Every time a library staff member visits one of our Jump Start Reading program sites, we are amazed at the progress the children are making with early reading skills. We target program sites in low income, high risk neighborhoods and many of the children we serve cannot demonstrate any pre-literacy skills. However, after only two in a half months of working with the children, caregivers and parents, there is a recognizable change in the children's knowledge and interest towards books and reading.
Connie Ellington facilitating parent workshop
JJ is a three year old student at one of our Jump Start Reading Sites. He was very reluctant to participate in the library program and he was always the last child to sit down for story time. When Connie Ellington, the "Library Lady" (the name the children use affectionately) came to visit on this particular day, JJ had a surprise. JJ asked if he could read a book to her today. He selected three books from the books shelf. He demonstrated several of the pre-literacy skills used in the Every Child Ready to Read curriculum. He modeled reading, he held the book and turned the pages properly, he pointed to the words on the pages and he talked about the illustrations. Through our department encounters, we learned that many students enter kindergarten without the ability to demonstrate these pre-literacy skills. Since JJ's daycare teachers and parents are learning these skills with him, we hope he will continue to learn long after the program ends. The Jump Start Reading program supports the long term learning experience by giving JJ books to take home to begin or enhance a home library and the daycare center that JJ attends will receive fifty books to continue the reading experience. The parents and children also participate in a library tour allowing parents to see all the free resources offered at and through the library. They can have tools and support to continue to be their child's first teacher.
Learning that print represents words
JJ is one of many children who receives literacy support form the library. Child care providers and parents are learning the five simple activities (talking, singing, reading, writing and playing) that they can use to help children get ready to read. Most importantly, JJ is receiving skills and tools that will help him succeed in school and beyond!