Literacy: It’s Never too Early to Start!

I remember when I fell in love with books. A summer move to a new town left me with a lot of free time. I discovered the public library and found friends on every page. Avid readers often have their own unique book stories – that one book or teacher or visit to the library.

            I can’t think of anyone who might say reading is not important, but I’ve talked to quite a few over the years who say they don’t like to read or they just can’t find the time. They know  reading is important, but they don’t know that studies connect reading to a longer lifespan, a decrease in Alzheimer’s disease, even higher salaries! Early childhood literacy, however, is critical for children. Some child literacy facts will illustrate this (provided by The Literacy Project Foundation):

  • The more children read (or are read to) for enjoyment, the higher their reading scores.
  • Children who are exposed to early language and literacy experiences prove to be good readers later in life.
  • Young children who are read to frequently are more likely to count to 20 or higher than those who weren’t, write their own names, and read.
  • Children who are read to at least 3 times a week are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading.
  • Lacking a strong foundation in reading can have serious repercussions: 85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading, 3 out of 5 people in prison can’t read, and 75% of people on welfare cannot read well.

The Carrington City Library partners with parents to help children become successful readers

through a variety of opportunities. At our weekly storytimes, we practice early literacy skills, including singing, talking, reading, writing and even playing. The library also hosts a monthly preschool library visit to support kindergarten readiness. Along with working on some basic literacy and library skills, children have access to books, which is a key factor in learning to read.

            The summer reading program includes storytime for our youngest readers and extends to reach readers of all ages. We have STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) programming to give hands-on learning opportunities. We have theme-based stories, activities and crafts, all designed to curtail the summer learning slide. Research provided by Reading is Fundamental shows that reading skills are lost over summer due to lack of access to books and learning resources, so regular visit to the library enrich reading skills while being so much fun!

            Finally, to continue promoting early literacy, the library is launching the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. The goal of this national program, which is free!, is to support and strengthen early literacy skills during the critical ages of 0-5. Parents and caregivers are the first educators and can help build the confidence to become strong readers.

The goal of 1,000 books before kindergarten sounds almost impossible, but just one book a night is 365: that’s 730 in two years and over a thousand in three! Many families are already reading nightly, so the program is an opportunity to acknowledge their commitment to reading. Even children closer to Kindergarten age can benefit from goal-oriented reading, encouraged by library visits and awards along the way. Reading by parents, relatives, even during storytime counts – even if it’s the same book over and over again. For details on the program, visit the library or learn more at the library’s website at carringtonlibrary.org.

No child is too young to begin learning the skills of reading, and all the fun and literacy support at the Carrington City Library are free to every child.