Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Symposium Spotlight: Early Literacy Innovation Panel

The Growing Wisconsin Readers Early Literacy Symposium included a lunchtime panel of 3 incredible innovators from Wisconsin public libraries.

Julie Westby, Hedberg Public Library, talked about an early literacy training program held at her library called “What Difference does it Make?”  One of the program presenters was Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator and executive director of Mother Goose on the Loose.  This is an award-winning early-literacy program for children from birth to age 3 with their parents and caregivers.  The training program inspired the HPL youth staff to consistently use the five practices of early literacy (talking, singing, reading, writing, playing), create an early literacy summer library program and create partnerships with schools, especially 4K classes.

Food for thought during the Symposium luncheon
Dawn Foster, Portage Public Library, talked about how her library uses math in storytimes.  Each program includes a component of math such as counting, numbers, sizes or shapes.  Kids get to count using flannel board pieces, measure items, navigate a math maze made of boxes covered with patterned paper and sometimes enjoy snacks of different shapes.  The Bedtime Math website is an excellent source for more math activities you might want to use.

Brooke Rasche, La Crosse Public Library, talked about her library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program as well as their own similar program for babies under the age of one called Baby Book Bees.  For the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, they have 850 sign-ups and 172 graduates so far and for the Baby Book Bees, they have 44 sign-ups.  Brooke also mentioned that one of the ways they publicize these programs is at hospitals and doctor’s offices, on the backs of doors in the examination rooms.

When the panel members were finished, symposium participants were given the opportunity to share ways they are doing outreach in their communities and getting the word out about the importance of early literacy.

This post brought to you by Symposium attendee:
Ann M. Herrmann
Children’s Services Manager
Manitowoc Public Library