Libraries offer literacy training for teaching tots | News
Last month, librarians across the state attended Every Child Ready to Read (ECCR) sessions. Every Child Ready to Read is a program developed by the Public Library Association in which librarians demonstrate techniques promoting oral language and vocabulary, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, background knowledge and conventions of print. After caregivers are trained, they can teach these skills by talking, singing, reading, writing and playing with children.
The Memphis Public Library and Information Center served as a West Tennessee training site. The workshops are funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and administered by the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA). TSLA is a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
“Most Tennessee public libraries offer preschool story times, which is an excellent way for children to begin developing early literacy skills,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.
“But these workshops really took that concept to another level, giving librarians training techniques they can pass along to parents and caregivers.”
Early literacy is a fundamental building block for a child’s future success. According to a landmark report Becoming a Nation of Readers, “The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.”
According to empirical studies, a parent’s age, income, and educational attainment all impact the likelihood of them reading to their children. The Urban Child Institute’s 2011 Databook reports 40 percent of Memphis children live in poverty. An alarming statistic since “poor children watch more TV, have fewer books, and are read to less frequently than their better-off peers.” Combined, these factors make it difficult for impoverished children to catch-up academically.
The Every Child Ready to Read training takes direct aim at reversing this trend. According to Library Coordinator for Youth Services Mary Seratt, “The program is ‘state of the art’, and its principles are widely held in the early childhood education community. The activities that are presented in the ECRR workshops make helping their children’s early literacy development especially accessible to parents and caregivers. The activities we teach parents and caregivers are easy, free, and nourish healthy relationships between adults and children. They require no special equipment, videos, or folderol, and can even be used by parents who do not read well themselves!”
There are three free training sessions planned at area libraries: Cordova Branch, 8457 Trinity Road, Saturday, October 29, at 11 a.m. (this workshop is geared to teen parents); Bartlett Library, 5884 Stage Road, Tuesday, November 8, at 6:30 p.m.; Levi Branch, 3676 Highway 61 S., Saturday, November 12, at 10:30 a.m. Additional workshops are planned at various branches in the coming months.
Seratt added, “The more people we have following this program and telling their friends, the better prepared all our children will be to learn all subjects when they get to school.”
For more information, call 415-2739.
Information provided by the Memphis Public Library and Information Center.