On March 9th, KSJD radio interviewed Cortez Public Library Director, Eric Ikenouye, and Laura McHenry, Children's Librarian. They discussed their efforts to reach out to parents about the importance of reading with and talking to their young children. Their program, "Read to Me, 21 Days to Form the Reading Habit," features a CuddleUppet toy blanket and a book for participants that allows parents to practice and model storytimes with their children. Cortez Public Library is partnering with numerous community partners including the Piñon Project, Montelores Early Childhood Council, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Towaoc Head Start. Laura will be meeting parents and families in the community in addition to conducting storytimes at the library. The library will also use Ready Rosie, a service that uses text messages and videos to educate parents about early literacy activities at home.
The SPELL blueprint recommends libraries promote their early literacy programs widely in the community, and this KSJD Community Radio Project interview will reach the rural audience of Montezuma County, Colorado and the four corners area. Congratulations to Eric and Laura for spreading the word about their innovative SPELL prototype!
Listen to the interview, and learn more about KSJD, here: http://ksjd.org/post/early-childhood-literacy
The 2012 SPELL research revealed 80% of parents and caregivers who indicated a first choice for accessing library program information chose to do so on-line, on a computer. Eighty percent! Most parents and caregivers of young children look for information about library services through the library website. What will they find on your site about early literacy?
While she was a research fellow at the Colorado State Library in 2012, Vivienne Houghton examined every library website in Colorado and found that only 6% (seven out of 114 libraries) had a definition of “early literacy” on their children’s services page. Only 15% had a description of early literacy skills, and 13% explained why it is important to read aloud to babies beginning from birth. These data are three years old, and there is little doubt that the numbers have improved. What does your library's website say about early literacy? Can you improve it?
Ms. Houghton’s research and her early literacy guide inform our recommendation that your library website include as many of the following elements as possible:
1) A definition of early literacy No, parents do not have to teach their children to read!
2) A description of early literacy skills Read, Talk, Write, Sing, Play
3) Discussion of the benefits of nurturing early literacy skills in children Brain research
4) Include resources in other languages Links to websites and brochures in other languages
5) Links to videos that model songs and rhymes for parents to try Show them how it’s done!
More information and links to other libraries’ brochures and videos can be found here.
Parents and caregivers are approaching you through your website. What will they find?