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Every Child Ready to Read

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:21 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:47 a.m. CDT

Public libraries are centers for early childhood literacy. The Berwyn Public Library has books, programs and other resources to help parents understand how to prepare children to become fluent readers.

Learning to read begins before children start school. Young children need to develop important language and literacy skills before they can actually learn to read. The Berwyn Library can help parents and caregivers nurture children’s early literacy skills and promote lifelong learning skills.

We offer weekly in-house story times that introduce children to the world of books and reading. These story times are often a child’s first introduction to a structured group setting and incorporate five early literacy skills: reading, talking, singing, writing and playing. They include activities such as parachute play, letter recognition using magnetic letters, sensory play using shaving cream and building with DUPLO blocks to complement the books, songs and rhymes.

Tell Me a Story targets children attending Berwyn area preschools. A team of researchers recently concluded that nearly two thirds of the low-income families they studied owned no books for their children. To get more books into Berwyn homes, library staff visits preschool classes once a month for six months and presents each child with a book to take home and keep.

Let’s Read Together are free seminars designed to give Berwyn parents tips on how to give young children a head start on a life of learning. Parent Workshops are held at schools and educational organizations throughout Berwyn. We believe parents and other caregivers are in the best position to help young children learn these early literacy skills because:

- They know their children best - They can engage children in language for bits of time throughout the day - They are their children’s most influential role models - Children learn best by doing – and they love doing things with their parents or caregiver

Our goal is to significantly increase reading activities in Berwyn to ensure young children begin school with a strong foundation of early literacy skills. Come explore a variety of resources that support early learning at the Berwyn Public Library.

Kathleen Behrendt is youth services department head at the Berwyn Public Library

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