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Early Learning

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The Santa Maria Public Library’s Youth Services division seeks to engage young children up to age five in the joys of reading and learning, preparing them for later school success.

Bouncing Baby Story Time is time for you and your baby to bond at a playful story time. Bouncing Baby Story Time offers exploration of pre-literacy skills through music, movement, and visual stimulation as well as promoting a healthy bond between baby and caregiver.

Literacy Kits with books and activities to promote literacy for babies and preschoolers are available for checkout in our Youth Services department.

Play, Move, and Learn with Your Toddler is a high-energy learning experience just for toddlers aged 1 to 3 and their caregivers. Toddlers will learn and grow through stories, movement, and music.

Preschool Story Time features stories, puppets, finger plays, and songs. SMPL also offers bilingual story time!

Check out the Library calendar for more information on these and other Youth Services programs.

Digital Resources for Early Learning:


ABC Mouse (Access is available only within the Library)
ABC Mouse helps kids learn to read through phonics, and teaches lessons in math, social studies, art, music, and much more. For kids ages 2 to 6.


Story Place

Story Place is a children’s digital learning library. With stories and activities for children of all ages, Story Place brings the fun of the library online.



PBS Kids

With PBS Kids you can read stories, listen to music, play games and color along with your favorite characters.



5 Simple Practices that Promote Early Learning


  • Talk to your children even if they aren’t talking yet.
  • Talk with your child as you go through daily routines. Explain things and ask questions
  • Talk with your children in the language you know best.


  • Singing slows down language so children can hear sounds and syllables. This will help them sound out words when they begin to read.
  • Do not worry if you are not a good singer. Your children will love singing with you!
  • Sing with your child in the language you know best.


  • Read with with your children every day!
  • Read with your child in the language you know best.
  • As you read together, point to letters and words on the page.


  • Make crayons, markers, and paper accessible.
  • Scribbling leads to writing. Give your child plenty of time to scribble and draw.
  • Let your child see you write in the language you know best.


  • Play = learning!
  • Children learn and use language by playing with one another.
  • Give your child time for free play during the day.  

Adapted from First 5 California. Visit the First 5 website for more information on early learning.