May 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

The Best Early-Learning Blogs | First Steps

1603-FirstSteps-EarlyLearningBlogsWhen it comes to early learning, I can’t get enough of blogs. There are so many good ones out there that I hesitate to pick and choose—but I’m going to risk it. It’s important to the promotion of early learning that these names get out. Here are 14 of my favorites:

Going way beyond early literacy, this is the collaborative blog for the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Guest and regular bloggers ensure the site is updated daily.

Babies Need Words
This ALSC project is being supported by a collaborative blog tour, with many of the blogs mentioned here participating in spreading the word about why it is so critical to early learning success to talk, sing, read, and play with babies every day. Downloadable and customizable posters, brochures, and booklists can be found here.

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL)
Started by staff from more than a dozen Colorado public libraries and the Colorado State Library, this blog provides a comprehensive approach to delivering and supporting early literacy services.

Every Child Ready To Read
Not technically a blog, this version of a social network built around the ALSC/Public Library Association joint Every Child Ready to Read project contains suggested activities, resources, and videos.

Falling Flannelboards & Other Things I Didn’t Learn in Grad School
Created by Erin, a children’s librarian at the Allen County Public Library (IN), this blog is filled with great ideas for preschool and toddler storytimes, STEM/STEAM programming, and partnering with schools and other organizations.

Flannel Friday
Originally started in 2011 by Melissa Depper and currently run by a group of fairy godmothers, Flannel Friday is a weekly online event for sharing flannelboard and other library storytime activity ideas.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to early literacy storytimes? Tune in to Jbrary, literally. Via a Youtube channel attached to the blog, you can search for themed playlists, all wonderful.

Miss Mary Liberry
Offering “adventures with preschoolers, picture books, and early literacy,” this one offers inspiration for those who think they can’t “do” early literacy.

Reading with Red
Wisconsin librarian Brooke Newberry focuses on all things early learning here. Find lots of creative play activity ideas to incorporate on the public floor of your library.

Read Sing Play: Adventures in Early Literacy
Colorful, fun, and exuberant, this is the work of Kendra Jones, a children’s librarian in Washington. Click on “Play, Baby, Play” for posts galore of replicable open-ended early learning activities. The section on rhymes is dreamy.

Saroj Ghoting
Filled with academic, practical, and theoretical best practices and advice, this must-read site from early literacy consultant Saroj Ghoting offers everything for novices in the field all the way up to doctoral students.

Storytime Katie
The link about “flannels” is simple and easy to use, with bright photographs showing a large variety of flannel stories to re-create.

Storytime Underground
The brainchild of Cory Eckert, this is home base for a cadre of talented youth librarians who believe fully in the motto “sharing is caring.” Seriously, the site is packed.

The Show Me Librarian
Powered by Amy Koester, this blog is wonderful, especially for its dedication to all things STEAM. Click on the label “early literacy” for related inspiration and top-notch program ideas to try at your library.

Which did I miss? Let me know in the comments section.

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Lisa G. Kropp About Lisa G. Kropp

Lisa G. Kropp is the assistant director of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library in Lindenhurst, NY, and a forever children’s librarian.

Maker Workshop
In this two-week online course, you’ll create a maker program that aligns with your budget and community needs, with personal coaching from maker experts—from libraries and beyond—May 23 & June 6, 2018.


  1. Thank you so much for this great list of resources. I especially loved Falling Flannel boards, Jbrary, and Storytime Kate. Such awesome, practical suggestions. Much appreciated.

  2. lisa kropp says:

    Thanks so much Sarah!