Hundreds of families in Wayne County are spending a lot more time reading together because of a national children’s literacy program being implemented locally by The Wayne County Public Library.
The program, which is preparing to launch its seventh year, is part of a national literacy campaign created by Raising A Reader, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines for children. It is funded by a grant from the Partnership for Children of Wayne County.
Children ages one through five, in qualifying child care sites, take home a Raising A Reader Red Book Bag filled with four age-appropriate picture books. Providing the books promotes “book cuddling” and “book sharing“ among families, which helps strengthen relationships and builds early reading skills in preschool children, according to Program Co-coordinator Sherry Granberry.
Rotating the sets of bright red book bags filled with award-winning children’s books into the homes of families of young children on a weekly basis throughout the year gives children and their families exposure to more than 100 different books.
Raising A Reader staff conduct weekly story times at the child care sites to model read-aloud strategies for the staff. Child care staff are provided training and coaching in ways to enhance literacy techniques in their classrooms.
“Additionally, we provide family members with training in research-based practices to develop the habit of sharing books and we connect them with libraries to maintain the habit of borrowing and sharing books,” said Granberry.
“Families are linked with their local public library through those programs and training, and we encourage continued library visits by holding ceremonies at which the children receive a special blue bag,” added Delores Gray, the other program co-coordinator.
“Parents surveyed after program participation reported statistically significant changes in the amount of time spent reading to their children, the use of read-aloud techniques, and an increase in the number of books in the home,” said Valerie Wallace, executive director of the Partnership for Children of Wayne County.
“The Raising A Reader program has had an enormously positive impact on the families we serve by giving parents the tools to make reading more of a priority in their homes, said Donna Phillips, director of Wayne County Public Library. “Through this program, we are able to engage parents in a routine of book sharing with their children that has been proven to foster healthy brain development, positive relationships, a love of reading, and equips children with the foundational literacy skills necessary for success in school and in life.”
“The Wayne County Public Library is grateful to the Partnership for Children of Wayne County for its grant that provides continued funding for Raising A Reader,” Phillips added.
On August 10th, the Wayne County Public Library at Goldsboro will host an Open House for Wayne County child care center administrators and staff to share information about the program and how centers can become Raising A Reader sites. Invitations have been mailed to Wayne County child care centers with details.