Post by Yanira D.
At the Denver Public Library, one of the ways we promote early literacy is through our Read-Aloud program. Staff and volunteers are afforded the opportunity to read to children attending Head Start, Early Childhood Education centers and other agency programs. The reading schedule follows the school year calendar where we read during the Spring and Fall semesters. The
Read-Aloud program began in 1988 with the Library Services Construction Act grant. Since then various grants and donors have helped us build a separate Read Aloud book collection that staff and volunteers use for their storytime outreach. This book collection enables readers to leave the books in the classroom between visits. Having these books available in the classroom provides children the opportunity to hold and reread the books. We are also able to provide each child with a gift book (bilingual) at the end of the semester.
Through the Read-Aloud program, I have been delivering storytime to children in and around the Sunnyside neighborhood for about 4 years. I currently read to 17 classrooms per week. In most of these classrooms I have a mix of Spanish, English, and bilingual speakers. In order to keep the children engaged with storytime I offer a bilingual intro and closing song along with Spanish books and English books that I am able to translate when necessary.
Some of the organizations I work with are Rocky Mountain SER and Denver Public Schools ECE programs. The relationships that I have built with the staff (teachers and administrators) at these organizations have been invaluable and rewarding for me. I am invited to: speak to parents about the library and its resources, offer parent presentations on ECRR, and provide sample storytimes. I am also invited to attend various school programs throughout the year including ECE/Head Start graduations. Being part of the Read-Aloud program is the best part of my job. When I visit these sites and while at work at my branch library I still get to see and talk to the children who I read to 4 years ago. It is a wonderful feeling when you hear these little ones remember and talk about a book you read to them a while back. It shows me that I had a positive impact on their lives.
Ed. note: Yanira is sharing her library's program as a part of the CLEL 12 initiative. Get involved!