How does playing with children help them get ready to read?

Playing is one of the five early literacy practices that prepare children for reading. Children learn thru all of their senses and what better way to learn than through playing.

Playing gives a child a chance to explore new ideas, improve physical abilities, learn social skills, as well as the basics of storytelling, and problem-solving.

Playing is the theme in the new books below and it introduces all of the different ways for children to explore their environment. Read these fun and playful stories with children and embark on an adventure of learning how to play all over again. Visit your local Fort Worth Library for these great new reads and even more!

Dad by My Side

By Soosh

Little, Brown and Company, 2018

Ages 3 and up

This debut picture book by artist Soosh, is sure to warm your heart when you read and appreciate all the different playful things a father and daughter share together. Dad makes time for her when he is working on his laptop at home. Dad isn’t afraid to be silly and performs a puppet show to his audience of one. He also isn’t shy about trying to use a hula hoop next to his little girl. Dad teaches her how to play old familiar games or how to use her imagination when making shadow creatures on the wall. Dad is a superhero and a storyteller too. Most of all, dad is special because he takes time to play and engage with her throughout his busy week.

Daddy, Me, and the Magic Hour

By Laura Krauss Melmed

Sky Pony Press, 2018

Ages 4 and up

This enchanting book explores the special bond between a father and son. The magic hour is the time of day between supper and bedtime for this duo. A game of tic tac toe, stick fighting, and learning how to catch fireflies is a whimsical way to wind down your evening with your favorite person. Follow along on their journey to the park and see all the different characters they engage with as well as the games they play for their special “magic hour” every evening before bedtime.


By Ilan Brenman

Algar Editorial, Spanish Edition 2018

Ages 3 and up

Can we play together? Meet Pedro and his friends and family. One by one, they invite him to play with them and Pedro is totally focused on his tech gadget. Pedro’s friend invites him to play with his rocket ship and go on a mission to outer space, but Pedro insists he is already “playing.” During recess, Pedro’s friends invite him to play with them to go skateboarding or play basketball. Pedro was “plugged in” and didn’t hear them talking to him. Pedro’s father invites him to go bird watching with him and his younger sister, but once again, Pedro maintains he’s already playing. At the end of story, Pedro discovers how playing and engaging with his family or friends is always more entertaining than using his tablet or video game!

Grandma’s Purse

By Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Alfred A. Knopf, 2018

Ages 3 and up

When Grandma Mimi comes for a visit, she always brings her magical purse with all of the whimsical things that can fascinate and entertain her young granddaughter. You never know what she might have inside—big sunglasses, special jewelry, old pictures, candy, and maybe even a gift for her beloved granddaughter. It might look like an old patched up carpet bag, but to her granddaughter, it’s filled with excitement and anticipation for what is inside! This playful book displays the love of grandchild and grandparent and shows a simple way to make that visit even more special by making memories combined with play.

The Little Red Fort

By Brenda Maier

Scholastic Press, 2018

Ages 4 and up

What young child doesn’t love to build forts? Meet Ruby! She’s a young builder and invites her brothers to help her build “The Little Red Fort.” Task by task, Ruby is brushed off by brothers who are playing. She gathers materials and draws her plans. With the support of her parents and grandmother, she builds her fort. The finished product catches her brothers’ attention and they helped her make it even more special with some last minute finishing touches. This playful book will remind you of the days of playing with special people and the adventures you can have!

Playdates Rule!

By Rob McClurkan

Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017

Ages 3 and up

Finley and Ezra have their first play date! They have some adventures planned. They couldn’t be more excited but Ezra’s parents—not so much. Finley is an elephant! In the middle of their adventures, they’re reminded of the play date rules such as: no running in the house and using inside voices. The list of rules keeps growing until Finley winds up stuck in the roof. Read and share this laugh out loud book about two best friends who find a way to enjoy their playdate in spite of all the drama and damage that happens along the way.


By Steve Antony

Scholastic Press, 2017

Ages 3 and up

Get “unplugged” with Blip! She really likes being plugged in to her computer. While she is on her computer, she gets to do all kinds of fun things like playing games, dancing to music, and discovering faraway places. She does this all day long until one day, there is a blackout! In the darkness that follows, Blip trips over a wire and tumbles all the way out the front door, down a steep hill, and winds up drifting down a long winding river! She was outdoors! Blip meets new friends. She plays fun games and dances to music. She also visits faraway places. She is outside all day long. Finally, it was time to go back home and she plugs in again but all Blip can think about is how much fun she had playing outside with her new friends.

Dawn Guest is the library assistant at the Fort Worth Library.