Sacramento Public Library

Birth to Five

Illustration of the library's mascot, Otterby, holding a book and saying "You are your child's first teacher. Five easy practices can help your child be ready to read when they enter school. Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, Playing."




TALKING: Children learn language by listening to others talk. As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean, and they learn about the world around them.


SINGING: Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words.


READING: Reading together increases vocabulary and general knowledge. It helps children learn how print looks and how books work.&


WRITING: Writing represents spoken language and communicates information. Children can learn pre-reading skills through drawing and writing, and through activities like playing with shapes.


PLAYING: Play helps children think symbolically, to understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences. Play also helps children express themselves and put thoughts into words.



Early literacy is everything children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Early literacy is a baby who chews on a book, a toddler who wants his favorite book read over and over, and a preschooler who "reads" the story to you from memory.


  • Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life.
  • Children with books in the home have a better chance for a good start in school.
  • Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves.


Register for ReadyRosie - a collection of quick and easy early learning activities to watch and do with your child.

Want to learn more about ReadyRosie? Watch the parent overview video.

What can I do to prepare my child to read?

You are the key to your child's success. When you read, talk, sing, and play with your child, you're stimulating the growth of your child's brain and building the connections that will become the building blocks for reading and for life-long learning.

Learn more by reading our infographic on Early Literacy.



Attend a storytime with your child at one of the Library's 28 locations.

  • Sacramento Public Library offers storytime for children beginning at birth through the age of five.
  • Find Baby Storytimes, Toddler Storytimes, and Preschool Storytimes on our on our Events calendar.

Expert Book Recommendations

Use Beanstack to discover our favorite books and apps, matched to your child's age and interests.

Dial-A-Story / TeleCuento


Picture books read in English and Spanish. New story every week. Call anytime. Free!

Escucha un cuento en español para niños. Cuento nuevo cada semana. iGratis!

  • English: Call 916-441-1234, toll free: 866-241-7490
  • Español: Llame 916-264-2987, llame gratis: 866-241-7491

Great Apps for kids

Promote early literacy with these librarian recommended apps for young children.



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