At our last Early and Family Literacy Committee (EFL) meeting, we started our meeting off looking over our charge: *stay on top of current research in the field of early and family literacy, and share it with the library community *develop trainings for library staff about core early literacy skills and practices *collaborate and advise ALSC committees and workgroups on early literacy issues and projects We discussed progress on our first-ever webinar (still in the planning phases – more to come 😊) and talked about new sources to follow (I’d just listened to an episode of the podcast Best of Both Worlds that featured Dr. Lakeisha Johnson at the Florida Center for Reading Research, who focuses on language and literacy development in underserved populations – I’ll definitely be tracking her work!).
In August, the LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to eliminate late fines for overdue books and materials borrowed from LA County Library. In her announcements to staff and customers, LA County Library Director Skye Patrick shared that fines and fees for overdue materials impede access to vital library resources and services and contribute to economic hardship, especially for low-income families and youth. Other libraries have reported that fines and fees disproportionately impact their low-income communities, and going fine free has resulted in a significant increase in the return and borrowing of library materials. I am already hearing expressions of appreciation from parents visiting my library location. As one of the largest library systems in the U.S. with 85 libraries providing services to over 3.4 million residents across 3,000 square miles, the potential positive impact of the LA County Board of Supervisors’ decision is immense.
I have a loved one who was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As I was present for his PT sessions, I realized that much of what the instructor was doing, I as a librarian had done the same during read-alouds and Story Time. After the sessions it had me thinking about my practices during storytime. With that in mind I did what all librarians do which is research, specifically on Autism Spectrum Disorder and reading.
I am very fortunate. I have been able to work with the ALSC Early and Family Literacy Committee for the past two years, where bringing an equity, diversity and inclusion focus is now at the forefront of all our work. As we find current, relevant literacy research to share with the ALSC community, we are very intentional about integrating and including EDI perspectives.
The ALSC Board charged the Early and Family Literacy Committee (EFL) to “identify, synthesize, and disseminate current research findings relevant to early and family literacy issues from library schools, scholars of education, and other advocacy sources to libraries, childcare providers, and community agencies serving young children (birth through age 8).”
While I am not having quite as much difficulty concentrating as I did early on in the pandemic, delving deep into research articles has not gotten any easier. As part of my work on the Early and Family Literacy Committee, I have Google Scholar alerts for articles on the topics “early literacy” and “family literacy”. I receive a digest semi-weekly and skim through looking for articles relevant to our charge.
The ALSC Early and Family Literacy Committee’s charge includes children from birth to age 8 and their families. Thinking about the first and second graders who are learning to read reminded me that Denver Public Library (DPL) has created a team to create best practices within their library system to better support these emerging readers. Amy Seto Forrester, who has served on the Geisel Committee, and who is one of mainstays for the Guessing Geisel Blog also works at DPL. I decided to see what she could tell us. Carol: What prompted DPL to work on emerging reader services and collections at DPL? Amy: In 2018 when DPL’s Grade Level Reading (GLR) Team was launched only 38% of Denver Public School (DPS) 3rd graders were meeting or exceeding expectations on the reading assessment (2018 Status of Denver’s Children, City of Denver, Office of Children’s Affairs, page 96). Put another way,…
One of the key tenets of Early Literacy is play. Play is an integral part in a child’s development. Play allows children to use their creativity to decipher the world around them and build critical thinking and problem solving skills. As librarians and educators, we use play in various programs to engage children in learning and reading. Play is how kids learn! But research tells us that it isn’t just physical play that is important to learning. Play also includes digital play, creative play, and playing with language through music and movement. Digital play has become just as important as physical play. Kids retrieve information from the internet as well as from books. This is true now more than ever before. In Research in Brief: Digital Play in Early Childhood Education: Supporting Children’s Relational Information Literacy research conducted by Theobald et. al. observed how digital play helped foster children’s…