Early literacy support and services is always a delicate balance. Wisconsin libraries have strong preschool storytime traditions – but they are just one small piece of our larger mission to promote literacy. Many libraries have created early literacy spaces that promote the five practices – play, read, sing, talk and write – right in the library. Others have begun 1000 Books Before Kindergarten programs to encourage families to read many books to their preschoolers to give them a jumpstart to reading and learning. Still other libraries try to reach out into daycares to provide regular or occasional programming to support reading and literacy with tots in care. Other libraries provide rotating deposit collections of picture books in daycares.
|Providers create boxes after reading Portis’ It’s Not a Box|
We have added to this mix with a long tradition of presenting free hour-long CE workshops to providers at the library. We work with the state Registry https://www.the-registry.org/, a professional development approval system, to list our programs and be approved trainers.
In the last two years, we have upped our game and really focused content from general topics (nutrition, diseases, traits of special needs populations) to topics to help our providers with early literacy. Topics include: outstanding books, storytelling, bringing books alive, book discussion, BELL Awards, preschool STEM, ECRR tips, storytime how-tos; introductions to collections and creating effective story extensions – all subjects that we are experts in! This November, we are thrilled to have Dr. Dipesh Navsaria as part of a three hour provider workshop including presentations from our Family Resource Center, library staff and wrapping up with attendance at a library-sponsored Global Celebration sponsored by the library.
We also will take workshops out to daycares. Called “Walking Workshops”, we will present at any daycare that has five or more attendees at their inservices. We prepare two different workshops each year for the providers to choose from. This year it’s the Importance of ECRR and Bringing Books Alive. By providing continuing education that focuses on and highlights early literacy we really help our providers improve their skills.
And best of all we get to know each better while we learn together!
Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator
La Crosse Public Library, La Crosse, WI
Photo provided by author