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…
As parents watch a skilled librarian model reading to enthralled little ones, they learn how to modulate voice tones and add variety to the way words are used in order to attract children to a love of story time and books.
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 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
Librarians can help parents and caregivers by making available quality books on parenting and appropriate children’s literature, such as lullaby and song books, Mother Goose rhymes, and books showing objects, patterns, and other stimuli. Librarians can also encourage parents and caregivers to talk, sing, and read to their infants.
Early reading experiences are prerequisite for future literacy development. Collaborative efforts among librarians, teachers, parents, and day-care providers may facilitate life-long reading in young people.
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.
Libraries are an obvious destination for language development, due to their wealth of books and language-based programs for all ages.
In family programs at some public libraries, parents are given books to read aloud to their children during the actual sessions. Peer pressure and gentle librarian encouragement inspires them to share the book with their child, even if it is not something that they routinely do at home. However, the hope is that after doing it week after week at the public library, they will grow accustomed to book-sharing behavior and begin reading aloud to their child at home also. Some libraries allow the parents to keep the books, increasing the likelihood that they will continue reading aloud to their child at home.
As children’s librarians, in addition to providing resources, we are in a unique position to run programs for parents or caregivers and children that help build the preliteracy skills underlying school readiness.