Promoting Early Childhood Literacy
Developing the literacy skills of children and preparing them for academic success remain central to the Library's mission.
Over 52,500 young readers and their families read nearly 1 million books during the Library's Summer Reading Program, 2011: A Science Odyssey. Regarded as one of the most popular summer reading initiatives in the nation, this year's program helped young ones develop a love of reading and maintain the reading habit during the summer months.
The Library's Ready to Read initiative focused on the early literacy and technology skills of babies and toddlers to prepare them for kindergarten. As part of this initiative, "On the Road to Reading" site visits to 190 faith-based and licensed home day cares featured 1,549 story programs serving 14,601 children and 2,762 caregivers. Technology-enhanced "Digital Littles" story times attracted 1,650 children and 360 caregivers during 129 sessions. The initiative also included sign language story programs, an educator workshop, and the first placement of AWE early learner computers that will occur throughout the Library system.
Reluctant young readers found comfort in reading stories to trained therapy dogs during 156 "Paws to Read" programs at various libraries. The programs helped 1,698 children develop self-confidence by reading to the patient pets who loved listening to stories!
Among the most popular ongoing activities at the Library, weekly storytimes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers introduced young ones to the world of books while giving them opportunities to socialize with others. These storytimes attracted 24,771 young ones and their caregivers.
As a high tech, high energy, hands-on information environment for children and teens, Central Library's Learning Curve fostered their understanding of digital media with dynamic programming on video and audio production, 3D animation, game design, photo editing, and illustration. In 2011, 226 teens visited the Learning Curve's Media Workshop. The Learning Curve also hosted 371 group and school visits attended by 8,445 students and teachers. Overall, 20,561 children and adults attended 1,099 Learning Curve in-house programs.
Representatives from local professional sports teams, cultural and civic organizations served as storytellers for the popular 24-hour Call-a-Story telephone line. Children and families placed 718,251 calls in 2011 to hear the personalities read their favorite stories in children's literature.
Relating to the science theme of the 2011 Summer Reading Program, 8,753 children attended 221 fun and educational summer workshops on such topics as the science of magic, the role of magnetism, how gaseous substances work, and the habitats of live animals. A special Science Mobile Lab at many branches helped children explore science and experiment with unique digital tools.
The Library expanded the hours of service for Live Homework Help, powered by tutor.com, enabling more school-age students to access the free online tutoring service through the Library's website. Students logged 7,563 sessions with qualified tutors in the areas of math, science, English and social studies. In addition to being available from home, students can now access tutor.com's mobile services while they're on the go.