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Library promotes early literacy

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The Tillsonburg library strives to provide a safe, welcoming space for people of all ages to engage in literacy-based activities, from reading and storytimes, to a study space and a place to access information and technology.

"Of course, there is a big emphasis on early litearcy," said Tillsonburg Public Library's Sydnie Lane, "as well as providing materials to supplement the Ontario curriculum. Many people don't realize how important it is to begin literacy skills prior to their child starting Kindergarten. This doesn't necessarily mean that children need to go into school being able to read, but things as simple as letter recognition, identifying signs and symbols, and learning rhymes and songs are all elements of early literacy. Parents who spend time reading to their children help the little ones expand their vocabulary, develop listening skills, and develop imagination and creativity."

ABC Life Literacy Canada developed Family Literacy Day in 1999 as a way to raise awareness of the importance of reading and additional literacy-related activities. Even 15 minutes a day can improve a child's literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well. Additionally, if children see their parents reading, they are more apt to make reading a party of their own daily activities.

There are a number of resources available at the local library that allow parents to engage with their children in order to develop literacy.

"Of course, we have thousands of books available," said Lane. "We have early literacy computer stations that allow children to practice literacy and numeracy skills, and there are online resources like TumbleBooks that integrates technology with stories."

TumbleBooks allows children to read some of their favourite stories online, have words highlighted for them so they can learn to recognize words and sounds, and even have the story narrated for them.

"It's a very neat way to incorporate traditional notions of literacy into the ever-evolving world of technology that children are so adept at navigating. Our in-library storytimes blend stories, songs, actions, and more, and allow younger children to interact with books and each other, and provide a fun environment for kids to learn - sometimes without even realizing they're learning!"

It's never too early for a child to get a library card, said Lane.

"We find that many children enjoy having their own card, as it teaches them not only to be responsible, but also gives them a sense of belonging within the library. They are proud to have their own cards, learn how to select the books they want and where to find them, and understand how to take care of the materials they use in the library or take home. This simple level of engagement is another way children can take ownership of their learning."

For information about any of the Tillsonburg Library programs, feel free to visit their website ocl.net or contact the library.

"We hope to see many families out for Tillsonburg's Family Literacy Celebration on January 27 from 6:15-7:30 p.m. at Annandale School," said Lane.

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