Early Literacy and Education

Libraries offer early literacy programs and workshops for childcare providers

Libraries are now making much deeper resource investments in early literacy training. Indeed, for many communities they are the lead agencies for early literacy services and training for young children. In the survey conducted among Urban Libraries Council members, over 90% of responding libraries identified their library as providing special programming in the area of early literacy. Of these, 92% had enhanced their collections with materials specifically related to early literacy promotion. School readiness and child development activities included family and intergenerational reading development programs, parenting programs, and support services for child care professionals. Among the libraries providing early child development programming 70% provided early literacy workshops on a weekly or monthly basis, and just over 60%  provided workshops for childcare workers and early education teachers (p. 8).

Benefits of preschool and summer reading programs

Our visits to libraries throughout the state show that these programs help develop strong reading skills in Pennsylvania’s children. The programs encourage children to enjoy reading and give them opportunities to spend lots of time with books—a first step toward developing strong reading skills. Children also benefit from the rich literacy experiences afforded by the many special events and organized programs the library offers. Finally, parents of children engaged in preschool and summer reading programs appear to be strongly invested in their children’s reading achievement. For thousands of children through Pennsylvania, preschool and summer reading programs offer a strong step in their climb toward reading achievement, and ultimately, success in school (40).

Library reading programs encourage reading achievement

Observations at various libraries and interviews with parents, children, and library staff reveal that preschool and summer reading programs encourage children to spend significant amounts of time with books, a first step toward reading achievement. Observations  and interviews also show that library programs encourage parents to play greater roles in the children’s literacy development­­—another factor leading to reading achievement (4).

Early Connections Between Home, Language, and Emergent literacy Influence Later Reading Achievement

Another study shows that early connections between home, language, and emergent literacy have significant influence on the later reading achievement of low income families’ children (Storch and Whitehurst, 2001).

Early Literacy Development Are Correlated to Children's Future Academic Achievement Programs

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).

Public libraries could have a greater impact on early literacy through focusing on educating parents

ALSC [Association for Library Services to Children] and PLA [Public Library Association] concluded that public libraries could have an even greater impact on early literacy through an approach that focused on educating parents and caregivers. If the primary adults in a child’s life can learn more about the importance of early literacy and how to nurture pre-reading skills at home, the effect of library efforts can be multiplied many times.

Libraries Provide Place for Parents to Actively Participate in their Children's Literacy Development

The free-flowing nature of the library also allowed for parents to actively participate in their children’s reading. Noting the lack of literacy programs available for children at the shelter and in the community, one mother talked about the public library as being the place she could take her children to support their literacy development.

librarians who serve preschoolers in child care promote secure emotional growth

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…

Librarian’s expertise in selecting and using materials is unique

The librarian’s expertise in selecting and using materials is unique. The librarian is not an early childhood educator, but—by training and experience—the librarian is equipped to nurture the young child’s curiosity through his interest in stories and books. Moreover, the goals of the profession give librarians a vested interest in the child’s development of language and reading skills.

Two conditions found essential for creating a reader

Two conditions found essential for creating a reader are (1) an early environment that offers literary experience, that is, a print-filled environment (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.), and adults reading these materials, and (2) a caring adult to introduce the child to literary pleasure. The public library meets both requirements

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