The Better World Books Literacy Grant will help make our Early Literacy Learning Lab a reality! Over the past few years, the Union County Carnegie Library has worked to build meaningful partnerships with community agencies dedicated to helping young children and families learn and grow together. We are excited to build on our current resources and expand them to better serve our community as a result of Better World Books.
Currently, 1 in 5 adults in Union read at or below a third grade level, and only 1 in 4 kids graduates high school in four years. Additionally, only 25% of students enrolling in kindergarten demonstrate a readiness to learn and only 5% of second grade students are on track for success in English Language Arts when entering the third grade. The Union Library has partnered closely with Union County First Steps over the last few years to address these issues. Through this partnership the library has added learning kits for families and educators working with children ages birth – 4, which can be borrowed from the library and focus on evidence-based curriculum topics. Additionally, First Steps provides funding to support early literacy programs at the library, and the library provides more than 75 early literacy programs with more than 1500 participants each year.
The $4,696 Literacy Grant from Better World Books will be used to expand resources available to Union County’s youngest community members, ages birth – 4 years old, by helping complete an early literacy learning lab (ELLL). The ELLL will include the resources provided through First Steps, as well as educational activities for young children that help foster fine and gross motor skill development, early literacy, and emotional development. This designated safe space will provide tools to help parents educate their children, even if they themselves struggle with literacy and reading. By enabling parents and caregivers to provide educational opportunities to young children, the Library can help address and overcome the barriers preventing children from being ready to learn when entering kindergarten. Our goal is to ensure that every child enters kindergarten with the foundation needed to be successful throughout their lives.