OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City library will kick off the new year with a new program designed to improve childhood literacy.
The Ocean City branch of the Worcester County Library will implement a new nationwide program, Early Literacy Starts at Home (ELSH), in 2016. The initiative will focus on teaching parents what they can do to make sure their youngsters are prepared for reading when the time comes.
“I’m going to go through tips and simple things they can do to help improve literacy,” said Brittney Herz Glenn, branch manager at the Ocean City library.
Herz Glenn said the American Library Association in recent years had adopted the stance that literacy education should start at birth. While parents and guardians aren’t expected to teach their infants and toddlers to read, they should interact with them in ways that will make it easier for the children to become literate when they start school. Herz Glenn says simple things like singing, talking, reading and writing with children can make it easier for them to develop a vocabulary and appreciation for reading. She says something as small as a trip to the grocery store can be a valuable learning experience.
“If you talk to your child as you’re shopping, that builds their vocabulary,” she said. “If they see you write a grocery list, it shows how important writing is.”
The Ocean City library will host Early Literacy Begins at Home programs on Friday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. and again Friday, March 11 at 3 p.m. Future sessions will be scheduled throughout the year. The programs are open to anyone who interacts with young children — parents, grandparents, guardians, etc. — as they’re simply designed to share ideas for implementing daily activities that will help with early literacy education.
“I think people hear early literacy and think we want toddlers and infants to start reading,” Herz Glenn said. “That’s not it at all. These are just ways to involve kids proactively.”
During the sessions, Herz Glenn will raffle off a literacy education DVD. She says the length of the sessions will depend on how many people attend and the types of questions that are asked. She’s hoping the community proves receptive to the new initiative.
“It’s an exciting change in the way people are viewing education and it’s fun,” she said. “Part of what I stress is that it’s a good bonding thing. You’re just involving your child more.”
Along with this new programming, the Ocean City library offers children’s programs each week on Wednesdays. A variety of sessions are offered for children of different age groups. For more information call 410-524-1818.