET, THIRTEEN, PBSEducational media for you and your child.

Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, The Early Learning CollaborativeCreates family engagement materials that promote discussion, early literacy, success in school, and beyond.

Common Sense Media: Ratings, recommendations, and guidance about movies, apps, and games for kids. Check out ReviewsTop Picks and Family Guides.

PBS KIDSEducational games, videos, and resources for you and your child.

Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic ViolenceInformation on prevention and protection.



Major support for educational programming is provided by Merryl H. and James S. Tisch.

Major support for children's and young adult programming is provided by the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Family Endowment for Young Audiences.

Major support for youth education is provided by Arthur W. Koenig; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Timothy R. Barakett Endowment for Children’s and Young Adult Programs and Services; The Gottesman Fund; the Bok Family Foundation; Lisa and Jeff Blau; The Hearst Foundation, Inc.; New York Life Foundation; Verizon Foundation; the Gray Foundation; Good Samaritan, Inc.; the E.H.A. Foundation; and City’s First Readers, an initiative made possible with funding from the New York City Council.

City's First Readers. An initiative of the New York City Council


Illustrations by Antonio De Jesus