FLINT — In an effort to increase childhood literacy in Genesee County, the Genesee District Library (GDL) has expanded its children’s story times, and added a new story time class called Baby Steps, which is geared specifically for babies.
The GDL now offers story time five days a week, in five different time slots, in 11 different branches. With nearly 150 story times offered for the winter/ spring season, parents are sure to find a class that fits their schedule. The story times are led by five different — but all much-loved — storytellers.
The Baby Steps class takes babies through the steps to literacy by using books, rhythm, rhyme and music. Baby Steps is offered at the Flushing, Davison, Fenton-Winegarden and Grand Blanc-McFarlen branches.
“Baby Steps is designed to engage parents, caregivers and babies in getting every child ready to read by practicing the five steps of early literacy developed by the American Library Association,” said Katie Badgley, children’s librarian for the GDL. “Those five steps are talk, sing, play, read, and write.”
According to the Family Literacy Foundation, reading aloud to children improves listening skills, vocabulary, memory, and language skills. Children are also are introduced to new concepts such as colors, shapes, numbers, and alphabet in a fun, engaging way.
“Research shows that many children enter school without the skills they need to learn to read. Early Literacy begins at birth and it is what children know about language, communication, reading and writing before they can read and write,” said Badgley. “All of a child’s experiences with conversation, stories and books are a part of early literacy, and create a strong foundation so that when children are taught to read, they are ready.”
Because so much research supports the importance of reading aloud to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics passed a policy resolution recommending that pediatric providers inform new parents about the benefits of reading aloud to their children.
For a complete list of story times and dates, please visit thegdl.org. — G.G.