Literacy Day!

At PCHP, every day is literacy day; actually, every day is “Early Literacy Day”, so we are thrilled that today people across the country will be thinking and talking about the importance of literacy.

What is literacy?  Yes, literacy involves reading and vocabulary, but it depends on so much more than just those two skills.  The basic components of literacy, especially early literacy, are talking and listening.  Life-long literacy and a love of reading are built on exposure to language-rich, vocabulary-stretching conversations when you are young.  Toys as well as books are critical early literacy tools.  Toys spark imagination and narrative – simply think about all the language that emerges from young children when they play with toy dishes, a set of farm animals, blocks, or paper and crayons.

This Literacy Day, and every day, we celebrate the books and toys that stretch vocabularies and imaginations.  These materials are the heart of the Parent-Child Home Program curriculum.  Many PCHP families may have no literacy materials in their homes when they begin the Program, but by the end, they have at least 23 of our favorite children’s books and 23 educational toys.

This year, we are celebrating Literacy Day by sharing two great activities – one linked to one of our favorite books, and one linked to a favorite toy.  Enjoy both of these with the children in your life, and remember to read to them even more today, have longer conversations, and play even more imaginative games than usual.  All of these activities will lead to your child learning – and having fun with you in the process!


Read Brown Bear, Brown Bear together today.

Early literacy, cognitive development, and reading readiness are all supported by the gentle rhythm and rhymes of this book.  Children love the repetition, and will be delighted when they can start to predict what comes at the end of the rhyme.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a great introduction to colors and animals for younger children.  With older children, let their imaginations run wild by having them add to the story!  Extend their vocabularies by adding new words.  For instance, if a child points to a red bird and says “wing!” you can say, “Yes, that’s the red bird’s wing.  It helps him to fly through the air!”


After reading the book together, make your own brown bear mask!  Retelling and extending the story through imaginative play with the mask will help develop early literacy skills.


brown bear mask

You Will Need:

  • Paper plates cut in half. Help your child cut two holes for eyes in each plate
  • Cut small circles from extra plates or paper – one circle for the nose and two half circles for the ears
  • Colored pencils, crayons, and/or paint for decorating the masks
  • Plastic straws, wooden dowel/chopsticks
  • Stapler or glue
  • Masking Tape


  1. Explain to your child that you will be making bear masks that they can use to act out the story
  2. Have them decorate the pieces of their masks in whichever way they choose (what color is their bear?)
  3. When children are finished decorating, help them glue or staple the nose and ears onto their masks
  4. Tape the straw or wooden dowel/chopstick to the back of their mask
  5. Ask your child “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” and tell your own version of the story together!


Play with blocks together!

Blocks are a great way to support cognitive development as well language skills and early literacy.  With blocks, children can use their imaginations to tell stories and build pretend worlds!

Encourage your child to play with blocks in many different ways.  Engage your child’s imagination – have a single block represent a car and use blocks to build a city.  Introduce new vocabulary to your child such as pillar, tower, stack, cylinder and column.  Talk about relationships, such as what causes things to happen.  Ask your child what they are building and tell them about what you like to build.

Make a block puzzle!

block puzzle

You Will Need:

  • Masking or Duct tape
  • Floor space
  • Wooden blocks



  1. Using the tape, create large shapes on the floor. Squares and rectangles are easiest for young children
  2. Work with your child to fit the wooden blocks into the large shape on the floor
  3. Children can make the puzzles tall, stacking blocks on top of one another once the base has been filled in
  4. Children may enjoy coming up with new puzzle “rules”. They could line blocks up just on the tape, or along the outside edge of the shape, but not inside the lines.

Ways to enhance literacy:

  • Sing a song while doing this puzzle together, such as “Do You Know What Shape I Have?”
  • Describe your actions and encourage your child to describe theirs. Make statements such as “This space has four sides, but the square block is too small.  What other shape block might fit there?”
  • Keep the conversation going! Talk about the color of the blocks, the texture, the size, what else you could do with blocks, etc.

For more of our favorite books and toys, please click here.


Related Resources

March 8, 2021

Dr. Chrishana M. Lloyd Joins the ParentChild+ Board of Directors...

ParentChild+ is pleased to announce the election of Dr. Chrishana M. Lloyd, a nationally recognized Early Childhood researcher, to its Board of Directors.  Tai Chang Terry, President of the ParentChild+ Board welcomed Dr. Lloyd to the Board noting, “She is an expert in the field of early childhood,…

August 27, 2020

ParentChild+ MA Virtual Site Visits...

Take look at what ParentChild+ Massachusetts has been doing during these unprecedented times to keep connected with the families they work with:

August 4, 2020

Read’s Initiative 2019-20...

The Reads Initiative has been helping to make significant impacts for families in South Jamaica, Queens and East New York, Brooklyn since 2014. Reads helps to serve the literacy needs of children and families in targeted low-income neighborhoods and ParentChild+ is honored to be a partner. Below you…

July 29, 2020

ParentChild+ featured in The Junior League of Charlotte presents The CRIER Spring/Summer 2020 ...

PARENTCHILD+ by Tammy Stanard ParentChild+ uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. The organization engages early in life and helps toddlers, their parents, and their family child care providers access a path to possibility. For families living in underserved communities, ParentChild+ is a first…

July 20, 2020

United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas Awards ParentChild+ COVID-19 ...

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA JULY 2020 – Since the COVID-19 crisis began in March, ParentChild+, a leading school readiness organization working in communities furthest from opportunity has rapidly adapted its model to meet the emergent needs of the families hardest hit by the crisis.  ParentChild+’s primary focus is eliminating…

July 9, 2020

Home Schooling: The ParentChild+ program has boosted high school graduation among Philly’s most ...

Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum believes that the messenger makes a difference. “You’re going to take what you hear from someone you don’t identify with versus a person you do identify with in a very different way,” she says. As the Pennsylvania state director of ParentChild+, an early literacy, school-readiness…

April 29, 2020

Laid Off and Stressed: What Do I Do With My Two-Year-Old?...

Tipping Point’s Early Childhood portfolio invests in organizations that provide literacy and parenting support to families with children ages 0-3. Under shelter-in-place, many of these low-income families have endured lost wages, lack of internet access, and overcrowded homes leading to an increase in parental stress. On top of…

April 21, 2020

Financial hardships abound amid the COVID-19 crisis – but it’s important to remember the ...

(Philly Voice) – Parents during the COVID-19 crisis are exhausted. They are struggling to stay safe and work essential jobs, while finding care for their children. They are struggling to maintain normalcy while working from home and juggling child care, home schooling and Zoom circle time. The burnout…

April 20, 2020

Home Visiting Continues — At a Distance...

(Education Dive) – Virtual visits can reach “families when nobody else is,” but experts say it’s necessary to have first established strong in-person relationships. Along the border with Nevada, home visitors in Mono County, California, are parking near the homes of their clients and using hotspots to connect…

March 10, 2020

New Charlotte Group Hopes Books, Toys And Toddlers Can Break Cycle Of Poverty...

(WFAE) – Mecklenburg County is expanding pre-K to get 4-year-olds ready for kindergarten – but what about getting younger children ready for pre-K? A national program that’s moving into Charlotte does just that. Nerys Centeno is one of the local pioneers. On a recent February afternoon, she arrived at…

March 1, 2020

The Best Children’s Books To Celebrate National Read Across America Day 2020...

(Forbes) – March 2 is National Read Across America Day, which encourages students of all ages—especially those without access to books and libraries—to read more. Luckily, there are organizations committed to this initiative year-round. For instance, the New York City-based Pajama Program promotes comforting bedtime routines for children…

February 14, 2020

Malden Family Welcomes Mayor Christenson for his first ParentChild+ Home Visit...

Malden ParentChild+ started in Fall 2019, with support from the Wellington Management Foundation and sponsored by the Malden Public Schools.  Now in its second year, the program is working with 20 families and their two- and three-year-old children, and plans to enroll up to 30 families by the…