Early Literacy

Early literacy and its impact on school success is one of the best examples of the return on investment in early childhood. High quality early learning experiences, rich in language and literacy, reduce early learning gaps and ensure that children are ready to start reading when they enter kindergarten.




Building Blocks to Becoming a Reader

Reading is vital to a child’s ability to learn and be successful in school. And the skills needed to be a good reader – like speaking and vocabulary – start developing from birth. But it doesn’t happen automatically. A child’s brain is not pre-wired for reading.

Even before a child can speak, they need to hear lots of words. When a child hears words and language from caring adults, their brains develop the important connections needed to learn how to read. Children whose parents and caregivers talk to them, read to them, tell them stories and sing them songs develop larger vocabularies, become better readers and do better in school. Every word counts.


Read On Arizona

First Things First is a founding partner of Read On Arizona, a statewide, public/private partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations and community stakeholders committed to creating an effective continuum of services to improve language and literacy outcomes for Arizona’s children from birth through age eight.




Favorite Books for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers


Reading to Infants

Birth to 1 year
In the first year, reading is more about contact and comfort than story. But books can be a wonderful way to interact and bond with your baby.




Reading to Toddlers

Ages 1-3
Between one and three years, books can help your child learn about the world, share their own experiences, and discover that reading together is fun.




Reading to Preschoolers

Ages 3-5
At three to five years, books can become a springboard for your child's energy and imagination.