Preschool 0–5

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Talking Points for
Public Libraries

2. Young children develop important literacy skills, enjoy positive learning experiences and prepare to enter kindergarten “school-ready” at the library.

Quick Stats Supporting This Talking Point

By providing access to both print and nonprint resources, libraries can help children build their early literacy skills while enabling them to become familiar with the tools they will most likely be using in school. (Diamant-Cohen 2007)

Public library programs offer wonderful opportunities for promoting school-readiness skills in children and creating positive associations with books while showing parents how important these skills are and how to reinforce them at home. (Diamant-Cohen 2007)

The results of the present study indicate that children who have been exposed to a library outreach literacy training in preschool demonstrate a greater number of emergent literacy behaviors and pre-reading skills and read significantly more words correctly than children in a control group. (Fehrenbach et al 1998)

Libraries are professionally well placed, both in familiar civic locales and in public confidence, to become service outposts for nurturing families and children's positive development. (Immroth and Ash-Geisler 1995)

Informational and collaborative networks of librarians and other professionals who serve preschoolers in child care can promote secure emotional growth so that a child grows up deeply confident that he or she is lovable and loved. This emotional foundation supports positive attitude towards learning and presages with high probability that, with the help of adult mentors, each child will become the kind of learner and reader who will succeed in school… (Immroth and Ash-Geisler 1995)

Opportunities for play in a print-rich, story-filled environment are imperative to achievement of the school readiness goal. (Immroth and Ash-Geisler 1995)

Libraries are well acquainted with the fact that preschool storybook reading experience is positively correlated with the development of a wide range of language and literacy abilities in young children. Furthermore, it is very common for libraries to provide in-house storybook reading programs at the library or to run outreach programs aimed at families…; child care professionals or preschool teachers…; or others in the community. Outreach projects typically seek to reach children directly through read-aloud programs or to educate parents, preschool teachers, or child care professionals in what and how to read to preschoolers. (Immroth and Ash-Geisler 1995)

Because they serve children for years before they begin school, public libraries have many opportunities to provide early literacy and learning experiences. (Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and Public Library Association (PLA) 2005; ALSC and PLA 2011)

Researchers have found that early literacy development has a strong correlation with children's future academic achievement programs (Bowman, Donovan and Burns 2001; Shonkoff and Phillips 2000)

In nearly half the classrooms (46%), at least one out of five kids was inadequately prepared for kindergarten when they started schools. (Mason-Dixon Polling 2004) The public library remedies this problem, providing learning techniques critical to pre-school aged children.

Children whose parents read to them become better readers and perform better in school. Other family activities, such as telling stories and singing songs, also encourage children’s acquisition of literacy skills. (Public Library Association 2011) Children who do not receive these benefits at home can find them at the public library.

The #1 priority for library users is reading programs for children. (Marist College Institute for Public Opinion 2003) Decision-makers can meet the needs of their constituencies by supporting strong funding libraries.

New research proves what many parents and educators have long believed: schools cannot do it alone. (Harvard Family Research Project) The public library is a partner in education.