The Library Foundation approved two new grants for the Library District:
- A $5,000 grant from the Annie Busch Fund for Early Literacy will benefit the Library’s new early literacy initiative, Racing to Read.
- A $4,500 grant will support enhancements to the young adult nonfiction collection.
Racing to Read will build upon the recent growth and success of the Library’s early literacy programming. The initiative will promote five key strategies for building early literacy skills: Love Books, Sing & Rhyme, Tell Stories, Talk and Read, and Play with Letters.
These strategies will be branded in a highly visible marketing campaign to ensure that every parent and caregiver who visits a children’s space at the Library or attends a library program will be exposed to early literacy in a consistent and memorable way. As part of the initiative, the Library will purchase new literacy skill-building toys, games and activities for each branch. The activities, with the promotional materials, will create early learning environments that invite curiosity in children and promote early literacy skills to parents in a way that’s easy to understand.
The initiative will include special educational materials for low-income families served by the Library’s outreach program at Head Start, the WIC clinic and other agencies. These families will receive take-home magnets and early literacy skills cards. Parents will be encouraged to use the magnets to display handouts, booklists and activities sheets they receive at programs. The five different “flashcards,” one for each strategy, will have booklists and activities to do at home.
In 2009, local kindergarten readiness scores showed that 37 percent of our children were not ready to learn to read when they started school. The Racing to Read initiative directly addresses that problem and promotes the Library as a vital partner and resource for parents, caregivers and community agencies in helping children be ready to learn when they enter school.
Racing to Read is possible through support from the Library Foundation, the Rotary Club of Springfield and Rotary District 6080.