The First Five Yearssix cartoon children reading a book

A child’s development in the first five years of life is amazing! From the moment a child is born, they start absorbing information through their senses and by age five, most children are speaking, writing, beginning to read, and able to control and coordinate their movements. 

The support a child receives from their caregivers in the first five years of life sets the stage for future success. Whether watching a storytime, checking out books to read together, or discovering learning games in our e-resources, the library provides an abundance of resources that can help parents navigate this time in their child’s life and reinforce early learning at home.

The library encourages parents explore our birth to Pre-K resources below and speak to a Youth Services team member to learn more about services, programs and resources for the whole family.

Early Literacy is the Foundation to Learning

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can read and write. 

Developing early literacy skills begins at birth and prepares children for a future of reading and learning. Parents are a child’s first teacher and the library is here to support families. 

Learn more about Early Literacy.

Early Literacy Calendar of ActivitiesEarly Literacy Activity Calendar

Check out these fun ideas and activities to help keep the learning going all month long.


1,000 books before kindergarden.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is a fun, exciting and free program that encourages the love of reading. 

Children can earn fun rewards by listening to stories while caregivers learn important tips that can help their child become successful readers.

Find out how to participate in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.

Storytime Anytime
Online Storytime Anytime!

Enjoy a prerecorded storytime at home or on the go with Online Storytime Anytime! or Bilingual Storytime Anytime! available on our YouTube channel. This is a condensed version of our in-person storytimes and includes a variety of songs, stories, rhymes and caregiver tips designed to promote and reinforce literacy and language development.

Watch Storytime Anytime!
Books To Read

We offer a diverse collection of books to choose from including new titles hot off the press, children’s classics, and books that tackle common challenges for your child like potty training or a new sibling. Library staff are ready to help you locate the perfect book for your needs.
Take a look at our reading lists for tough topics.

Reading Lists for Tough Topics

Knowledgeable Staff

Our youth services team is made up of trained and skilled professionals dedicated to serving children and families. We intentionally incorporate early learning practices and literacy tips for caregivers into all of our birth to Pre-K programming, introducing early literacy skills and activities that parents can try at home with their children.

Supercharged Storytime

Welcome to a very special Storytime! You may think you know all about the program but there is more to it than meets the eye! In this video we’ll be learning the story behind Storytime. 

Library E-Sources for Young Children

We offer online educational materials for children that can be used to reinforce early literacy skills. These online tools have the greatest impact when parents and children explore them together. 

We recognize that digital content can be helpful learning tools and we encourage caregivers to review screen time recommendations with their pediatrician. We also recommend that parents review online content before introducing it to their child. Below are some helpful resources to help parents make informed decisions about their child’s media use.

Not all apps and digital services are created equally and there are many to choose from. Common Sense Media is a great guide to help families make informed decisions on apps, music, games, books, movies and more. 

Learning E-Sources for Young Children 

  • ABCmouse - Find interactive books, educational games, puzzles and other learning activities for young learners (ages 2-7+). Free use in the library only.

  • BookFlix - A literacy resource for children in grades Pre-K – 3. BookFlix pairs classic animated stories with thematically aligned nonfiction to build a love of reading and learning. This resource will help early readers develop and practice essential reading skills, and introduces them to a world of knowledge and exploration.

  • hoopla – hoopla offers digital access to music for children, early readers, picture books, movies, and more.

  • Miss HumbleBee's Academy - An interactive learning program for children ages three to six. Aligned with preschool and elementary standards.

  • OverDrive – OverDrive offers eBooks and audiobooks for children and parents. Borrow picture books, beginning readers, parenting guides and more!

  • TumbleBooks – TumbleBooks is a curated database of children's titles for grades K-6, and includes our unique animated, talking picture books, read-along chapter books, National Geographic videos, non-fiction books, playlists, as well as books in Spanish and French. Plus, the collection features Graphic Novels – a student favorite! It's a great resource for tech-savvy kids and teaches them the joy of reading in a format they'll love.

  • World Book Early Learning –World Book Early Learning offers a wealth of resources to help preschoolers and children in the early grades grasp critical early childhood themes while developing reading and oral language skills.
Local Resources for Parents

There are many community agencies that focus on assisting young children and families with early development needs. The following organizations are local to Lee County and offer a variety of services.

  • Early Learning Coalition SWFL - The mission of the Early Learning Coalition in SWFL is to enhance the quality of children’s lives by providing families, early childhood educators, care-givers and community partners in Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties, with opportunities to positively impact the future.

  • Safe Kids Lee/Collier - Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties is working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children and teens in Southwest Florida.

  • Healthy Start of SWFL - The mission of Healthy Start in SWFL is to increase healthy births by improving health & developmental outcomes for young children and reduce the number of infant deaths in Collier, Hendry, Glades and Lee County.
Kindergarten Readiness – Tools to Help Parents Prepare Kids for Kindergarten

Starting preschool, VPK, or kindergarten should be an exciting time for you and your child. The following articles provide helpful tips and information when deciding whether your child is ready for preschool or kindergarten.

  • 13 Tips for Starting Preschool: Is your child entering a preschool program for the first time? Use these tips to help both you and your child make a smooth transition.

  • Kindergarten Here We Come: While many of us focus on the basics of letter and number recognition or reading skills, kindergarten readiness encompasses more than a few isolated skills. Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for Kindergarten.

  • Ready for Kindergarten? Five teachers share the top readiness skills that kindergarten teachers look for.
Registering for Early Head Start, VPK, or Kindergarten in Lee County

A child starts developing the skills they will need for kindergarten the moment they are born but not all children develop at the same pace. The following articles provide some insight as to what schools expect a child to know before they enter kindergarten. 

Early Head Start/Head Start
The School District of Lee County offers Early Head Start and Head Start at various locations throughout the county. This Lee County Public Schools webpage has information about how to apply. 

Voluntary Pre Kindergarten (VPK)
VPK enrollment is done through the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida. The agency also provides parent information that helps determine school readiness, choosing the right preschool, and assistance for daycare. Visit the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida website.

Parents can register their children for public kindergarten through the School District of Lee County's Student Enrollment Office. This Lee County Public Schools webpage provides helpful information about the process. The process for charter and private schools may be different.