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Growing Like a Read (GLAR)

Pioneer Library System

Innovation Leader: Jenny Stenis, Coordinator for the Center for Children's Services - Pioneer Library System, jenny@pls.lib.ok.us

Problem Statement

Like many public libraries, Pioneer Library System has designed its baby and toddler story-times to include best practices – telling stories, reading aloud, talking and listening, singing together and separately, looking at illustrations and playing together. But how can libraries go the extra yard in showing parents how to create the very best pre-literacy experiences that librarians cannot: repetition, ritual, and personal connection.

Innovation

With generous funding from the Inasmuch Foundation of Oklahoma City, the children’s staff at Pioneer Library System has developed the GROWING LIKE A READ concept to assist parents of young children to easily learn and adopt activities that target early literacy skills acquisition.

Parents who enroll receive a tote bag that includes: 1) a piggy bank that impresses the concept of early literacy as a wise investment; 2) a stand up spiral-bound flip book designed by PLS that is sturdy enough to stand up on a table, floor, or lap. These flip books include age-appropriate songs rhymes and finger plays. Some Spanish content is included; 3) eight charted activity logs, one for each six-month period between birth and age four. Each chart contains developmentally appropriate activities that reflect the six pre-reading skills. On the reverse side, characteristics of that developmental stage and information about the pre-reading skills are listed. As parents complete activity logs, they receive a series of incentives, including a board book for their home library, a CD of nursery rhymes, songs and finger plays produced by library staff, and the opportunity to enter their child’s name in a drawing for a savings bond donated by local community banks. Oversized Posters with stand-up book content are used by Pioneer librarians who model activities to parents/caregivers in story times.

Progress

GROWING LIKE A READ is a four-year project (2009-2013). Since September 2009, parents have been asked to complete an initial survey or pre-test that captures demographic information and base knowledge related to pre-literacy skills and activities. Initial numbers were projected at 1600 over the four-year period, and already there are over 300 families enrolled in the three counties served by the Pioneer Library System. Data received to date indicates that results are in line with the expected outcomes.