Learning to read isn't easy, but we have five simple -- yet powerful -- ways to help children of any age develop the skills they need before entering kindergarten.

In fact, if you have a young child, or are the caregiver of one, chances are good you already incorporate them into the time you spend together.

The five components are reading, writing, talking, singing and playing. Although inexpensive and easy to do anytime, these five practices are early literacy all-stars, paving the way for children to become successful readers in school.

As a child's first teacher, it is important parents and caregivers understand how easy it is to work reading, writing, talking, singing and playing into daily activities and that they have many ways to do so.

As you'd expect, Worthington Libraries materials, services and programs to help.

The early literacy guides on the library website, worthingtonlibraries.org/borrow/lists, not only explain these five practices more fully, but they also offer ideas for easy activities you and your baby, toddler or preschooler can enjoy throughout the day. Book recommendations accompany each section.

During library storytimes, children ages 5 and under have so much fun they don't realize they are getting a leg up on learning how to read. Fortunately for parents, each library location has several storytimes scheduled throughout the day, almost every day of the week. Storytimes are back from a short winter break on Jan. 6. Go to worthingtonlibraries.org/calendar/storytimes for a schedule.

Extend storytime with Discovery Kits you may check out from any Worthington Libraries location. Inside each are books, music CDs, manipulatives and suggested activities. Kits cover such themes as dinosaurs, farms, feelings, getting ready for school and zoo animals. You'll find the blue-and-black bags in each location's children's department.

For more information about how reading, writing, talking, singing and playing can help your child develop language and other early literacy skills, you also can talk to one of the experts in the children's department of any Worthington Libraries location.

Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.