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Parents and other primary caregivers are children’s first and best teachers. Caregiver involvement is directly tied to children’s school performance and the growth of lifelong learning habits.  How do library staff members motivate caregivers to engage with their children in meaningful ways? During storytimes, libraries model practices that parents and caregivers can use at home. We visit parent groups to promote library use, and we provide access to an endless supply of high-quality children’s literature.  Yet a challenge remains: how can we assist ALL parents and caregivers, especially those with limited literacy skills and confidence, in shapingdaily reading habits with children?
The answer is family literacy. If libraries want to make an impact on children’s reading practices in their community, we need to think intentionally about the ways we invite and encourage all caregivers to engage with their children.

Ways to incorporate family literacy into library programming:

  • Provide special incentives for reading together as a family
  • Partner with caregivers, grandparents and other potential family literacy leaders to read with younger children in all families, especially those with low parental education levels; encourage older siblings to be reading leaders
  • Provide materials, publicity and workshops for adults; during these events, demonstrate how to read and interact with children in ways that build pre-reading skills
  • Plan events that encourage family engagement in reading and play
  • Offer concurrent adult literacy and homework help/reading buddy programs

If you’d like to learn more about best practices in family literacy, the following websites include resources, information, and practical examples that may be helpful to your library.  The following links will take you to sites other than Judge George Armstrong's website.

Let’s start off with a bit of background infor- mation about early literacy itself. The term “early literacy” refers to everything children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read. Recent research on early literacy and child development indicates that it is never too early to start preparing children for reading success. Children who have been read to from an early age have a larger vocabulary, better language skills, and a greater interest in books, and they are more likely to want to learn to read than children who have not been read to. In addi- tion, research has shown that children need to develop certain skills in order to fully ben- efit from the reading instruction they receive when they arrive at school. As librarians, we play a key role not only in helping to develop those skills but also in educating parents and other caregivers about their critical role as their children’s first teacher.

There are six early literacy skills that children must develop in order to increase their likelihood of reading success. They are print motivation, phonological awareness, vocabu- lary, narrative skills, print awareness, and letter knowledge. Activities can be done that encourage the development of each of these skills. In order for a child to truly develop the six skills for reading success, activities must not only be incorporated into library story- times but also be practiced in the home by a child’s caregivers.

The first skill, print motivation, is the child’s interest in, and enjoyment of, books. This is essential because when children are interested in books and enjoy them, they will want to learn to read them. Some ways in which caregivers can increase print motivation with children are: read to children early; make book-sharing time a special time; let the child choose the story to be read; and do activities together, such as making a snack using a recipe and relating the importance of reading the recipe.

The second skill, phonological awareness, is the child’s ability to hear the smaller sounds in spoken words. This is important because when children learn to distinguish the sounds within words, they are better able to sound out words when they are learning to read. Rhyming and singing are important activities that foster this skill. For babies and toddlers, nursery rhymes can be used to emphasize rhyming words or word families. Songs are also essential for development of this skill. Because songs often have different notes for each syllable in a word, they can make it eas- ier for children to hear the different sounds within a word.

The third skill, vocabulary, is simply knowing the names for objects and ideas. Vocabulary development is important for a couple of reasons. First, a child will know he is reading a word correctly if he recognizes the word and has heard it before. Second, children with larger vocabularies are better able to make sense of what they are reading. There are many ways that a child’s vocabulary can be developed and enriched. Reading with children daily, pointing to objects in a book’s illustrations and naming them, and talking to the child about what is going on around him are ways in which a child’s vocabulary can be developed. Caregivers can also explain unfamiliar words that are contained in a book that is being read or look at picture dictionaries together.

The fourth skill, narrative skills, is the child’s ability to describe events, tell stories, or retell stories that have been heard. This helps the child to understand what she is reading and leads to better comprehension. Rereading favorite stories is an essential way to develop this skill. Eventually the child will be able to retell the story based upon memory using the illustrations as a guide. Caregivers can also ask children to tell their own stories about some- thing that happened in the past, such as a visit to the zoo or a day at preschool.

The fifth skill, print awareness, involves the child noticing print and becoming able to fol- low the written word on a page. It also includes the child learning how to handle a book. When children become comfortable with how books work and how language flows on the page, they can concentrate on reading. Board books are a wonderful way in which the youngest children can learn how to handle books and how to turn the pages. Caregivers can follow the text with their fingers as they read to illustrate that the words tell the story and to show the directionality of the text on the page (left to right in English). Words that are repeated in a story can be pointed out, as well as words that are commonly seen on familiar objects or in familiar places, such as “stop” or “exit.”

The sixth skill, letter knowledge, is learning that letters differ from one another and have unique names and sounds. This is important because in order to read, children must understand that words are composed of a group of letters and that each letter brings its own sound to the word. Reading alphabet books, pointing out let- ters on objects, making letters from modeling compound, playing with magnetic letters, and writing words that interest the child are all ways in which children can develop letter knowledge.

Every Hero Children's Literacy

The following programs will be for students going into 1st-6th grades. Preschool story time will be on Wednesdays at 10:00am.
Kick Off will be on June 4, 2015
Dorian LaChance

Da Story Weaver Da Terrence Roberts

June 9th @ 2:00pm: Da Story Weaver Da Terrence Roberts!about

United Blood Systems

June 16th @ 2:00pm: Bridget Loland with United Blood Systems

Freedom Ranch - Wildlife Ambassadors on the Move

June 23rd @ 2:00pm: Krissy Hamilton with Freedom Ranch

June 30th @ 2:00: Community Heroes


Unmask Teen Literacy
Unmask - Teen Summer Library Program

Unmask Teen Literacy is a summer reading program for young teen adults in the 7th -12th grade. Teens need summer programming to keep their brains active after the school year. The library can help teens fulfill their needs such as working to gain independence, seeking excitement, and try to figure out their identity. Our Library will be having there unmask teen program on June 4- June 30, 2014.

During the summer reading program we will be having a lot of active and excitement activities for the teens. We will create masks of super heroes, board games, scavenger hunts, blood drive, speakers, and more. Come on out and have a great time at the Library.

Escape the Ordinary - Adult Literacy



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