What’s the best way to prepare young children to become independent, fluent readers? Read to them regularly! Sarasota County Library System is committed to supporting families and caregivers of young children to ensure all Sarasota County children become ready to read. In celebration of Children’s Book Week from May 3-9, we want to share some of our great resources with you.
During a child’s early years, from birth through five, parents and caregivers make a tremendous contribution towards their child’s developing literacy skills by engaging daily in five specific activities: reading, singing, writing, playing, and talking. These activities are the guiding principles of “Every Child Ready to Read,” the library’s core approach to providing early literacy services.
The libraries offer a variety of storytime programs for families of young children, including lap-sit and baby rhyme-and-sign programs for our very youngest library patrons. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the library’s programs have transitioned from in-person to virtual offerings, including Facebook live storytimes and on-demand “Fast Fun for Little Ones.” These programs all focus on positive engagement, encouraging parents and caregivers to read, sing, write, play, and talk with their young children daily. The activities combine naturally and should fill a child’s day–but each action serves a separate purpose in helping to wire growing brains for a lifetime of reading and writing.
In addition to programming, the libraries offer over 300,000 children’s items to borrow, including new and classic children’s books, music recordings, and videos for families to borrow, as well as parenting resources on early childhood topics such as behavior and development, sleep and toilet training, cookbooks, and science and craft activities. Is your child fascinated with dinosaurs or the night sky? Curious about owls or scared of the dark? The library has books to help parents and caregivers explore all these topics, easily searchable through our online catalog or picture book index, or accessible through our ultimate resource: our friendly youth librarians!