Public libraries around the U.S. play a crucial role helping families get an early start on school readiness. It makes good sense. Historically, public libraries have provided critical early learning opportunities in their communities by offering storytimes and other activities for all children from birth. More recently, this support includes offering workshops and classes for parents and caregivers to extend their roles in the early learning process at home.
Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) does a lot to help build early literacy skills, and we are a proud member of the newly formed Washington County Early Learning Hub (also called Early Learning Washington County). The Early Learning Hub is a collaborative group that brings together our community’s early learning resources in an effort to improve outcomes for children and their families. Through our relationship with the Early Learning Hub, our libraries have forged new relationships with our local school districts.
In the coming months, WCCLS librarians will provide highly interactive Every Child Ready to Read workshops at 16 of the very highest-needs schools in Washington County. These evening presentations will give families strong tools to increase the amount of time their children engage in five critical pre-reading activities: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing. For more information on these workshops, or to find a workshop near your home, please contact our Youth Services Librarian at (503) 681-5092.
Additionally, this summer the WCCLS Outreach and Youth Services Department will begin to deliver a rotating collection of high-interest picture books to targeted family child care home providers each month to increase early access to books. These will include providers who care for children receiving Oregon Department of Human Services assistance, children who are receiving early intervention services, and those who speak English as a second language. Through a generous grant from the State of Oregon, the Washington County Early Learning Hub has purchased $5,000 worth of Spanish language picture books to add to the WCCLS book delivery collection.
Children are getting ready for reading and school success every day. WCCLS and our member libraries help families maximize the critical early years so they can set their children on the path to a lifetime of learning.