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Study after study has shown that reading to children even before they can talk has real benefits for their development as readers and learners. Becoming a Nation of Readers reports that “the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” We at HCPL encourage you to read with your kids for twenty minutes a day. HCPL librarians are here to offer hints and encouragement as well as reading recommendations.

Early literacy helps children develop into life long readers

  • Reading Readiness - learning to use books
  • Print Awareness - understanding that words on a page have meaning
  • Vocabulary - knowing the names of things
  • Phonological Awareness - hearing the smaller sounds that make up words (songs and nursery rhymes are a wonderful example of this skill)
  • Narrative Skills - understanding that stories have a beginning, middle and end, being able to "re-tell" a story
  • Letter Knowledge - learning the name of each letter and it's sound
  • Print Motivation - an interest and enjoyment in books! 

Mother reading to Baby


Care for a young child? Bright by Text can help!




Bright by Text is for anyone who cares for and loves a child, prenatally through age 8: parents, parents-to-be, grandparents, babysitters, aunties, uncles, neighbors, friends, teachers, and more.

Bright by Text is a text messaging service that provides free tips, information, and resources for parents and caregivers. The curated content comes from trusted partners like PBS and Sesame Street. Messages are targeted to a child’s age and include information on development, language and early literacy, health and safety, behavioral tips, and more.

Sign up for this text service here  Bright by Text is completely free, but message and data rates may apply.

Early Literacy Programs

Story Times
Storytime at the library

HCPL branches offer a variety of story times for children as they grow, from infant lapsits, baby times, toddler times, pre-school story times, as well as story times for school-age children. Each offer age-appropriate stories and activities designed to spark your child's love of reading in a fun and safe atmosphere. Click on Events to find the story times that is right for your child.

Go to Story Times in Events

Family Learning Centers
At HCPL, early literacy is a family affair.

HCPL has Family Learning Centers at branches throughout the county.

George and Barbara Bush Family PlaceTM Libraries 
made possible by a generous grant from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation 

Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in a young child’s growth and development. Each Family Place Library features specially trained staff and uniquely designed spaces.

Barbara Bush Branch Library

Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library

High Meadows Branch Library

Jacinto City Branch Library

LSC-Tomball Branch Library
Maud Marks Branch Library

Octavia Fields Branch Library

Parker Williams Branch Library


Family Learning Center Libraries
made possible by a generous grant from the Save the Children Foundation


Aldine Branch Library
Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek
Spring Branch Memorial Branch Library



Para los niños
Fun family learning and parenting programs for parents whose first language is Spanish

Para los niños is a series of bilingual library programs designed to help kids and parents learn the skills that lead to success in school and in life. Each program focuses on a theme like family communication, healthy minds healthy bodies, math at home, raising a reader, setting limits and more.

Go to Para los niños in Events LINK***

1001 Books Before Kindergarten
Help your little one be reading-ready.

This early literacy program is designed to help ready your child for Kindergarten. It sounds like a lot of books, but if you read only one book a day, you will be done in under three years! We hope you & your child will grow to love reading as much as we do, and we know that you will create special memories of reading together through participation in this program. Check with the staff at your branch library to see what resources and programs are offered locally to guide and encourage you and your child through your reading journey. Sign up with your librarian, or simply download the materials below.

Let your kids keep track of their progress with these reading logs!

1 - 100 101 - 200  201 - 300  301 - 400  401 - 500
501 - 600  601 - 700  701 - 800  801 - 900  901 - 1001