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Summer Reading Program Kick Off

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Family  Literacy Contributed  by  Lisa Gonzalez, Santa Barbara Public Library Parents  and  other  primary  caregivers  are  children’s  first  and  best  teachers.  Caregiver  involvement  is directly  tied  to  children’s  school  performance  and  the  growth  of  lifelong  learning  habits. How  do  library  staff  members  motivate  caregivers  to  engage  with  their  children  in  meaningful  ways? During  storytimes,  libraries  model  practices  that  parents  and  caregivers  can  use  at  home.  We  visit parent  groups  to  promote  library  use,  and  we  provide  access  to  an  endless  supply  of  high-quality children’s  literature. Yet  a  challenge  remains:  how  can  we  assist  ALL  parents  and  caregivers,  especially  those  with  limited literacy  skills  and  confidence,  in  shaping  daily  reading  habits  with  children? The  answer  is  family  literacy.   If  libraries  want  to  make  an  impact  on  children’s  reading  practices  in  their community,  we  need  to  think  intentionally  about  the  ways  we  invite  and  encourage  all  caregivers  to engage  with  their  children. Ways  to  incorporate  family  literacy  into  library  programming: • Provide  special  incentives  for  reading  together  as  a  family • Partner  with  caregivers,  grandparents  and  other  potential  family  literacy  leaders  to  read  with younger  children  in  all  families,  especially  those  with  low  parental  education  levels;  encourage older  siblings  to  be  reading  leaders • Provide  materials,  publicity  and  workshops  for  adults;  during  these  events,  demonstrate  how  to read  and  interact  with  children  in  ways  that  build  pre-reading  skills • Plan  events  that  encourage  family  engagement  in  reading  and  play • Offer  concurrent  adult  literacy  and  homework  help/reading  buddy  programs If  you’d  like  to  learn  more  about  best  practices  in  family  literacy,  the  following  websites  include resources,  information,  and  practical  examples  that  may  be  helpful  to  your  library: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
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