Children's library receives area grant

Friday, November 17, 2006

The children's library of the Putnam County Public Library promoted the importance of early literacy during the library board meeting Wednesday.

Children's Librarian Suzanne Hall informed the board that the children's library received a grant from the Putnam County Foundation for $5,000. This grant will be used toward a program that focuses on early literacy. That program is called "Every Child Ready to Read at Your Library."

"Several years ago, librarians got together and said, 'What can the public library do to further literacy in the United States?'" Hall said.

These librarians created the program, but according to Hall, they wondered how to create a bigger impact in children's lives. Currently, libraries only provide story time and go out into the community to read, but this is not enough.

Hall said the first step was to talk to the children's parents and to possibly change parents' behavior to create an environment rich in literacy for the children.

"It's simple, its really simple," Hall said.

Parents and the libraries only need to know the things that are important to get a child ready to learn.

So what is early literacy? According to Hall, early literacy is what a child knows about reading and writing before he or she knows how to read or write.

"We're hoping to teach parents and caregivers what they can do to get children ready to read," Hall said.

Hall said that the libraries worked together with a child development specialist, and developed the program which was tested at 14 different libraries, including the library in Fort Wayne.

Hall handed the board three pamphlets that described the three different programs on teaching children. The reason for this is "because children from birth to five are very different," Hall said.

Each pamphlet informs parents and caregivers how to teach children from "early talkers" (birth to 2-year-olds) to "pre-readers" (4-and 5-year-olds) by focusing on six skills.

These skills are vocabulary, print motivation, narrative skills, phonological awareness, letter knowledge and print awareness.

Board member Becky Barham said that she thinks the program is a wonderful idea.

Hall plans on presenting this program to different groups and organizations and will be holding teaching sessions with parents and caregivers.

Parents and caregivers can receive more information or learn about upcoming sessions by contacting the children's library desk at 653-2755, ext. 121 or by email at

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