[Reading-For-Healthy-Families] Partnership/program ideas

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Mon Jun 28 09:23:33 PDT 2010

Hello!  Those of you looking for new ideas for engaging families may be interested to read the following article about what the Healthy Start and library are doing in Bend.

Those of you who want to get ideas about what to say to reporters or media to promote your programs may also be interested.  This article is a great example of how to integrate research into personal stories that are really the motivating factor for many people.  I've highlighted the key early literacy messages in orange to point out that you only really need to say a few sentences about the importance/research.

Remember, if you have success stories or ideas you want to share with other RFHF participants please do so!



Katie Anderson, Library Development Services

* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *

Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301

katie.anderson at state.or.us, 503-378-2528

Bonding with books: Bend library teams up with program for first-time parents to cultivate early literacy

By Lillian Mongeau

The Bulletin

Mary Gillogley, 21, remembers getting prizes from the Bend Public Library for reading a certain number of books when she was young. Now, she has a child of her own and decided last week that it was time for his first trip to the library. The fact that her son, Dominic, 4 months old, can't read a word yet, is beside the point, Gillogley said. "I think it's just good to expose them to it at first," Gillogley said, "and to meet other mothers and kids."

Gillogley is part of the Healthy Families of the High Desert (HFHD) program that helps first-time parents from Deschutes and Jefferson Counties who may need a little extra support in the first months and years of parenting. The nonprofit program gets state funding and is administered by the High Desert Education Services District. It connects parents to services in the community and encourages parenting practices like regular exercise, good nutrition and early literacy activities. In addition to weekly home visits, HFHD support workers organize events like the monthly "Strollers and Stories" walk from Harmon Park to the Bend Public Library for "Baby Steps" story hour.

Though "Baby Steps," a story hour for children from birth to 18 months, is part of the library's regular weekly offerings, HFHD works with the library every first Thursday to gear the hour towards HFHD families. Participants walk to the story hour together, receive a healthy snack and get a free book for attending. They also learn about the importance of early literacy and how to prepare an infant or toddler to enjoy reading.

Recently, the walk was canceled at the last minute due to weather, but the meeting room at the library was full. Gillogley and Dominic joined a dozen other families with infants and toddlers to sing silly songs and listen to Children's Librarian Paige Bentley-Flannery read simple board books. "The Baby Goes Beep," by Rebecca O'Connell, was the first book of the day and Bentley-Flannery asked the group to help her with the story. Each two-page spread had a picture of a baby making a new noise. On the first page, the baby is sitting in a car seat with a toy steering wheel. "The baby goes beep," Bentley-Flannery said animatedly, showing the group the picture and pushing her hand forward as if she was honking a car horn. "The next one is two beeps," she said as an aside to the parents, who took their cue and joined in for the next line, "the baby goes beep, beep." By the third line, which called for four "beeps," the kids who were old enough were pushing imaginary horns and saying the "beeps" along with their parents.

This might sound like all fun and games, but for very young children, it can be the first step in becoming a successful reader, said Heather McNeil, youth services manager for the Deschutes Public Library system. "Early literacy is about what a child needs to know in order to be ready to learn to read," McNeil said. "This is not teaching reading. It's getting children to understand that books are fun; that it's about their interests; that you can be silly with books or quiet with books. Research has shown that when you read aloud to a child the brain development that goes on is incredible." Just the act of cuddling with and speaking directly to your child is beneficial from a parent-child bonding standpoint, McNeil said, but it also helps babies to connect with books, begin to decode letter sounds and expand their vocabularies at an early age. Even children who are too young to speak benefit from hearing stories and songs and learning to turn the pages of a book, according to the Early Literacy pamphlet distributed at Thursday's event.

Amanda Gribble, 21, is part of the Angel's Wing program for single moms who are over 18 run by Grandma's House, a residential facility for teen mothers in Bend. Gribble said he and her daughter Aslin, 1, join the Grandma's House group on their monthly field trip to the library in conjunction with the HFHD event. Many of the girls living at Grandma's House have support workers

in the HFHD program. Gribble said she can't remember reading with her parents as a child, but said she knew reading with her daughter was important "for the learning skills. (Reading) increases her ability to talk and communicate more often," Gribble explained.

Aslin clapped and smiled from her mother's lap while Bentley-Flannery read stories and sang songs, clearly engaged. It was less obvious what four-month old Dominic was getting out of the reading, though he was wide-eyed and alert for the whole program. Gillogley, who works for TRG Customer Solutions in Bend and is going back to school to become a nurse, knew the reading hour had been good for her infant son though. So far, Gillogley said, she'd just been singing to her infant son, but now it was time to start reading to him. "I think we're just going to start," she said, "now that we have a free book."

Lillian Mongeau can be reached at 541-617-7818 or at lmongeau at bendbulletin.com<mailto:lmongeau at bendbulletin.com>.


If you go "Baby Steps" Story Time is offered at the Bend Public Library on Wednesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. and at the Redmond Public Library on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.. For a complete listing of story times for all of the Deschutes Public Libraries call 541-617-7050 and ask to speak to someone from your local library or go online to www.dpls.lib.or.us/events/<http://www.dpls.lib.or.us/events/>.

Healthy Families of the High Desert also offers a "Welcome Baby" group for all local families welcoming a new child into their homes. The group meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Bend Public Library's meeting room at 10:45


Grandma's House and Healthy Families of the High Desert are always looking for donations of baby clothes and books. Monetary donations and volunteer efforts are also welcome. To find out more call Grandma's House at 541-383-3515 or HFHD at 541-749-2137.


>From bendbulletin.com - published daily in Bend, Oregon, by Western

Communications, Inc.

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