Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Meaningful Early Literacy Training Inspires Programming and Partnerships at a Small Library

Guest post by Rozanne Traczek

Fairchild, WI mapTo begin, I sincerely want to thank all those responsible for allowing me to take the Online Early Literacy Coursework with Saroj Ghoting offered through the Growing Wisconsin Readers initiative.  I am Rozanne Traczek, the director of the Fairchild Public Library, one of the few joint libraries in the state of Wisconsin. We are a small library servicing the Village and Town of Fairchild, the Town of Cleveland, and patrons from neighboring Jackson and Clark Counties.  My background in coming into the director position was in elementary education, so I was especially interested in beginning more programming for children at our library. This has been done in partnership with the Osseo-Fairchild School District and the local Homeschoolers’ Association.  A director of a small town library often wears many hats, and in this case, I serve in all capacities as youth director initiating many of the opportunities for children. However, in the area early literacy programming, nothing had yet been developed by us, primarily because I hadn’t worked much with children of this age before. 

Through taking the two courses in early literacy, I learned much about working with preschoolers, including…
  • selection of appropriate books
  • various developmental stages of learning for babies through age 6
  • brain research in these areas
  • techniques and strategies to help children of these ages to lead them to be good readers in the future
  • tips and guides for helping parents work with their children,
  • how to do literacy sessions with children and planning programs for them at the public library
… to mention just a few.

Toddler with books
Toddler with books (Pixabay)
During the coursework, I used what I had learned with little ones, especially children ages 3-5 when they came in with their parents to the library. I became engaged with their children while their parents observed.  With parents, I gave tips on building literacy with their children at home.  It was a two-way learning path for me by trying out what I learned in the classes and helping parents with early literacy guidance.

The courses helped me plan for a preschool story activity in the summer enrichment program this year. I was able to share and use much of what I learned with my large multi-age homeschool group that we now host once a week for the summer.  My intentions are for the upcoming fall season to contact the Fairchild Elementary Headstart Program and provide early literacy activities at the Fairchild Public Library with the Headstart group coming to the library as well as me doing an outreach program to them.

Recently, we received word that our library, along with three other libraries in Eau Claire County, will be starting a program in October 2015 called Playpals through the Family Resource Center. United Way approved a grant for this program to come out to the rural area.  The director of the Family Resource Center is planning to hire a preschool teacher for the program, and I will assist her in gathering preschoolers and parents to come for this program.  I have started to encourage this with many in the immediate area.  We will be proud to host this program, and I have discussed with the Family Resource Center director about the Online Early Literacy Coursework with Saroj Ghoting and what I learned.  I am planning to assist with this program, too, thus encouraging and building pre-literacy programming through our public library.
Alphabet garland
Alphabetic awareness is a pre-literacy skill (Pixabay)

The Fairchild Public Library plans to do more in the area of pre-literacy, and I know that the coursework helped me in this area to reach out more for the benefit of future reading of our children.  Thank you once again for what I have learned and what we feel confident about doing at our small town library.

Written by:
Rozanne Traczek, Director