Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 11:31
Activities to help babies grow into readers are the focus of an innovative early literacy program offered through the Pioneer Library System. Growing Like a Read gives parents the information, materials, methods, and rewards they can use during the first four years of their children’s lives to lay the foundations for reading and language development.
Parents who sign up to be part of Growing Like a Read are given a bag of materials that include a stand-up book of traditional song, rhymes, and finger plays. Parents also receive a set of activity logs that list 30 age-appropriate activities to do with their children. The eight activity logs are tailored to developmental levels at six-month intervals from birth to 48 months. Parents begin with the log that matches their child’s age and receive new materials as the baby grows.
According to Stenis, the activity logs are used to guide and document the interactions between parent and child. When parents complete at least six of the suggested activities, they can return the log to the library to receive a child-appropriate board book to add to their home library, one book per household. With each subsequent library visit with a completed activity log, the child’s name is entered into a drawing for a Savings Bond donated by a local bank. Drawings for the Savings Bond will be held twice a year in each of the nine hometown public libraries of the Pioneer Library System during the Growing Like a Read four-year project period.
“Not only are we putting the materials in the hands of the parents, we are also demonstrating the ways the materials can be used,” Stenis explains. “We don’t assume that every parent knows traditional children’s activities like “I’m a Little Teapot” or “Noble Duke of York,” so we model them during Story Times. Every pre-school Story Time we do in our libraries incorporates the Growing Like a Read material.
“And, because we’ve included some Spanish-language favorites, we are also helping parents create some bi-lingual experiences for their children,” Stenis adds.
Poster-sized versions of the stand-up book have been distributed to local libraries and some day care centers to reinforce the Growing Like a Read concepts in those settings. Staff members in the participating facilities have received special training on how to use the materials from Stenis and Valerie Kimble who is also with the Center for Children’s Services of the Pioneer Library System.
“We do a lot of things in our public libraries but, basically, our whole institution is predicated upon the idea of literacy,” says Gary Kramer, Public Information Officer for the Pioneer Library System and designer of the Growing Like a Read materials.
“People of any age get more out of a library visit if they know how to read. That’s why literacy is a focus of our library programming and services. We offer adult literacy services, we offer reading of literature promotions, we offer literary events such as our Red Dirt Book Festival, and now we are promoting early literacy through Growing Like a Read. It’s just makes sense for us to do so.”
The Growing Like a Read project is funded by the Pioneer Library System and the Inasmuch Foundation. Tinker Federal Credit Union has provided some of the materials included in the kits and financial institutions in Blanchard, McLoud, Moore, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Purcell, Shawnee, and Tecumseh are donating the Savings Bonds.
Parents may join the Growing Like a Read program at any time while supplies and materials last.
For more information about Growing Like a Read, contact Stenis or Kimble at 701-1835. For additional information about the related programs and services—including adult literacy tutoring—provided by the Pioneer Library System, call or visit your nearest hometown public library.
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