PLA/ALSC partner on early childhood literacy initiative

Contact: Kathleen Hughes


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

September 2001

PLA/ALSC partner on early childhood literacy initiative

The Public Library Association (PLA), and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) have formed a joint committee to partner with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the goal of providing information and training that will help parents and teachers get preschool children ready to read. In addition to disseminating information from research findings on how children learn to read, the groups will work together to help build public library services for preschool children based on findings in NICHD research and other studies.

As part of the partnership, public libraries will broadcast research-based information on reading readiness across the country and include the design and funding of model projects that incorporate the findings of recent research in the field of emergent literacy. These model projects will create some best practices for public libraries to help children start school ready to read. The PLA/ALSC Task Force on Emergent Literacy is currently recruiting public libraries to test these research-based programs in their communities.

Members of the PLA/ALSC committee recently participated in the "White House Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development - Ready to Read, Ready to Learn." A group of more than 400 government, education, library, community and philanthropic leaders from across the country attended the summit, which took place at Georgetown University.

Speakers included Dr. Reid Lyon, chief of Child Development and Behavior Branch, NIH; Dr. Susan B. Neuman, U.S. assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education; and Kathleen Reif, director of the Wicomico County (Md.) Public Library. Reif spoke on the public library's role in helping children enter school ready to learn.

The summit is the first step in a long range and widespread effort to raise public awareness of the study of and need for early childhood cognitive development. A new government task force of senior education and health and human services department officials will focus on putting the research and recommendations presented during the course of the summit to work in government programs for young children. The summit concluded in Washington, D.C., on July 27 with a call to spread the latest early childhood learning research findings.

More information about the PLA/ALSC project is available at http:// More information about White House Summit is available at http:/ PLA and ALSC are divisions of the ALA.