RochesterJuly 25, 2012
Library in the running for $5,000 early literacy grant
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
ROCHESTER — With the click of a mouse, the community can help push the Rochester Hills Public Library one step closer to securing a $5,000 grant for early literacy.
Lego Duplo and the Association for Library Service to Children teamed up in June to kick off the Read! Build! Play! project, giving community members the opportunity to nominate their local library for a chance at an early literacy toolkit or the top prize, $5,000.
The emphasis of the Read! Build! Play! campaign is early literacy, which library Director Christine Lind Hage said is already a major part of the services and materials offered by the library.
“We’ve really been pushing our early literacy efforts because we believe that other organizations, like the schools, really have fabulous programs for older kids. In preschool, before they start kindergarten, their parent is their main teacher, so our goal is to provide resources, activities and programs for parents and their children to help them get their child ready to read, and early literacy is key in that. It’s not being able to read, it’s being ready to read,” she said.
Library Youth Services Manager Jaclyn Miller said early literacy focuses on all the skills a child learns that prepare them to learn to read, including talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.
“Reading isn’t the only thing people need to practice in order to make good readers. It’s more than just about sitting down with a book and going over the words over and over. Play is a big part of early literacy, and making the act of reading fun, or doing playful things, actually helps kids learn how to read,” she said.
If the library wins the top prize in the contest, Miller said the grant would be used to purchase new interactive toys for the Explore Zone play area in the children’s section, as well as for some new items for story times.
“We, in youth services, are always trying to freshen up our toys to play with in the Explore Zone and come up with new ideas for programs and ways to draw people in to our story times and that kind of thing, so this would help with that,” she said.
The library believes in encouraging kids to play for a purpose, Hage said.
“Having children learn things like colors, shapes and sequencing — like sizing and numbers — helps them get ready to read … by fostering more active minds and helping develop imagination,” she said.
The contest runs through Oct. 1, and Miller said the community has done a great job in pushing the library to the top thus far. More than 13,000 nominations have been cast, and the library has consistently maintained a place in the top three libraries nationwide.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiastic response we’ve received from people so far. They’ve kept us right in there near the top, so we’re thrilled that people want to help us win this reward, and we hope that, come the end of September, they are still voting with as much enthusiasm as they are now,” Miller said.
Hage encourage the community to vote early and often though Oct. 1.
“You can vote more than once. Usually you can’t vote more than once on one day, but if you refresh your browser and clear your history, you can vote again. It’s pretty easy,” she said.
Visit readbuildplay.com and choose the Rochester Hills Public Library from the drop-down list on the right side of the screen.
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