Literacy Supports for Your Child


Did you know communities in Ottawa County have many ways to help families talk, read, sing and read to children prenatal to age 5? It’s never too early to start! Studies show children who hear words through conversation, singing, reading is more likely to be ready to succeed in school!

Diversity in Literacy — Reading Books

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WHO we are

  • The Great Start Parent Connection is part of the Great Start Collaborative. We are a
    group of parents, caregivers, and others in the parenting role of children from prenatal
    to 12 years old who live in Ottawa Area.

WHY we do what we do

Blog Posts on Literacy

Help! My baby won’t hold still to listen to a book!

Written by: Adrienne Baker, Youth Librarian, North Branch, Herrick District Library How on earth do you expect me to read to this squirmy little human? One of the most common worries we hear from caregivers here at the library is, “My child just doesn’t have the attention span to listen to me read books, yet.” Sound […]

Video created by DC Public Library.

Talking Is Teaching

“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a national public awareness and action campaign that empowers parents and caregivers with fun and easy ways to improve their babies’ learning, from birth to age five.

Using books, parent videos, text messaging, and social media, the campaign prompts parents to take advantage of everyday actions, such as describing things while walking outside or singing songs together during bath time.

Tips: Your Child’s Reading Behavior

“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a national public awareness and action campaign that empowers parents and caregivers with fun and easy ways to improve their babies’ learning, from birth to age five.

  • point to and describe the book’s pictures
  • point and label objects in the book
  • expand on the child’s verbal initiatives – “Yes, it’s a truck! Good! It’s a red truck!”
  • give the child a chance to complete rhymes in a poem
  • ask “open-ended questions” such as “What do you think will happen next?”

Free Books!

How do I donate gently used books to other families? Individuals: To donate books to be given away free to families, please email Monte Kelly or for little free libraries…..

Buy a NEW book to donate- Amazon wish list- books given free to families

Free books- include the rotary free little libraries

Local Libraries

Allendale Township Library


Allendale Library offers Storytimes, Music & Movement, as well as links to TumbleBooks Library, Early Learning by World Book, and Storytime Online to help and support early literacy in children. Offering the program 1,000 books before Kindergarten. For each 100 books read to the child, children will receive a prize. After 1,000 books are read, the child will receive a free book, completion certificate, and an opportunity to be on the Wall of Fame!

Coopersville Library


Coopersville Library offers storytimes on Facebook. Check out the Facebook page for everything youth-related including information, upcoming events, photos and book reviews. Check out Facebook and follow/like for the latest early literacy information.





Loutit District Library

Grand Haven

Loutit Library offers storytimes, for children 0-5. Follow the Facebook page for playlists, tips for early literacy! Loutit Little Bit is a monthly variety show for babies and Toddlers. Learn bounces, rhymes, and songs to enjoy with your your little one. Get inspired with ideas for games and activities using everyday household items. Learn ASL signs to help communication, tips to raise a reader, and ways to just have fun together! Streaming Storytime crafts, stories and fun to enjoy with your kiddos ages 0-5!

Herrick District Library


Herrick District Library, North and South locations offer baby, toddler, and preschool storytimes, links to our monthly early literacy calendars, and our early literacy kits. Countdown to Kindergarten for a digital preschool directory and additional materials to help PreK children get ready for school.

Gary Byker Library


Check out the website for Books to Go packpacks! Each packpack contains 8 books based on a theme. There are 10 backpacks to choose from such as transportation, pets, feelings, STEM, sing and play, shapes and colors, and more! Also, grab Book Bundles, perfect for families on the go.  Follow and like the FB page for Families can watch our family storytimes and Yoga Storytime!

Georgetown Township Public Library


Offering storytimes for children 18 mo to 5 years old. Also, sign up your child for the program 1,000 Books before Kindergarten. Also offering Books for Babies, infants under 6 months old receive a bag and a free cardboard book! Check out the events calendar for all early literacy events!

Spring Lake District Library

Spring Lake

Offering: The program, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, Discovery Packs–Backpacks with five themed children’s books and a sheet of rhymes and songs inside. They can be checked out for up to 3 weeks. As well as Ongoing Programs and events such as storytimes and story walks all to support early literacy and school readiness!

Howard Miller Library



Check out the Howard Miller Public Library You Tube channel for Toddler Laptimes and Preschool Storytimes or access videos through the Facebook page. Also, offering the program “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” through the Beanstack website


Birth to 5 years Play n Learn


Designed for families with children ages birth to 5 years old. Monthly sessions are based on a children’s book, with a story, fingerplays, crafts, and activities centered around the book. Each family receives a children’s book to take home. Child development and reading readiness information are also available for parents.

No pre-registration required.

Preschool Resources

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Parent Resources

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Ottawa Local Resources

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