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KC library promotes early literacy through federal grant

Posted: October 7, 2011 4:29 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Over the past few months, two dedicated reading enthusiasts bring reading to children, early and often, provides the key to lifelong success. Through a federal grant provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Studies, Cindy Bolin and Stephanie Hamrick, have visited numerous  churches, mobile home  parks and apartment complexes to reach out to parents who may be unfamiliar with the library, unable to get there, or unable to attend during scheduled summer children’s programming.

“Research has shown that reading to a child, even a small infant, has a positive effect on brain development, as well as emotional development,” reports Library Director Amy Schofield, who received the grant through the S.C. State Library. 
Bolin confirms, “In my 22 years of experience as a 5K teacher I have encountered many students who enter school without the crucial literacy experiences needed to learn to read. Children who do not have books in their lives begin school at an incredible disadvantage, which is difficult to overcome. With this grant we’ve been showing parents that reading is not only vital, but fun. It is a great way to engage your child, and it’s incredibly emotionally rewarding.”

The grant initiative, which ended Aug. 31,  funded 55 programs, which usually included a visit from the bookmobile. The sessions emphasized  concepts  formulated by the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read program:

• Simple songs and nursery rhymes actually develop a child’s ability to hear individual sounds in words (phonological awareness), which is critical in laying a foundation for reading.

• Conversation is also important. Merely explaining the world to your child and asking for their input helps build their vocabulary and emotional security.

• Telling a story imparts an understanding of narrative, which will help a child to interpret what they are reading later in life.

• Books should be fun, not serious. The more a child enjoys his experience with books, the more eager he will be to read them.

Bolin returned to her position at Pine Tree Hill Elementary in August, but Hamrick has continued with the library.

“This summer has been very rewarding,” she said.” I’m very happy that this initiative will continue. I believe we’ve changed some reading habits, and maybe some lives as well.”

For more information on early literacy outreach programs available through the library, Hamrick may be contacted at 424-2353 or stephanieh@kershawcountylibrary.org

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