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Early Literacy Initiatives

Leading our young people in their development of language skills and a love of reading is one of the most vital roles the Library can play.

Nearly 55,000 children and families participated in "Read to Feed," the 2010 Summer Reading Program. The program not only allowed participants to earn great prizes for their reading activity, it taught them the value of philanthropy. They could donate reading points to benefit Gleaners Food Bank, generating a $15,000 contribution to the local service.

Over 26,000 preschoolers and toddlers were introduced to the world of books and language during the 2010 November Read-Aloud Program, a program that encourages family interaction and reading books aloud. The theme, "Join the Crowd! Read and Rhyme Aloud!" was inspired by the classic books of Dr. Seuss.

The Library's Ready to Read program saw the expansion of two initiatives, On the Road to Reading and Digital Littles. On the Road to Reading brings books and storytimes to licensed home daycares and faith-based ministry classrooms in low-to-moderate income areas through the Itty Bitty Bookmobiles. Digital Littles, a technology-rich story experience for preschoolers at the Learning Curve at Central Library, will be introduced to branch libraries through the PNC Digital Littles Mobile Lab. It includes laptops and other tools, including cutting-edge artificial intelligence in the form of a robotic dinosaur.

Special summer workshops occupied young minds with fun and stimulating activities. 2,971 children learned about such topics as kitchen chemistry, puppetry, cartooning, animation and screenwriting. Their creativity was also spurred at branch locations by the Mobile Lab, an extension of The Learning Curve at Central Library, which taught them digital production skills.

The Learning Curve at Central Library hosted 262 group visits with 14,844 children and adults attending. Throughout the summer, the Curve presented 547 organized activities for 12,195 children and adults.

The Library's free 24-hour Call-a-Story telephone line received 460,878 calls from children and families who heard local professional athletes and civic leaders read popular stories in children's literature.

In addition to the Library's popular storytimes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, 152 "Paws to Read" story programs gave 1,345 young reluctant readers a chance to improve their reading skills and self-confidence by reading to trained therapy dogs who love to listen to stories!