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Librarians Statewide Prepare to Offer Early Literacy Training
(Published: September 13, 2011)

Children don’t develop literacy skills overnight. There are many fun and easy things that parents and caregivers can do to prepare their children to learn to read.

With assistance from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), public librarians around the state are learning new ways to help parents and caregivers increase children’s early literacy skills.

Last month, participating librarians attended one of two statewide workshops to learn about the Public Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read, 2nd Edition® (ECRR 2) kit.

ECRR 2 is a program based on the belief that parents and caregivers are children’s first and best teachers and that the development of early literacy skills can be a fun, bonding activity for parents and children. The skills that librarians encourage parents to develop include oral language and vocabulary, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, background knowledge and conventions of print. The skills can be taught by talking, singing, reading, writing and playing with children.

The workshops were presented by TSLA and financed with grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. TSLA is a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

“Most Tennessee public libraries offer preschool story times, which is an excellent way for children to begin developing early literacy skills,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “But these workshops really took that concept to another level, giving librarians training techniques they can pass along to parents and caregivers.”

Librarians who attended the statewide workshops are committed to presenting early literacy workshops in their communities.

“These community workshops will stress to parents and caregivers that early literacy skills are crucial to preparing children to learn to read, but more importantly, that developing a child’s early literacy skills can be fun and easily incorporated into daily routines,” said Lindsey Wesson, TSLA’s Continuing Education and Youth Services Coordinator, who organized the statewide workshops. “By talking our way through folding laundry, or grocery shopping, or turning off the radio and singing with our toddlers on the way to day care, we are exposing them to oral language and vocabulary. These types of playful activities also help parents and caregivers bond with children. The learning part is just an added bonus!”

For more information about developing early literacy skills, please contact Lindsey Wesson at 615.532.4639 or Lindsey.wesson@tn.gov.