YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher.

The first three years of life are the greatest and most critical period for brain development. Newborns learn from loving interactions with family members. Reading, talking, and singing with your baby everyday will help ensure success in school and in life. It’s never too early to start! Build books into your baby’s routine, at bath time, before naps and bedtime, and whenever either of you are stressed or anxious. The soothing rhythm of reading or story telling will calm both of you. You will strengthen the bond between you, help you both relax, and enhance your baby’s brain and language development.

Surround your child with fun reading activities. Take them to the library, neighborhood playgroups, and story times. Continue these nurturing reading routines from birth on and your child will blossom.

Benefits of Reading With Your Child

Birth – 1 year old:

Reading, talking, and singing with your baby during the first year helps develop your child’s language skills. When you show them board books and describe pictures with simple words, they learn concepts such as letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. Additionally, they learn new word sounds that build the foundation for speaking.

Age 1 – 2 years old:

During these years, reading introduces many different syllables that help your child develop their vocabulary. Your child can learn up to 10 new words each day! Read, sing, and talk with your toddler all day. Hearing a variety of words helps your child build a strong early vocabulary and better pronunciation skills.

Age 3 - 5 years old:

During the preschool years, children begin to learn how to read on their own. Introduce new books that challenge their vocabulary and read them together. Encourage them to say words they recognize as you turn pages and pronounce words they don’t yet know. As you do daily tasks, point out and say new words they see – at breakfast on cereal boxes, at the grocery store, signs you see while driving. Your child will become aware of how reading is used in everyday life. Continuing your daily reading routines will help build your child’s literacy and confidence. These skills will help them successfully transition to attending school.


Storytimes are great opportunities for families to be exposed to new books, songs, and activities which help to ensure a fun and engaging life at home. The following libraries host storytimes for families of preschoolers. Click on the library name to view the library's calendar of events for up-to-date storytime days and times.

Antrim County

Benzie County

Grand Traverse County

Kalkaska County

Leelanau County

Books for Babies:

This little piggy
Este Cochinito - Kubler, Annie

Row, row, row your boat
(board book) - Kubler, Annie

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
Martin, Bill

Clap Hands
Oxenbury, Helen

Llama llama, nighty-night
Dewdney, Anna

Where is baby's belly button?
Katz, Karen

Ready for winter
Jocelyn, Marthe

I like bugs
Siminovich, Lorena

That's not my pig… its nose is too fuzzy
Watt, Fiona

Beep Beep
Horacek, Petr

Books for 2’s and 3’s:

If you're hoppy
Sayre, April Pulley

Pete the cat: I love my white shoes
Litwin, Eric

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
Christelow, Eileen

Grumpy Bird
Tankard, Jeremy

A good day
Henkes, Kevin

No, David!
Shannon, David, 1959

Mommy book
Parr, Todd

Bear says thanks
Wilson, Karma

Spring is here
Hillenbrand, Will

Freight train
Crews, Donald

Books for 4’s and 5’s:

Ten little caterpillars
Martin, Bill

Guess how much I love you
McBratney, Sam

How do dinosaurs say good night?
Yolen, Jane

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus
Willems, Mo

Dog and Bear : two friends, three stories
Seeger, Laura Vaccaro

Rhyming dust bunnies
Thomas, Jan

Where the wild things are
Sendak, Maurice

Skippyjon Jones
Schachner, Judith Byron

I stink!
McMullan, Kate

If you give a mouse a cookie
Numeroff, Laura Joffe

Visit the Traverse Area District Library website for more information. Better yet, visit in person and have fun looking at books, participating in story times, and more!



10 Things you can do to Raise A Reader!

by Reading Rockets

Read from day one. Start a reading routine in those very first days with a newborn. Even very young babies respond to the warmth of a lap and the soothing sound of a book being read aloud.

Talk, talk, and talk. A child's vocabulary grows through rich conversations with others. No matter your child's age, narrate what you're doing, talk in full sentences, and sprinkle your conversations with interesting words.

Share books every day. Read with your child every day, even after he becomes an independent reader.

Reread favorites. Most children love to hear their favorite stories over and over again. Rereading books provides an opportunity to hear or see something that may have been missed the first time, and provides another chance to hear a favorite part.

Send positive messages about the joys of literacy. Your own interest and excitement about books will be contagious!

Visit the library early and often. Public libraries are great resources for books, helpful advice about authors and illustrators, story times, and more. Make visiting the library part of your family's routine.

Find the reading and writing in everyday things. Take the time to show your child ways that adults use reading and writing every day. Grocery lists, notes to the teacher, maps, and cooking all involve important reading and writing skills.

Give your reader something to think and talk about. There are many different types of books available to readers. Vary the types of books you check out from the library, and seek out new subjects that give you and your reader something to think and talk about.

Know your stuff. Parents don't need to be reading specialists, but it is important to understand the basics about learning to read. 

Speak up if something doesn't feel right. Parents are often the first ones to recognize a problem. If you have concerns about your child's development, speak with your child's teacher and your pediatrician. It's never too early to check in with an expert.


Raise a Reader