Empower Your Children to be Successful Readers!

Kindergarten isn't what it used to be. Kids today are expected to recognize their ABC's, their colors and shapes, and have a strong vocabulary before they start school!  The good news is that parents are the best teachers and you can make a difference in preparing your child for school. Below are some links to tips and ideas to help you prepare your child for school and for a lifetime of reading! 

Studies show that reading to children significantly increases their chances to succeed in school. So if you are a parent of an infant or toddler - or have young children that you care for - read out loud to them as often as possible. The basic skills for reading include learning the letters of the alphabet, the sounds of letters and new words.

The earlier you start, the better their chances will be to develop good reading skills on their own. And that's the basis for success in school.

Tips for helping your child become a strong reader

group reading* Read with your child every day. Make it fun by reading in different rooms, on the front steps or the backyard.

* What's that sound? Young children need to understand sounds in order to read words. Pointing out things like fire truck sirens, barking dogs or car horns in the neighborhood can help your child learn about different sounds.

* Sing songs. Songs can help your child learn and remember new words. Sing lullabies or sing along to the radio in the car. Have fun making up your own songs with your child.

* Talk to your child. Use everyday events like taking a bath, getting dressed or brushing teeth as a chance to talk with your child. Ask lots of questions, use short sentences, and lots of words - especially new words.

* Play a rhyming game. If you are in a car or bus, help your child look for objects outside. For example, "I see a tree. What word can you think of that rhymes with tree?" Rhyming helps your child learn sounds and words.

Man and girl reading* Be an Alphabet Detective. Help your child find an "A" on a sign, a "B" on a license plate, and so on. Take your child shopping and find the first letter of his or her name in labels on products you are purchasing.

* Write a grocery list together. Say the items you plan to buy as you write them down. This shows your child how letters form words.

* Have your child draw a picture and tell you a story. Drawing is one of the first steps in learning to write. Telling stories helps young children develop language skills.

Great Book Ideas for Families!

Here are some book ideas to get you started, but don't stop there!  Your local library and book store have many book choices for you and your children!  Swap books and book ideas with family and friend so you always have lots of book choices!

Below are some great choices as selected by Dolly Parton's Imagination Library:


Children born in 2009:
Born Yesterday
This Monster Cannot Wait
One Cool Friend
At This Very Moment
Tale of Peter Rabbit
Betty Bunny Didn't Do It
Cinders: Chicken Cinderella
Owl Moon
Where Butterflies Grow
My Teacher
Mary and Her Little Lamb
If I Built a Car

Children born in 2010: 

Legend of the Indian Paintbrush
Bringing the Rain to the Kapiti Plain
My Baby Blue Jays
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Luke Goes to Bat
The Perfect Present
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
 Ladybug Girl and Bingo
Not Your Typical Dragon
Night House, Bright House
Miss Maple's Seeds
Bella's Rules
Otis & the Puppy

Children born in 2011: 

A House is a House For Me
The Story of Ferdinand
Truck Stop
I Know a Wee Piggy
Read to Tiger
Llama Llama & the Bully Goat
Old Bear and His Club
Little Burro
Meet Me at the Moon
Llama Llama Time to Share
Snowy Day

Children born in 2012: 

My Little Train
King Jack & the Dragon
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Big Sister, Little Sister
Big Brother, Little Brother
Tea Party Rules
One Foot, Two Feet
Little Owl's Night
My No, No, No Day
I am a Rainbow
Tomie DePaola's Mother Goose

Children born in 2013:

Spot Goes to the Library
You Are My I Love You
My Farm Friends
Red Wagon
ABC Look at Me
Good Night Gorilla
Little Loon and Papa
Your Kind of Mommy
All of Baby, Nose to Toes
Little Pink Pup

Children born in 2014: 

Giggles With Daddy
Corduroy Goes to the Doctor
Whose Baby Am I?
My First Songs
Peek A Boo Morning
Winnie-the-Pooh's Opposites
Look Look!
Where's My Nose?
Llama Llama Nighty Night
Baby Sounds
Baby Signs

Family Reading Checklist!

Parents, grandparents and other important adults in children's lives can have a powerrful impact on raising successful readers and learners. Here are some suggestions to help give your children the best start possible in school and in life! Put a check mark next to the ones that you are already doing. In a month or so, review the list to see if you have added any to your family schedule.

___ I read aloud to my children.

___ I buy books for birthday and holiday gifts.

___ My family makes regular use of the library.

___ My children see me reading for both pleasure and information from a variety of books.

___ I take a positive interest in all of my children's school subjects.

___ Our family plays word games and other learning activities.

___ My children have a dictionary that is appropriate to their age group.

___ I encourage my children to learn and use new words.

___ My children have a bookcase or shelf to keep personal books.

___ I encourage my children to write notes and letters and provide help when necessary.

___ I encourage my children to read for enjoyment every day.

___ I make sure that my children are well-rested and have a good breakfast each day before school.

___ I have regular contact with my children's teachers.


Read to Succeed Buffalo is looking for volunteers aged 50+ to help tutor small groups in Buffalo Public Schools. Click here to learn more.


Parents have the power to give children a strong start in school. Click here for tips to help your child love reading!  Read more.

News Articles

Free Books for Children
Residing in Zip Code 14215

Read to Succeed Buffalo has brought Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to Buffalo!

Each month all registered children from birth to age five will receive a new, age-appropriate book through the mail that will be theirs to keep! The child will continue to receive a free book every month until their fifth birthday - that's 60 books if a child is registered in the program from birth! This is a great way for children to start creating their own library at home. 

Your child is eligible:

  • From birth until he or she is 60 months (five years) old
  • If he or she resides in the 14215 zip code.

If you have questions, please contact Lisa McCue at 716-843-8895 or [email protected]

Parents Share Their Reading Tips

Other parents are often the best source for great tips!  Check out the video below or click here to get some great ideas on how you can get your kids excited about reading!


See more parent videos by clicking here.