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Childhood Literacy

Mandy Minsterman, Kari Miller and Nicole Lucci

Definition: Literacy is the ability to read and write in a language (usually one's first language) at a level that is adequate to function in a society.

Overview: Childhood literacy is a main topic of interest for schools throughout the world. Reading and writing are both essential tools, and together, are the foundation for all learning. If a child is illiterate, it becomes difficult to succeed in school, and later, in the job market. It is not to say that children need to read and write all day, every day, in order to grow into a successful adult. Rather, it is our focus to provide them with the proper tools and encouragement, so that the doors of possibilities will be open to them in the future. This page provides various resources for parents and educators regarding the importance of literacy and ideas of how to help children read and write better.

Local middle school students in Williamson, NY use Inspiration software as a tool to organize information they've read in preparation to write about their learning.

America Reads: Early Childhood and Literacy America Reads is a national campaign challenging every American to help all of our children learn to read.
International Reading Association
An association that aims to provide descriptions of effective reading practices around the world.


This is a PSA found on youtube about childhood literacy. It shows some statistics about how many words children learn by age 6. Those who know how to read, have a larger vocabulary.

This youtube video describes what parents can and should do to help their children become literate. The video outlines reading and writing programs and emphasizes how parents should keep their children engaged and have fun while learning to read. It explains how reading leads to better jobs.


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**Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy, by Nigel Hall, Joanne Larson, and Jackie Marsh**- Available on Amazon.com
Includes up to date reviews of research and thinking in early childhood literacy.

**Inclusive Literacy Lessons for Early Childhood, by Pam Schiller and Clarissa Willis**- Available on Amazon.com
A collection of one hundred literacy lessons designed for educators to use with children ages three to six to introduce literacy concepts and build important skills.

**Popular Culture, New Media and Digital Literacy in Early Childhood, by Jackie Marsh**
Available on Amazon.com

Books Online:

Bookflix is an online literacy resource that contains hundreds of video storybooks. The library is divided into several categories. Every fiction book is paired with a similarly themed nonfiction book within that category. Bookflix is a subscription service, however it does provide a free trial on its website, and other funding is available.


The Role of Literacy in Early Childhood Education,
Reading Teacher,// Dorothy Strickland et. al.
Available on EBSCOhost

Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Available on SAGE Journals Online
JECL is a fully peer reviewed international journal with a main emphasis on papers researching issues related to the nature, function and use of literacy in early childhood (including the history, development, use, learning and teaching of literacy, as well as policy and strategy).

Podcast and Video:


Very useful website containing podcasts, videos and other activities meant for use outside the classroom. Resources available for grades K-12.

Blogs: http://www.famlit.org/blog


Topics in Early Childhood Education

Blog by Professor John Funk, a professor at the University of Utah. He specializes in early childhood education and childhood literacy. His blog is very thoughtful and insightful. He is able to connect seemingly unrelated things back into the umbrella topic of early childhood education and literacy.

Other Useful Resources:


Fun website with inspirational kid-oriented songs designed to get kids excited about reading. Also contains several videos and a podcast for librarians who do children's programming.