Six Skills by Age Six
Launching Early Literacy at the Library
by Anna Foote and Bradley Debrick
November 2015, 228pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-61069-899-3
$50, £39, 44€, A69
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-900-6
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A child’s brain is 80 percent formed by age 3 and 90 percent formed by age 5. Discover the best ways to promote literacy during those all-important years.

This one-stop guide to nurturing six core early literacy skills at your library also offers practical tips for sharing these skills with parents, teachers, and other caregivers so they can institute them in playgroups, in school, or at home.

Though libraries have been presenting early literacy activities for decades, library staff may lack an in-depth understanding of early literacy skills and their place in preparing children for a lifetime of learning. Based on the program “6 by 6: Ready to Read,” this book is chock full of practical, everyday ideas on how you can foster the six core early literacy skills children should ideally acquire by age six.

The volume begins by introducing the importance of early literacy and explaining how to start or expand an early literacy program in your library, regardless of its size. Subsequent chapters explore the six core skills and offer suggestions on how to showcase them in library programs and services. The book also includes activities that relate to each skill, suggests books that are especially useful in exploring each skill, and tells you how to create early literacy spaces. Three sets of storytime plans—one each for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers—are presented as well. Written primarily for public librarians and library staff, this guide will also be informative for parents and for educators who work with young girls and boys.


  • Guides you in launching an early literacy program no matter the size of your library or budget
  • Simplifies the implementation of early literacy initiatives in your library
  • Helps you to educate parents and childcare providers on the importance of fostering literacy skills in young children
  • Suggest methods you can employ to involve parents in developing early literacy skills
Anna Foote, MLS, works at Northeast Kansas Library System, where she provides youth services and continuing education consulting services to school, academic, and public libraries throughout a 14-county region. Formerly, she was a youth services librarian at Johnson County (KS) Library. While there, Foote was part of the team that developed, tested, and implemented "6 by 6" at the library's Antioch location, which served as the creative incubator for the program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Kansas and a Master of Library Science and Information degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Bradley Debrick, MLS, is the early literacy coordinating librarian for the Johnson County (KS) Library. He provides storytime for preschoolers, makes frequent early literacy presentations to caregivers, and leads a select group of youth-focused staff in developing interactive, early literacy activity kits. Debrick holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Emporia State University and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas. He has served on the Children & Technology Committee and the Randolph Caldecott Award Selection Committee, both through the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.


"Overall, the authors do a wonderful job describing the process and providing examples of each type of early literacy stage. . . . [A] valuable tool for integrating early literacy activities into a public library setting."—School Library Journal, June 28, 2016
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