Early Literacy Programs in Libraries

**This is my Annotated Bibliography for the LIS 651 Introduction to Information Science course I took in Spring 2013.**

As I would like to be a children’s librarian in a public library, early literacy is a very interesting topic to me. The following articles demonstrate the importance of library programs that introduce both young children and their parents to reading. Research has shown that children who develop early literacy skills are more likely to be academically successful later on.

Albright, M., Delecki, K., & Hinkle, S. (2009). The evolution of early literacy: A history of best practices in storytimes. Children & Libraries, 7(1), 13-18.
In this article, the authors trace the history of library storytime programs. These programs began in the 1940s and are very similar to those in libraries today. When storytime programs were first created, their purpose was to prepare children for school, allow children to socialize, and instill a love of books in children. In the 1950s, library storytime programs became more literacy-focused as a means of helping children learn to read. While at the time their methods of rhyme, repetition, and dramatization were seen as engaging rather than educational, we know now the importance of these techniques. One issue with library storytimes is whether or not to include the parents. The authors conclude that the parents should be present at storytime to learn how to better use books as learning tools.

Ash, V., & Meyers, E. (2009). Every Child Ready to Read @ your library: How it all began. Children & Libraries, 7(1), 3-7.
This article examines how the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) program was implemented in public libraries by the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children. It began in the year 2000, when a report on the importance of early literacy development was published by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. ECRR was designed for public libraries to support parents in developing children’s early literacy skills. Six pre-reading skills were identified and parents were taught how to enhance their children’s development of these skills in ECRR workshops and through ECRR publications. ECRR materials can be adapted to meet the different needs of communities, and this was demonstrated through three case studies.

Becker, K. (2012). 24 hours in the children’s section: An observational study at the public library. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40(2), 107-114.
The author of this article observed patrons in the children’s section of a small town public library in Arizona. She visited two branches of the library for a total of 12 two-hour visits. She noticed that the children’s department was busiest during the library’s storytime program. She also observed that parents used the library as a place to socialize with one another and to use the library’s computers. Her most relevant findings, however, were related to children developing early literacy skills, learning how to use the library, and demonstrating other skills (language, social, problem solving, etc.).

Bodrova, E., Leong, D. J., & Norford, J. S. (2003). It only looks like child’s play. Journal of Staff Development, 24(2), 47-51.
This article examines the Scaffolding Early Literacy program, which teaches early childhood educators how to use literacy theory in the classroom. Studies have shown that students in classrooms that implement this program are likely to demonstrate increased cognitive, language, and literacy skills. The program is based on seven interrelated principles and its strategies allow children to focus on more than one skill at a time. The Scaffolding Early Literacy program also provides a curriculum, assessment system, and continued professional learning for teachers.

Dickerson, C. (2012). The preschool literacy and you (PLAY) room: Creating an early literacy play area in your library. Children & Libraries, 10(1), 11-15.
This article was written by an Ohio librarian who received a grant to create a PLAY (Preschool Literacy and You) room in a public library. This space was designed for local children who are unprepared for kindergarten. The space consists of learning centers where children can visit the market or post office, play with dolls and puppets, read books, or use computers. There is also a special section for babies. Each center comes with an activity sheet that is arranged by five literacy skill builders and includes booklists, rhymes, and activities. The computers have touch screen monitors, color-coded keyboards, and are loaded with dozens of literacy development programs. Other literacy enhancers in the PLAY room include wall panels where children can create stories and a “Spin a Story” section. Volunteers in the PLAY room create word labels in multiple languages and are also encouraged to offer suggestions on how to increase literacy aspects of play.

Fehrenbach, L. A., Hurford, D. P., Fehrenbach, C. R, & Brannock, R. G. (1998). Developing the emergent literacy of preschool children through a library outreach program. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, 12(1), 40-45.
This article stresses the importance of library outreach programs. Not all children are able to visit the library, so the library should come to them. The authors conducted a study to evaluate one such outreach program. 29 preschool-aged children were participants in this study. There was one control group and two experimental groups. The children in the experimental groups had a librarian present an interactive storytime program twice a week for six weeks. The children in all groups were assessed both before and after the study to measure their emergent literacy, pre-reading, and reading skills. The scores of the experimental group participants increased significantly while those of the control group did not. These findings indicate that storytime programs provide preschool-aged children with important early literacy skills.

Fulton, R. (2009). Taking it to the streets: Every Child Ready to Read on the go. Children & Libraries, 7(1), 8-12.
The author of this article is a children’s librarian at Cleveland Public Library, which has implemented the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) program. They tweaked the program by making it mobile. Their On the Road to Reading program is housed in a bookmobile and provides parents and child care providers with the information needed to create literacy-rich environments. Child care providers are taught how to provide children with six early literacy skills through storytime. Parents are taught these six skills as well and given a brochure and book. The article also details how the program used their bookmobile as an advertising strategy, what books they chose to add to the collection, and how they recruited participants for the program.

Hands, A. S., & Johnson, A. (2012). Lighting the way: Grant applications showcase range of programming ideas. Children & Libraries, 10(2), 56-57.
This article details many of the project ideas that were submitted in applications for the 2012 Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved grant. There were two proposed projects which would serve teen parents through storytime programs, book distribution, and literacy material instruction. A very interesting proposal was titled City Bus Outreach, in which librarians would ride public buses and point out library branch locations, discuss the library’s services, distribute children’s resource bags, and register riders for library cards. Another proposal sought to provide storytime programs to deaf and hearing-impaired children, as well as provide early literacy workshops for their parents and add sign language books and DVDs to the library collection. There were also project proposals for a storytime program for children with physical or learning differences and for a program to assist parents who don’t speak English as their first language in helping their children with homework.

Irwin, J. R., Moore, D. L., Tornatore, L. A., & Fowler, A. E. (2012) Expanding on early literacy: Promoting emerging language and literacy during storytime. Children & Libraries, 10(2), 20-28.
This article states that early success in reading leads to future reading success, which also affects achievement in other school subjects. The skills that prepare children to be successful readers include alphabet knowledge, concepts about print, phonological awareness, and expressive vocabulary. The authors provide the key elements of a storytime program that allows children to enhance these skills. It should be planned around a goal, engaging, developmentally appropriate, and allow children to interact. Specific storytime activities are suggested which focus on each of the four skills as well as book handling.

Kissinger, A. M. (2004). The need for emergent literacy events in schools. Knowledge Quest, 33(2), 58-60.
It is important that parents are literacy role models for and share an enthusiasm for books with their children. This should be done through informal activities rather than formal (flash cards, workbooks). There are three different dialogic styles that parents can model when reading a story: describer, comprehender, and performance-oriented. The author also makes the point that library outreach programs only work if they reach lower-literacy families. She also suggests that librarians follow the MVP strategy in order to assist parents. Librarians should model behavior, verbalize what they are doing, and provide a print description of the activity.

Martinez, G. (2008). Public libraries – Community organizations making outreach efforts to help young children succeed in school. School Community Journal, 18(1), 93-104.
This collective case study included 26 public librarians in Maryland, in different demographic and socioeconomic areas. The research goal was to discover how these librarians and their programs provided early literacy opportunities. The librarians were interviewed, key phrases were identified, outreach documents were collected, and the information from the four different counties was analyzed. The findings showed that public libraries were providing outreach to various community organizations and the librarians wanted to expand these services further and evaluate them.

McKechnie, L. E. F. (2006). Observations of babies and toddlers in library settings. Library Trends, 55(1), 190-201.
This article details an exploratory participant observation study conducted by the authors. They observed eleven thirty-minute baby storytime programs in two branches of a public library system and conducted parent interviews. The results concluded that the children engaged in early literacy activities and social interaction. The parents benefited as well as they were able to obtain and exchange information. The authors explain why participant observation works best in this situation and provide tips for conducting a similar study.

McKenzie, P. J., & Stooke, R. K. (2012). Making a difference: The importance of purposes to early learning programs. Children & Libraries, 10(2), 47-52.
For their research, the authors of this article observed 50 storytime programs and informally interviewed participants. They found that parents went to storytime programs to get out of the house, become part of a social support group, and support their children’s development. The goals of the storytime program sponsors, which included public libraries and other non-profit community organizations, were to support and educate parents as well as demonstrate their own value to the community and funders. The authors explore what occurs when these goals align and when they conflict. They also suggest that libraries and community organization can learn from each other. Storytime programs should include use of physical artifacts, rhymes, and interactions as well as socially support the parents. Good storytime programs also improvise, are flexible, and are open to all.

Pannebaker, S. (2008). One Book, Every Young Child: Pennsylvania literacy initiative enters third year. Children & Libraries, 6(2), 36-39.
This article introduces the One Book, Every Young Child program in Pennsylvania, which was in its third year at the time of publication. Its purpose is to foster early childhood literacy by teaching parents how quality interactive experiences with books are critical for young children. The article then details the history of the program and lists its goals: to increase awareness among parents and the community of the need for practices that promote early literacy development, reach at-risk children, and collaborate with schools. The program selects one picture book each year, which is mailed to child care centers across the state. Promotional materials are created and the author and illustrator of the book make appearances. Puppets, games, and a guide related to the selected book are also available at libraries and child care centers.

Peterson, S. S. (2012). Preschool early literacy programs in Ontario public libraries. The Canadian Journal of Library & Information Practice & Research, 7(2), 1-21.
This study was conducted using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Library staff members, parents, and children from ten public libraries’ preschool early literacy programs in Ontario were research participants. It was discovered that staff members’ goals for preschool library programs were school readiness (including developing learning routines and listening skills) and instilling a love for libraries and reading in the children. The goals of parents were to prepare their children for school by allowing them to interact with other children, in groups, and without their parents present; to have their children develop a love for books and reading; and to enhance child-parent relationships. The results of the study concluded that after the programs, children were more engaged with books, displayed improved social skills, learned to follow directions and listen, and demonstrated a greater knowledge of letters, words, and phonics. The parents also reported that they learned new ways to interact with their children using books.

Snell, K. (2008). Ready to Read grant: How Columbus Metropolitan Library got it and what they learned. Children & Libraries, 6(2), 45-48.
The author works for the Columbus Metropolitan Library, which implemented the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) program in 2004. A library staff member partnered with an employee from an organization called Action for Children to apply for a United Way grant, which they received in 2007. The Columbus Metropolitan Library and Action for Children used the grant money to sponsor workshops for library staff members and parents and distribute tool kits filled with books, puppets, and other resources. They used free meals as an incentive to get parents to attend the workshops.

Strickland, M., & Abbott, L. (2010). Enhancing the early reading experience: Books, strategies, and concepts. Reading Teacher, 64(1), 66-68.
This article offers assistance to parents and teachers in choosing books that will enhance children’s early literacy skills. It states these six skills, as defined by the Public Library Association: vocabulary, narrative connections, print motivation, print awareness, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness. The article provides questions pertaining to each specific skill that parents and teachers can ask themselves when selecting books. Examples are also provided of books that highlight each skill.

Teale, W. H. (1999). Libraries promote early literacy learning: Ideas from current research and early childhood programs. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, 12(3), 9-16.
The way librarians think about literacy changed as these three concepts emerged: literacy learning starts early, young children construct their understandings of literacy, and adults are vital in teaching children literacy. While it was once thought that children didn’t learn to read and write until age five, it is now known that this can occur at a younger age. Children learn literacy independently through exploration such as invented spelling but parents also need to assist in the process by providing learning opportunities. Librarians can also promote early literacy learning through storytime programs, creative children’s departments, and library activities that incorporate reading and writing.

Thomas, J. (2008). Wonderful “ones”: The key to successful storytimes for one-year-olds. Children & Libraries, 6(1), 23-27.
Providing a storytime program suitable for one-year-olds can be a challenge. But it can be done if the following elements are included: lots of action, parental involvement, a loud voice, singing, and patience! Objectives for the children include interacting with other children, recognizing letters and numbers, improving motor skills, and being able to identify body parts, colors, and shapes. The author outlines a typical storytime schedule and states that repetition is key. He only changes the storytime slightly from week to week.

Williams, A. (2007). Storytime model for large groups: Implications for early literacy. Children & Libraries, 5(2), 27-29.
This article explains how library storytime providers can maximize their services to preschool-aged children by following the Storytime Model for Large Groups. A large group is defined as thirty or more participants. The author’s suggestions for library storytime providers include to have participants pre-register, schedule ample time for the program, wear distinguishing clothing, consult with caregivers about storytime themes, and advertise the program. The author states that the Storytime Model for Large Groups supports the Every Child Ready to Read program.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s