If you think about it, there’s a pretty huge leap between not being able to read and being able to read. It’s a little amazing that shapes on a piece of paper can be transformed by our minds into all of the ideas, stories, and emotions that make up our existence.
Not surprisingly, there is a lot that goes into being able to read before someone can actually do it. This includes having an understanding of narrative and plot, understanding that books contain exciting ideas and other cool stuff, understanding that different letters make different sounds, and more. (By the way: if you’re interested, Jefferson County Libraries use the Every Child Ready to Read initiative, which focuses on these pre-reading skills. All of our storytimes and children’s programming are built around developing these skills in pre-readers and young readers. You can find out more about that on our For Parents and Caregivers web page.)
A handy tactic to use in bridging the gap between not reading and reading is reading books with no words and books with few words. These books are accessible, simple and engaging without being off-puttingly hard. They’re great for building narrative skills, as they allow you and your child to create the story out of the illustrations. Importantly, they also lend credence to the idea that a book is its own world for its reader. Some of my favorites are listed here.