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PA Forward: Basic Literacy in the Summer

Angie Andre
Angie Andre

Angie Andre, Children’s Librarian,
Tredyffrin Public Library

For many of us in public libraries, summer is our busy season. This is especially true if you work with children and run Summer Reading Programs.

You may not even realize it, but you’re already incorporating the five PA Forward literacies into your existing programming. Adding the PA Forward branding is an easy way to show your customers how important your work is. Maybe it’s a simple sidebar about basic literacy after reading a story or an entire program where you educate adults about PA Forward. Sometimes you don’t have to do anything different; you just need to use different terminology to describe what you are doing and share it with your customers.

We run a full Summer Reading Program at Tredyffrin Public Library in Chester County. We encourage children ages birth to 12 to read or listen to someone read to them for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. Upon registration, children receive a calendar and they proudly mark each day that they read or listen. (They also receive a superhero cape. We encourage wearing their cape when practicing their superpower…READING.) Children visit the library and they receive a prize and a raffle ticket for every 7 days they read or listen. It’s not fancy but we are supporting Basic Literacy.

Our summer program encourages families to read independently as well as reading as a family for at least 20 minutes a day. One of our weekly prizes is a book for the child to keep. This book is appropriate for the entire family to read together. We encourage older siblings to read to younger ones as well as adults reading to the younger children. We work with families in a simple but extremely effective way to support Basic Literacy. We have to let our moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers know that we are working hard to support the Basic Literacy of their children.

The Superhero program we did this summer supports basic literacy. comicsWe worked on recording our super favorite things on a Super Hero Poster. We talked about our favorite authors, books, music, and food and added them to the poster. We also used sticker pages to talk about an important community hero, police and the important job they have in our community. After I read a story to the children about creativity and personal heroes I talked with the parents as a group about how we are working to support basic literacy and why the library is an important player in their child’s learning and growing. We also provide handouts about PA Forward in our story room that I encourage families to take.

PA Forward Logo of Five LiteraciesMy challenge to you is to let them know. Let your customers know that your programs support Basic Literacy. Use the PA Forward logo on your flyers, on your website, and on social media. Let your customers know that we are all working together to support the basic literacy of children.

Share what your library has done to promote basic literacy for the children at your library through the PA Forward Best Practices Short Form, and see what other libraries are doing on the PA Forward Best Practices Database.

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