Explore Play Learn

Explore Play Learn is Waterloo Public Library’s approach to the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read™ program. At WPL, early learning programs for young children are based on early literacy research and include tips and information for parents and caregivers. Engaging in reading, writing, singing, playing and talking activities together will help build your child’s literacy skills for life.

Ready to discover more about Explore Play Learn? We’ve created a fantastic collection of resources to help get you started reading, writing, singing, playing and talking. Check out the links below!


Reading together with your child is the best way to help children get ready to read on their own. Read for a short time, and then for a bit longer, as your child gets older. Ask library staff to help you pick books to share with your child and let your child choose books on their own too – let them take the lead. Let your child see you read for pleasure, too!

Perfect picks to READ


Reading and writing go together. Encourage your child to put ideas on paper, like what they did during the day, a list of their favourite books and a grocery list. Scribbling is the first step to writing, and it may become artwork too!

More great ways your child can WRITE


Songs are a terrific way to expand your child’s vocabulary, to play with rhyme and rhythm and a wonderful way to hear the different sounds in various languages. Sing with your children, anytime and anywhere!

SING out loud with these whimsical stories


“Children learn best when they are fully engaged in active exploration, play and inquiry”- Ontario Ministry of Education

Each WPL location has toys and other manipulatives for families to play with. Play promotes language development, self-expression and fun. Our goal at WPL is to encourage families to play and learn together.

Ready to PLAY? Get inspired now


Start talking with your baby at birth – describe your day and what you are doing. It doesn’t matter what you say, just keep talking. Children need to hear sounds before they can make them. Talk, talk, talk! Talk to your children in the language you are most comfortable with. This will help them build stronger vocabularies and competent conversation skills.

Discover all the fun TALK can be

Early Learning Programs at WPL

Explore Play Learn programs at WPL will intentionally reinforce the five practices (read, write, sing, play, talk) which will help foster an understanding of early literacy development and empower families to engage in early literacy practices at home. The more exposure children get to early literacy practices the better prepared they will be for reading.

Browse Upcoming Early Learning Programs

15 Minutes Every Day - Video Playlist

Discover a selection of videos that demonstrate how, with just 15 minutes every day, you can incorporate early literacy practices into your everyday life.