Early Literacy Programs and Practices at Colorado Public Libraries

In efforts to help young children aged birth through six prepare to read, public libraries across the nation are stepping to the fore with new or enhanced early literacy programs and services. Early literacy – as used in this report – defines what children know about
reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Many such programs, often aimed at both children and adults, endeavor to help children build pre-reading and prewriting skills while helping adults learn methods for engaging children in such activities.
These activities can also serve to enhance the position of libraries as centers of learning for pre-school age children and their families.

In Colorado, the Colorado State Library (CSL) ardently promotes and supports early literacy services in public and school libraries through widespread training sessions, informational workshops, grant dissemination, and engagement in coalitions and strategic
partnerships. As an additional means of furthering such endeavors, this report provides information for the library community and all other interested parties about a broad range of early literacy programs and services currently underway in Colorado’s public libraries. It describes the history, implementation, and implications of these activities as well as offering programmatic tips and best practices information.


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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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