The MHA library was the recipient of an Early Childhood Reading Grant from Target stores this summer. Whoo hoo! With budgets shrinking and programs being cut, the grant was welcomed news. The grant allowed me to create a program called Literature Links. The goal of the program was simple: To Help Parents and Kids Connect with Books through Strategic Reading. Research shows that when parents become involved in their children reading their children reading achievement grows and stronger families of readers are built. (Darling, Westberg 2004)
The Literature Links parent book club studied the book 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann. In the book, 7 comprehension strategies were examined to help readers make meaning from the texts. At the Literature Links Book Club, parents learned about these strategies each week. Through interactive activities parents were encouraged to “Try It!” with their own children.
In order to help parents continue to utilize the strategies they learned in the book club and to reach out to other families unable to attend, a library backpack program was developed. The MHA library now offers 30 backpacks to circulate among K-2 students. Each of the 30 backpacks contain two library books based on a theme. The backpacks also include a prompt sheet that should be used when families are reading and discussing the theme’s literature. Parents are able to use these prompts before, during or after the reading of the literature.
The program has been so successful at our school. Parents have been quite vocal of how much they have learned from this program. Literature Links will even be featured on an upcoming segment of the NJEA show Classroom Close Up! I am presenting this idea to other NJ librarians this Thursday at our local Barnes and Noble. I have included the website that I will be sharing with them. It contains resources that librarians could use to begin a similar program in their library.