Birth to Five: Focus on the First Years: Early Literacy Resourses


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Early Literacy Resources

Research shows that the development of language and literacy skills begins at birth. Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow and develop to 90 percent of their eventual adult size. The library encourages all adults who have contact with young children to talk and read with them because this will help them succeed both in school and later in life.


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Books and Booklists for Young Children


  • Board Books for Babies at BCPL Opens in new window.

    Great books for babies. Links you directly into the library catalog and displays a list of all board books, sorted by publication date (newest are listed first). 


  • BookHive

    by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library


  • Brooklyn Reads to Babies
    by Brooklyn Public Library
    Recommends books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under the Reading tab




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Developmental Tips

Infants and toddlers grow and develop in predictable patterns. The exact rate, however, may vary from child to child. Parents and caregivers should read aloud, play games and do exercises to support the child's current level of development. See the websites listed below for activities to do with your baby or toddler and to find developmental milestones charts.  


  • Play and Learning for Toddlers

    Find learning activities to do with your toddler. Many of these activities use household items and can be done any time.


  • Get Set 4

    by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. A month by month guide for Kindergarten skills development and getting ready to read


  • BabyCenter

    Information for parents about your baby's development starting at pregnancy and beyond


  • Developmental Milestones

    by University of Michigan Health System
    Child development refers to how a child becomes able to do more complex things as they get older. Development is different than growth. This presents age-specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age range.





If you have concerns about a child's development, call Baltimore County Infants and Toddlers at 410-887-2169 (birth to 3 years) or Child Find (3 years and up) at 410-887-3017. Don't forget, BCPL's librarians will help you find materials to answer any questions you might have.



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Click to see this title in BCPL's catalog.

My First Library Card


The My First Library Card program provides library cards for children ages birth through kindergarten at all Baltimore County Public Library branches, and through cooperation with various pre-school programs and Baltimore County Public Schools.



Get your child a library card today!

Here's why a library card is a great thing for your child:

  • Using library materials helps children learn to read well

  • Good readers are better students

  • Children who read well grow up to be active and successful adults.

My First Library Card!

Activities to help every child start school ready to learn.  Why are these activities important?


  • Reading and writing skills are closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories.
  • Reading with your children is fun and easy!
  • Kids love the chance to cuddle and spend quality time with you.

What can you do?


  • It's never too early to read to your baby. Try rhymes like "Mary Had a Little Lamb", a birthday card, a cereal box, even the newspaper! The sounds children hear are what matter.

  • Keep a book in your diaper bag. You value reading, and carrying a book with you shows it!

  • Introduce simple pictures and storybooks as your baby grows. Shapes, colors and sounds will delight. Try picture books for songs that you can sing together.

  • Change your voice for different characters in a book. Help your child learn the characters through your voice.

  • Point out people and objects. Ask your child, "Where is the dog hiding?" or other questions about the book before or after you read the page.

  • Read the same book over and over -- really. It helps children feel secure.

  • Discuss the stories you are reading with your child. Ask questions such as "What sound will the dog make?"

  • Discuss the parts of the book. What is the front of the book? Where does the story start? Who is the author? As you read, move your finger to show how the words move across the page.

  • Visit the library often. And let children help select their own books.

  • Make a special time for reading aloud -- after dinner, before bed ... anytime. Talk calmly and take your time, let your child know this is important to you.

  • Let your children see you reading. They want to imitate you. Talk about what you read.



Get your child a library card today!

Endorsed by:
Baltimore County Public Schools
Baltimore County Local Management Board 



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Online Resources




  • Zero to Three

    by National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
    Promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers. Check out the interactive learning tool designed to help parents and caregivers encourage their young children's early learning.


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Programs for Babies

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The benefits of library programs for infants and toddlers are infinite. Children enjoy coming to the library. Getting together as a group improves their social skills. The exposure to books and language can increase comprehension, attention span, and help with early language.


Research shows that reading simple stories and playing silly word games are more than play - they provide necessary pre-reading skills. The stories, nursery rhymes, finger plays, and songs shared at infant and toddler programs are perfect examples. Parents and caregivers can repeat them again and again to the child's delight.  Bonding between caregiver and child is another benefit of these programs. Please join us at the library or explore the other Baltimore area programs on this site. You and your child can have fun learning, laughing, and growing together.


Library Programs


Find library storytimes and programs for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers at every BCPL branch. Check online or print version of dateLines, our quarterly BCPL Calendar of Events for a complete listing, by branch, of all baby and preschool story times as well as family programs.


Summer Reading Club - every summer, be sure to take a look at the Birth to 5 Read-to-Me Club, a part of BCPL's annual Summer Reading Club especially for youngsters!



Click to see books by Molly Bang in BCPL's catalog.



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Reading Aloud to Young Children


Important benefits of reading to young children:


  • Creates a bond between the child and the adult.
  • Enables parents and caregivers to communicate their interests and concerns in an enjoyable way.
  • Educates children about the world and people around them.
  • Creates a love of books early, which will help children succeed later in school.




  • Reading to Your Baby

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    It's never too early. No matter what your baby's age, reading provides a great opportunity for cuddling and bonding.



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Revised: February 23, 2016