Our three early childhood specialists and storytime gurus on the Children's Department team took up the gauntlet thrown and began planning what they would develop in late summer of 2010. After a team meeting to look at what we could afford, they plunged ahead. They developed and prepared many activities including: a tabletop puppet theater for dramatic play; story boards to encourage kids to tell the story; and examples of print that show parents that their preschooler is already a reader. Also on tap is a growth chart and a "Letters in my Name" activity as well - even the bathrooms contain a color matching activity). The plan is for these activities to change often. We also decided to house the Early Childhood Resources (Parent/Teacher)collection in this area as well as a display of great picture books for families to share.
A logo was developed based on 1000 Books and the team developed identifying signs and bright big letters for the area. Now when families enter the Children's area, they are greeted by an inviting area that encourages reading, quiet play and discovery. We have simple encouraging statements and highlight the six pre-literacy skills in easy to understand language:
- I Like Books - Have fun reading together!
- I See Words -Share letters and words
- I Hear Words - Help children hear the sounds of words and letters
- I Know Letters - Help children identify letters and numbers
- I Know Words - Share books and stories to increase vocabulary
- I Can Tell a Story- Help children understand story structure
We rolled out the area at the same time that we launched 1000 Books B4K. We knew these were natural supports for each other. For the past week, we have watched parents interact with their kids and use all the early literacy center areas. It makes us feel really great to have encouraged a perfect use of our library and its spaces!