Early childhood and librariesThe other day I gave a talk on how to choose and share books with young children in ways that will make books appealing to kids. I present it several times a year to various groups of parents. This time it was for one of my favorite kinds of audiences – Head Start parents. Here in New York City, a lot of HS parents are immigrants, and I’ve always felt that once they hear what to do, so many of these parents will grab on to the how-to aspect of early literacy, and they’ll run with it.

These are parents who want their kids to succeed. When I hand out booklists, brochures, and anything else I can find to give them some direction, they take them all and ask if they can give the extras to their friends.

I was looking for materials I could share, and as I always do, I did a Google search for early-literacy material I could steal ideas from. Here are two pages that any librarian who looks for ideas and suggestions about young children and early literacy might want to visit:

The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library has a nice page on its Library Foundation’s site called “Early Childhood Literacy: Fostering the Fundamentals.” It’s a great message to steal when your library might be looking for a way of expressing to any power-brokers in your community why the library’s role in early literacy is so important. One paragraph says:

According to Marilyn Jaeger Adams, author of Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print, the typical middle-class child is read to 1,000 to 1,700 hours before entering first grade, whereas a child from a low-income family is read to an average of just 25 hours.

The page describes how the library, through its childcare outreach program, reaches many of these low-income children – those whose parents aren’t likely to be library users. It’s a worthwhile read, and an even better example of how a library can sell itself to the public.

The other site I wanted to mention is the Brooklyn Public Library’s First Five Years site, with entertaining booklists, suggestions and video clips that encourage parents to interact with their young children.

More early literacy sites coming soon….