Photo courtesy Richmond Public Library
A visit to the library does more than just inspire. It also helps students do better in school.
“We know that regular visits to the library give children the message that reading is important, and encourages lifelong learning,” says Melanie Au, co-ordinator of children and family services at the Richmond Public Library. “Many teachers bring their classes to the library for tours and special programs, and encourage students to get library cards.”
In celebrating Literary Month this September, Richmond Public Library is promoting the importance of literary skills through various ongoing programs. These include story times, reading buddies (one-on-one reading for children), book clubs, author talks and writing programs. Special guests such as Mayor Malcolm Brodie and city councillors will also be on hand to award participants with special prizes and medals to all children in the summer reading clubs, that this year attracted more than 4,000 participants in various age groups. The summer reading finale will be held Sept. 8 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Brighouse branch, 7700 Minoru Gate.
A 1998 report by Cunningham and Stanovich for the National Center for Educational Statistics suggests literacy is more than just learning to read and write. It also includes the ability to interpret and communicate ideas, critical in helping us make sense of the world. It also indicates that:
• The level of a person’s literacy skills will have a huge influence on education, work and life opportunities;
• The most important factor to influence a child’s future success is whether or not they were read to in their early years;
• Teaching early literacy skills are particularly important, because children who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years; and
• Reading frequently and consistently is linked to academic success in general, particularly high performance in vocabulary, spelling, fluency and reading comprehension.
Richmond Public Library works closely with teachers to ensure that the library has resources that will support student needs, Au says.
“The school curriculum is now focusing on the inquiry based teaching method which encourages self-led learning and discovery,” she says.
The library has many resources and programs that can support teachers and students, such as:
• Engaging print and ebooks that encourage students to examine various topics from different perspectives;
• Discovery Kits — special kits that include primary source documents, artefacts and books on specific topics studies at school;
• Soldier files — replicas of military documents telling the story of individual soldiers of the First and Second World Wars;
• Science kits — hands-on learning sets with books, DVDs and learning toys on topics such as forensics and physics;
• Story time kits —books and activities that assist Early Childhood educators in teaching literacy units; and
• Digital tools that teach digital literacy.
“Stories found in library books can also build imaginative thinking, empathy, social skills and widen a person’s worldview which supports the school curriculum’s emphasis on socio-emotional development,” Au notes.