Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Back to Basics?

Father reads to toddler on his lapI originally planned to write a blogpost for the ALSC Early and Family Literacy Committee on all the exciting things happening at ALA Annual around our charge. Not happening. My second thought was to discuss how to do things virtually around Early and Family Literacy. Now that some states are beginning to take a few steps away from complete stay-at-home orders, That seems less relevant too. 

What is going to be most helpful now? No matter whether your library is open, doing curbside or still not offering any in person services, it seems like a wonderful time to remind ourselves of how important it is to read aloud with our kids. Babies (even in utero) toddlers, pre-Kindergarten and right through the elementary kids and right into adult. Reading a story in a family setting has lots to offer and more so now than ever. 

Settling into a quiet and cozy space with the people you love to share a story. A poem. A bit of fascinating information about our world. Last summer our family read “How to Survive as a Firefly by Kristen Foote (Innovation Press, 2017) and adults and kids were captivated. It was a kind of family reunion with about twelve of us gathered and yet when it was time to read before sending the youngest off to bed, it took no effort at all for us to listen and smile at each other as Grandpa Doug read. 

For the very youngest it’s a habit that many families have. A time for bonding. A time to get still at the end of a busy day. Right now our little ones need and deserve attention and cuddling. Being close together with their caregivers is reassuring. Listening to the familiar voice unravel what happens next while perhaps stopping and asking some questions to elicit the ideas on both sides is a gift that is welcome in our busy days. 

We’ve had endless screen time lately. Well, I should speak for myself. I’ve been checking the news, social media, watching movies and television shows plus Skype, FaceTime and Zoom meetings. So many ways to stay connected. Let’s not forget the joy of reading aloud. Share your passion for stories in your virtual messages too. I am sounding like an evangelist and probably preaching to the choir. But the weird and unusual times we are in could make us forget this simple pleasure. Let’s not. 

Today’s blogpost was written by Carol Edwards, retired from Denver Public Library in Denver, Colorado, on behalf of the ALSC Early and Family Literacy Committee. She can be reached at

This blog relates to ALSC Core Competencies of I. Commitment to Client Group and II. Reference and User Services.  This supports Advocacy Goal #3 of the Strategic plan as discussed at Annual 2018.


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