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Early Literacy at OWL


Studies show that reading aloud with parents or caregivers is the most important activity when it comes to preparing children to read on their own.

Continuing to read aloud together, even after children know how to read on their own, is a way to keep families connected and helps provide opportunities for family discussion.





Parents and caregivers are children's first and most important teachers and reading is their most important subject. Did you know that 87% of the words in the English language follow rules? Knowing just a few of them will enable you to help your children tap and blend sounds and clap syllables. This in turn, will help you guide them to read to their highest potential.

Email [email protected] if you want guidance in working with your children.


Early Literacy is a key aspect of OWL’s children’s programming.

We believe strongly in the importance of not only reading, but deep reading.

We believe we are partners with parents, caregivers, and the child in helping them to learn to read and enjoy reading. Through program events, services, and materials, we offer the resources that can help make this happen.


Resources & Materials

The Oliver Wolcott Library has an extensive collection of materials to promote early literacy, including board books for our youngest pre-readers, a large collection of picture books and chapter books for families to read aloud together, and an early reader collection that contains: classics by Cynthia Rylant and Syd Hoff, the entire collection of Elephant & Piggie’s adventures, high interest nonfiction titles, and everything in between! We also have a growing section of materials in our Reading Resources section, a browsable collection for learning about reading--including the science of reading, books that teach reading and books that provide narratives that deepen understanding about reading struggles/acquisition etc.



We partner with Letters Are Characters, a program designed to support the development of reading skills in young readers. Provided in the program are tools and essential information for parents and guardians, to foster the growth of reading acquisition.

To register for the upcoming Letters Are Characters Early Literacy Program series, email Caroline Ugurlu at [email protected].



At OWL we are happy to help direct parents, caregivers, and teachers to resources and materials. We also believe strongly in pairing every child with books that match their interests and encourage their lifelong love of reading, as well as helping families choose the perfect titles to read-aloud together.

If you have questions directly related to early literacy/literacy/reading acquisition, and/or Letters are Characters call or email:
Early Literacy and Library Curation Specialist
Caroline Wilcox Ugurlu, PhD, Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.),
[email protected]

For readers advisory (what should I read next?), preschool literacy, and general questions regarding children’s services and programming call or email:
Youth Services Director
Patricia Moore (aka Mrs. Tricia)
[email protected] 

Creating the Reading Habit 

The greatest gift that you can give to children is time and attention. Reading to and with children develops a strong, solid bond and provides a framework to discuss important topics. Much of what we do as humans is generated from routines and habits. With that in mind, here are some reading habit tips that we hope you find helpful.

• Read to your children even when they are babies. Very young babies love to hear the sound of familiar voices and absorb much that helps their developing brains. They also find tasting books really fun.
• Choose a special cozy reading spot at home. Create it as a family activity.
• Read every day at about the same time so that it becomes part of your routine.
• Have a weekly library day. Choose books together and talk about interests.
• When reading with your children, take the time to explain unfamiliar words.
• Use illustrations as a way to talk about the story.
• Ask your children questions to check their comprehension during reading. For example:

“What do you think the character is feeling now?” (Did you know that reading increases empathy?)

“What do you think will happen next?”

“What are you picturing when I read this sentence/paragraph?”

• Make your time fun. Kids learn best when they are relaxed and playing.
• If your child loses interest, refocus by gently asking your child to find something on the page or choose another book.

Reading Fact & Literacy Resources

#1 – Reading happens in the brain and is a neurological process. Its’ acquisition is independent of intelligence. We need to wire our brains to read and some children need more repetition of science-based methods than others.

#2 – All Children learn best from explicit instruction about letter shapes and sounds. Phonemic awareness and phonics is important for all children and essential for more than 20%

#3 – The best time for early intervention is age 5 and 6. If your child is having difficulty recognizing letter symbols and matching them to sounds, don’t wait. Begin intervention.

#4 – A parent knows their child best. An involved parent can make all of the difference for a child who is struggling to read.

Have questions about reading acquisition/dyslexia? We have resources to help. In our children’s section, we have a special section dedicated to reading that includes books on the science of reading, dyslexia and instruction that will empower you to be able to ensure that your child reads to their highest potential.

Questions? Call or e-mail Caroline Wilcox Ugurlu, PhD, Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.), Children’s Library Assistant with focus on Early Literacy Services


Why Reading is Important

"Reading with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, to foster early language skills and to promote children’s development."

—James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, AAP President

If we read to our children they will:

  • Do better in school
  • Be more empathetic
  • Be happier
  • Develop stronger bonds with you
  • Develop imagination and creativity
  • Have improved language skills
  • Be better at thinking, understanding, reasoning and problem-solving
  • Have a framework to talk about tough issues
  • Be more likely to read for fun.


Library Cards

Children love having their own library card. Cards are free and we are a fines-free library. Library cards are important because they are a ticket to the magical world of books. Getting a library card is a right of passage to all of the empowering and enriching things that libraries bring to life. Click here to apply for a library card for your child.