Early Literacy

Ypsilanti District Library is committed to helping parents and caregivers prepare young children for school success by offering materials and programs that build early literacy skills.

What are early literacy skills? Everything a child needs to be prepared to learn how to read and write when they start kindergarten. It's never too soon to start building these skills. And it's easy! Read, sing, talk, write and play with your child. 

The library is here to help. From our developmentally-appropriate storytimes for infants to preschoolers, to music programs for little ones, to Play Kits you can check out, the library provides resources caregivers can use to get children ready to succeed.




Play Kits

Every Child Ready to Read



Events and Education


We offer a continuum of age appropriate storytimes to help children develop skills for school readiness. Join us for songs, rhymes, stories and play on weekdays, with special themed Saturday morning storytimes such as music, STEM and yoga, that facilitate parent and child learning and play. 
List of upcoming storytimes »


YDL-Whittaker, Fridays, 9/22, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10, 12/8, 11am

Tinkering allows children to learn through hands-on experiences and provides them with unstructured time to explore, test and invent. Join us for new hands-on learning stations with art and science themes.

Play Spaces

Stop by any YDL Youth Department to play! Youth staff curate play spaces, with new themes every three months. Play spaces are designed to help parents engage with children in early literacy practices. Enjoy pretend play, constructive play and exploratory play every day!

Early Literacy iPads

iPads loaded with early literacy apps are available at all YDL locations, and you can ask our librarians about recommended educational apps to use at home. 
iPad educational app brochure »


Three times each year YDL welcomes musicians from the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and music educator Gari Stein, who leads the audience in movement and dance. Children are introduced to a new musical instrument each session, through stories and amazing live music.
Learn more about Kinderconcerts »

Summer Challenge

Read, Learn, Explore! The Summer Challenge is a great way to read what you want, learn at fun library programs, explore the community and win prizes along the way! The Summer Challenge is available for all ages, with special program for pre-readers (ages 0-5) that lets children earn points and prizes for listening to books and trying interactive literacy-building "read, sing, talk, write, play" activities with a parent or caregiver. 

Learn more about the Summer Challenge »


Play Kits

Read, sing, talk, write, play and have fun while developing early literacy skills! Check out a Play Kit developed by Youth Staff, full of books, musics, puzzles, toys and suggested activities, designed to build early literacy skills with little ones.


(birth-1 ½ years)

Sensory toys, board books and music for the youngest children.

Toddler Discoveries

(Ages 1-3)

Pound balls and watch them roll, stack and knock down a tower, join puzzle blocks to hear animal sounds and read board books to learn ABCs and numbers with this kit.


(ages 1-4)

Use items in this kit to learn about and sort shapes. Build early math skills as well as literacy.


(ages 1-4)

Sort colorful fruits and vegetables, sort and stack colored rings and read books about rainbows with this color themed kit.



Puzzles and books in this kit provide fun activities that teach counting and numbers.


(ages 2-5)

Retell the ever popular Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with manipulatives, construct the alphabet with plastic letter pieces, use flash cards, read ABC stories and get ready to read!


(ages 2-5)

Puppets and books help you tell insect stories by Eric Carle and more. Use the magnifying glass to inspect insects encased in resin, then go outside and hunt for insects in nature.

Monkey Trouble

(ages 2-5)

Plush toys help you retell classic stories such as Five Little Monkeys and Caps for Sale. Count monkeys, play with a barrel of monkeys for fine motor skills and read about real monkeys.

Food Fun

(ages 3-6)

Build a felt pizza and sandwich as you read books, learn about farming, then use the cookbook to make real food together.

Community Helpers

(ages 3-6)

Puzzles, books and a fireman’s hat encourage fun learning and pretend play about community helpers such as policemen, firemen and bus drivers.


(ages 3-7)

Puzzles, a matching game, books and a puppet will engage budding paleontologists in engaging literacy and math activities.

Fairy Tales

(ages 4-7)

Read and retell fairy tale classics such as Jack and the Beanstalk, then make your own tales using the Fairytale Spinner Game.


Every Child Ready to Read


Learning to read begins before children start school. From the time they are infants, children learn language and other important pre-reading skills so they have an advantage when they enter school.

Help your child get ready to read with these easy activities you can do at home each day!

Reading: Reading together is the single most important way to help children get ready to read. Shared reading helps children develop an interest in reading so they are more likely to want to learn to read themselves.

Singing: Songs are a natural way for children to learn about language. Songs slow down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words.

Talking: Children learn by listening. Talking to your children is one of the best ways to help them learn new words and information.

Writing: Writing and reading go together. Scribbling and writing help children learn that written words stand for spoken language.

Playing: Playing helps children put thoughts into words and think symbolically so they understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences. And play helps children express themselves and put thoughts into words.  

Attend a storytime or playgroup to learn more about Early Literacy from our Youth Librarians!


More Resources


Every Child Ready to Read


Toddler STEM


Baby Brain Development


Book List for Little Ones


The Power of Play


Talking is Teaching Tips