Early Years

Youth Services Logo - Begin at the Library

Due to current public health guidelines, Whatcom County Library System has cancelled or postponed all programs, events, branch services and outreach activities until further notice. We will share updates — and free online library resources you can use at home — on our website and social media pages. 

WCLS at Home: Let's Practice

LET’S PRACTICE: We are dedicating each day of the week to one of the five practices developed through the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read initiative: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. Every day we will post a prompt to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to give families concrete ideas for practice.

Monday: Talking

Let's Practice Talking

Talking with and around young children helps build vocabulary. The more words a child knows, the easier it will be to sound them out when the time comes. And talking builds narrative skills, helping children understand how words and sentences fit together to tell stories and impart information.

  • Let’s Practice: Reading

    Go on a walk today and point to and read all the signs you see — stop signs, street signs, for sale signs, etc. Noticing print helps children get ready to read.

    We’d love to see you Practicing! Share a photo or video of your little ones Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing and Playing with your followers on Instagram. Be sure to mention us (@wclslibraries) and use the hashtag #wclsletspractice. We won’t see your posts if your account is private, but your friends will and we hope they will start practicing with us too.

Tuesday: Singing

Let's Practice Singing

Singing involves sounding different syllables on different notes, helping children understand how words can be separated into smaller parts. And many songs include rhyme and meter, giving children experience with the patterns of language.

Wednesday: Reading

Let's Practice Reading

Reading to children allows them to associate books and stories with closeness and intimacy, making it an especially treasured activity. And reading near and around children lets them see how reading operates, and know it is valued by the important adults in their lives.

Thursday: Writing

Let's Practice Writing

Writing helps children understand that words on the page originated as someone else’s thoughts and ideas. Practicing writing can include both handwriting, building fine motor skills with a pencil or crayon, and composition, arranging alphabet blocks or magnetic letters into words.

Friday: Playing

Let's Practice Playing

Playing builds bonds between parent and child, supporting all of the other practices (and making life happy, to boot). Creative play fosters healthy imagination, preparing children to dive into other people’s stories, and create stories of their own.

Let us know how the Five Practices are helping you and your young children get ready to read!

Every Child Ready to Read

Every Child Ready to Read is a project of the American Library Association designed to help young children build early literacy: what they need to know about reading before they learn to read. The program identifies five practices that families can engage in with their young children to gain knowledge, build skills, and develop enthusiasm about reading. By talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing, regularly and intentionally, families can pave the way for success in school and a lifetime of reading enjoyment.



Toddler girl with picture book

Take a look at some of the handy booklists we have built right into the library catalog.

Our whopping selection of books (board books, picture booksnonfiction booksbeginning reader books) means kids can fill their homes with the sort of literary variety to inspire a lifelong love of reading. Choosing just the right picture book is a critical decision (“Read it AGAIN!”) and we love helping you find the perfect books for you to read aloud (over and over and over).

Mother and child at Toddler Time


Programs for toddlers and preschoolers give families a place to come together to learn, play, and share in the joy of story. Read more about our variety of storytimes or check our calendar to find a storytime near you!

Girl with puppets


For our youngest patrons, the library is a place of discovery. Early Learning Centers in every library provide opportunities for imaginative play, encouraging skills that lay the groundwork for later success in school.

Learn more about the WCLS response to COVID-19.
View our online calendar for up to information on future events.