What was your favorite book as a child?
One of the many things we do in The Community Partnership’s Early Care and Education department is work to increase the quality of local childcare programs. We help area childcare providers get their charges ready for kindergarten, which also readies them for later life and success.
Just for a second, I would like to ask you to think of your favorite book from your childhood.
You may have a smile on your face as you are thinking of that book. That’s the result of something you learned many years ago—you learned to associate books with love and comfort. Someone in your life shared a love of books with you. You may not have been aware that those experiences helped you build your vocabulary and contributed to your school success.
Sadly, not every child has that experience. On a recent visit to a facility, I asked a little boy to show me his favorite book. He looked back at me very confused and just grabbed the nearest book. I asked him what he liked about the book and he shrugged his shoulders….obviously, this was just a random book, not a favorite. As I worked in that room, this scenario was repeated several times.
My colleague Danielle Barr and I became determined to expose children to books that we knew they would love. We began bringing really great books to the classrooms we visited. We read to the children and model with enthusiasm how much we love these books. We also work with the teachers to help them understand why certain books are more appealing than others and how to encourage reading.
I recently went back to that classroom I mentioned earlier for a visit. The children could not wait to tell me how they had been reading Pete the Cat books by author Eric Litwin, and Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney! – books we’d brought to them from The Community Partnership. The children were crazy about these books, and the teacher ordered some additional titles in the series. The little boy I mentioned earlier ran up to me with an ear-to-ear smile and said, “Have you read Llama, Llama Misses Momma?” I said, “No, not yet.” He said, “It’s really good!”
This little boy has gone from having no favorite books to being able to ask me about a specific book he loves! These are small steps, but they are important ones. We know our work is changing lives!
*The Community Partnership’s Early Care and Education program works to provide training and support for Child Care Providers in our area. We recognize the importance of the work teachers of very young children are doing in our community. We work with Child Care programs in the following counties: