Library Based Program
The Children's Library Outreach program is very effective in introducing 4 year olds to reading and in maintaining their excitement with the wonderful world of books throughout the school year. The children come to enjoy the many facets of reading a book by stirring their imagination, thinking skills, increased vocabulary and general knowledge.
For many children, owning a book of their own is a first. Their sense of responsibility is evident as they describe where they keep their books and how many times they have it read to them.
One parent stated that when her child came home with a book, she was eager to share the story together. The child was able to recall the story as read by the storyteller. The parent noted this was a confidence builder for her child as she approaches the age to begin to learn to read.
A Hispanic child entered pre-K knowing little to no English. She learned English from her teachers and by interacting with her classmates. By the end of pre-K, she was writing her name, excelling beyond the other children in all basic skills, and translating for her parents.
The importance of the children receiving a personal copy of a book cannot be stressed enough. For some children, they have never "turned the pages" in a book on their own. The storyteller hands out the books to each child and the book is read together as a class. The first few times this is done can be crazy and wonderful at the same time! As the children learn to turn pages from left to right, to listen carefully to instructions, and play a part in the presentation of the story, the thrill of reading comes alive in the classroom. They cannot wait to see what new books will be presented on the next visit!
Parent As Teachers (PAT)
This young lady came to our program four months pregnant in her junior year of high school. We will refer to her as Nautica in this story. She was a Beta Club student, in the Marching Band and Concert Band and a section leader. This young lady was a leader during group sessions. The other teens in group meetings would take note of Nautica asking questions about her baby and requesting additional home visits for further discussion about her child’s development. Soon the younger students would do the same. They would also ask Nautica how she was able to make good grades and attend to her child’s needs. Nautica explained about her use of information and resources provided by the Family Literacy and PAT programs and that she was taking advantage of everything that was offered.
Soon the others started paying attention and attending evening sessions. Nautica never missed a session, nor a home visit. Summer of 2013-14, she participated in our Summer Program as a prenatal parent, which was held in partnership with our local county library’s summer reading program. This summer she never missed a session taking her daughter to the 2014-15 summer reading program.
The other parents would comment about how well behaved and actively involved her daughter was in the different sessions. Nautica explained that during prenatal development children are able to hear and respond to their environment and her daughter had already been exposed the summer before she was born.
Nautica also especially enjoyed the parenting sessions with the older parents. She would bring her mother as well. Nautica went through tough transitions after the baby was born. She was threatened by the father of the child and his mother. The Family Literacy/PAT program referred her to one of their partnering agencies for advice. The problem was addressed and handled immediately. She is now a full time freshman at a nearby University and working a part-time job. She and her family remain active participants in our program.