If you know a child who is 7 years old or younger, the Learn and Play Space in the Children's Department at your Monroe County Public Library is the perfect place to visit. Children and their adult caregivers may explore several learning stations that were designed to help build early literacy skills. Children grow vocabulary when they work puzzles and play with puppets. Imaginary play in the store and the kitchen builds narrative skills which help children make meaning of words when they begin to read. The letter wall is a great place to learn the names of the letters and to practice the sounds the letters make. The writing center is stocked with cards, paper, envelopes, and markers so children can write books, mail letters, and draw pictures. Trained supervisors are available during most open hours to guide learning experiences, play games, and provide craft materials. There is even a dedicated space that is reserved for infants who are not walking and their caregivers exclusively. This engaging space has been made possible by support from the Smithville Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Monroe County Public Library. Paper supplies for the writing center are received from the Reuse Center at the District.
When you come to the Learn and Play Space, don't forget to share books. Reading aloud to a child is a great way to build early literacy skills. Children learn that books are important when their adult reads to them. When adults read with expression and enthusiasm, they communicate the joy of reading to children. It is also great fun to "take a picture walk." Choose a page in a book with interesting illustrations that show some action. Ask open-ended questions. "What do you think is going to happen next?" "What would you do if that happened to you?" "How would you feel?" "Why do you think that happened?" Expand on what your child says by repeating or paraphrasing, adding details, and using new words.
You can read more about how libraries and caregivers are partnering to promote early literacy in
Early Literacy Storytimes @ Your Library : Partnering with Caregivers for Success  by Saroj Ghoting.
- Early Literacy