A Guide to early learning: A welcome letter from Reading by 9


The other day, my 4-year old son came bounding into the house from the school and begged me to write down a new word for him: galumphing. “It means to go slowly!” he informed me.

I was thrilled. We’ve been reading to him since the day he came home from the hospital, and here he was, noticing the joy and power of one amazing word. He wanted to see the way the letters lined up, and how they might sound when pressed together. I wrote down “galumphing” on a piece of construction paper with delight. My son, the reader-in training.

It’s never too early to instill a love for reading. Books foster imagination and open portals to new worlds beyond what a child can fathom. Books can be silly. They can be sad. They can bounce off the tongue in a syncopated rhyme.


Building a foundation for literacy can help children expand their vocabulary, confidence and understanding of the world. The journey starts on day one, as they soak in the voices around them and begin to make their own gurgles and cries.

Reading board books, singing silly songs and engaging in imaginative play can help build a strong foundation for reading as little ones learn sound and develop language.

Engaging with the written word doesn’t have to be restrictive. Read them cereal boxes, signs and lyrics. Read stories in other languages. Create silly voices for different characters or take time to stop for a second and admire a picture. Read them the books they love over and over again or find a new treasure at the library. Create a sense of joy and play.

Since 1998, Reading by 9 has brought resources and book recommendations to parents as they’ve embarked on this journey with their young learners. Available in English and Spanish, with generous support from the Ballmer Group, this year’s literacy guide is filled with advice from experts along with a range of book recommendations for parents and educators. Find research-based tips from local organizations, including the Los Angeles Public Library, First 5 LA, Raising a Reader, Zero to Three, Sprout Speech and Language Therapy and Read to a Child.

We hope these resources will help build a lifelong love of reading and literacy skills for the child in your life, as we go galumphing through parenthood together.

View the full guide here.