Reading books to children at an early age gives them a jump start on learning how to read. Studies indicate it’s positive preparation for school, too.
Children’s author Mem Fox once said, “If every parent and every adult caring for a child read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.”
With “1,000 Books by Kindergarten,” Elkhart Public Library wants to do exactly that. The early literacy initiative, part of the library’s strategic plan, encourages parents and supports children to start reading as soon as possible.
“It sends a strong message to parents that reading is important and that it can start at any age,” says Allison McLean, who leads Young People’s Services at the downtown library. “Children are never too young to be read to.”
Parents who want to make sure their children are prepared to go to school should prioritize reading aloud.
“Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading, and motivates children to want to learn to read,” McLean says. “Reading aloud to children is the best way to prepare them for school and for learning how to read.”
Three-year-old Graham Steffen is in the program, a continuation of what parents Laura and Wes already were committed to doing for their two boys.
“Graham’s always liked reading,” Laura Steffen says, “but just by reading to him, he’s able to retell stories, and he’ll often incorporate the stories into when he’s pretending.”
When she finds him reading on his own, Steffen is amazed to find that what he’s saying is often close to the actual book. Every day, she and her husband read one-on-one with each of the boys.
“Reading is just part of our daily routine,” she adds, “so it’s nice that we just get to spend time with them.”
Graham has about 300 books to go in the program. Laura Steffen already is looking beyond 1,000 books, as her boys take on new opportunities with reading.
“I’m always putting books on hold that I think they’ll enjoy,” she says. “I’m just looking forward to keep on reading together.”
In Elkhart Public Library’s “1,000” program, parents and children get incentives for every 100 books read. At the finish line, children completing the program will receive two books to take home.
“Children need books of their own to have easy access to reading, and we are glad this program is one way to get those into their homes,” McLean says. “We make a big deal of their accomplishments. … I love making reading a fun and positive experience for families.”
Nearly 150 children have started on their 1,000 books, and nearly one-third have completed the first 100. Families can sign up at any of the five Elkhart Public Library locations, and for record keeping, kids color in numbered train cars as they complete each book along the way.
“I hope to see more and more families participate and continue expanding the program,” McLean says, “by taking it to partnering organizations (such as Head Start and Triple-P Parenting) to reach families who might not be coming to the library right now.”
The solar eclipse of 2017 was the best show of the summer, but we’re not rolling the credits yet.
Elkhart Public Library and NASA are teaming up on out-of-this-world events to explore the sun and moon. It’s all part of the library’s 18-month work on STEAM-related educational programming.
Space Lab: Sun
The eclipse offered a rare glimpse at the power of the sun – the heat it provides, the impact on nature, and much more. At Space Lab: Sun, kids 9-13 will have the chance to learn more in hands-on activities. Experiments will include the impact of ultraviolet light and use of an infrared thermometer.
All programs begin at 4:30. Dates are: Sept. 5 (Osolo); Sept. 14 (Pierre Moran); Sept. 19 (downtown); Nov. 7 (Cleveland); and Nov. 16 (Dunlap)
Family Moon Night
The moon is the Earth’s closest neighbor, and it has much more effect than you might think. The moon affects the sea and the tides, and every night, it reflects the sun’s light back to Earth. Have you ever noticed how, when there’s a full moon, it makes the night brighter?
At 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, celebrate Family Moon Night downtown. The evening will include hands-on activities and education, and families will learn about International Observe the Moon Night later in the month.
ETHOS, our community partner, will be displaying moon rocks and a spacesuit. Kids in attendance will also receive a journal to write down their observations of the moon and stars leading up to Observe the Moon Night.
Space Lab: Moon
If you can’t get enough of our closest neighbor, explore the conditions of the moon, its weather, and its impact on Earth. Kids 9-13 at these labs also will experiment making videos with a green screen.
All programs begin at 4:30. Dates are: Oct. 3 (Osolo); Oct. 12 (Pierre Moran); Oct. 17 (downtown); Dec. 5 (Cleveland); and Dec. 14 (Dunlap).
As summer winds down, kids, parents, and teachers alike are back in school mode. No matter your age, learning never ends.
Whether it is learning about space, learning a new language, picking up a new school, or just reading a good book, Elkhart Public Library is here for you – with something for everyone.
Careers: The Adult Learning Center in Brainfuse has live tutoring, a test center, a high school equivalency program, practice tests and materials to prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test, Microsoft Help, Career Resources, a Resume Workshopping Center, and many more! In the SkillSurfer section, find many more resources, including computers and technology, English language learning, nursing school prep, etc.. The list goes on!
Tech: ALISON‘s free, high-quality resources to help you develop essential workplace skills. Khan Academy is free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. For those of you wishing to brush up on your tech skills or even just get them, we link to TechBoomers.com for free tutorials on how to use popular websites.
Languages: Communication is key. So what better way to improve your life than to learn a new language (or dusting off your rusty high school skills)? Start today! Sit back, relax, and learn a language using real conversation skills for conversations you might actually use. With Mango, you have access to over 60 languages AND it will be taught in your native language. The lessons are interactive, you can keep track of your progress AND there are apps available so you can learn on the go. You just have to sign up for a Mango account with your library card first.
Is the computer too much? Do you want a book you can work through? Start with these, or check out any from our large section of language books in the 400 section of non-fiction.
- American Sign Language : a step-by-step guide to signing
- Easy Thai : learn to speak Thai quickly
- Essential Japanese
- Breaking out of beginner’s Spanish
- Learn Arabic the fast and fun way
And more: Now we recognize that a lot of learning isn’t about book smart but also how to DO things. Well we have that covered too! Check out our online resources on home improvement and health!
For car repair, we have many, many Chilton’s manuals in person but we also have Chilton’s online that you can access from anywhere with your library card!
Through INSPIRE, we have access to the an online home improvement center, a center for Hobbies and Crafts, and Medline, which provides medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences, and much more.
Now remember, we also have TONS of books on these subjects as well. We even have a handy display at Main for you to look over of some of our favorites. Just as a teaser, here are a few (click on the covers to find them in the catalogue):
The first 250 people in downtown Elkhart’s Central Park after noon on Monday can get free eclipse viewing glasses. But that’s not the only reason to come to the party.
Eclipse – Our event, part of our NASA @ My Library work, goes from noon until 3. The moon will begin moving into the view of the sun at approximately 12:57 p.m. Our maximum view, about 85 percent coverage, will happen for two-plus minutes about 2:22 p.m. Then, the moon goes on its merry way at 3:44 p.m.
Food – Don’t eclipse party on an empty stomach. At the park, paying customers will find Hotdogeddy’s cart, out-of-this-world treats by Mini Delights Bake Shoppe, and the Maple Indian food truck. Old Style Deli (closes at 2), The Vine, Black Crow Cafe, b on the River and the Electric Brew are less than a block away if you’re looking for other food options.
Fun – TapSnap will be on hand with a digital photo booth – pick a background and take home a free print from the party. (You’ll find all the snaps on our Facebook page.) Young People’s librarians will have games and stories for the younger set.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to build your own website? If you answered yes, you’re in luck.
The South Bend Code School is coming to Elkhart Public Library at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14. Code School: Create Your Own Website invites people to come and learn more about coding, the language of computers.
Looking to expand in Elkhart County, Code School is hosting free events to drum up interest. The group will bring 30 laptops for participants to use, while coding experts from the school walk around the room to give information, answers and support.
All ages are welcome at the event, though it is geared more toward teens and adults.
No experience is needed to attend this event, but some general knowledge might be good to have beforehand. Here are some basics.
In order to code a website, you use HTML (hypertext markup language) to create your text and basic site functions, and CSS (cascading style sheets) to design the layout and look of a site. Essentially, you build your website from scratch by writing instructions, using the straightforward rules of coding.
Of course, programs and sites exist to automatically put together HTML and CSS for you, but it’s best to understand how it works even if you’re not always writing code. Plus, if a program malfunctions and you need to step in to write some of the code, it’s always best to be prepared.
“The hope is that they get exposed to coding and want to pursue it,” says Marianne Kruppa, head of the circulation department. “Coding with HTML and CSS is a skill that most will need in the future.”
So if you’re interested in learning about coding, HTML and CSS, even if you’ve never done any coding before, come for an evening of learning.
“Come with an open mind,” Kruppa says. “Coding is not as hard as you think.”