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Growing Readers Together

Through a second generous grant from the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, the Colorado State Library (CSL) is partnering with 15 public libraries in eastern Colorado to undertake Growing Readers Together, a pilot project designed to support Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) childcare providers in early literacy. 

By combining caregivers’ desire to learn with librarians’ expertise in early literacy, Growing Readers Together will improve access to early literacy-focused resources and training in local communities. Specifically, Growing Readers Together will:

  • FFN caregivers in eastern Colorado will have the skills, confidence, and resources to engage children in their care with early literacy materials and activities daily.
  • Public library staff in eastern Colorado will have strategies to connect FFN caregivers in their area with early literacy services. 
  • CSL will develop state-level infrastructure for early literacy support to FFN caregivers and the children in their care.
  • Children under six in southeast Colorado will be exposed to language and literacy-rich experiences in informal childcare settings and at the library.

The 15 participating public libraries are located in these communities:

Background: 
According to the 2013 report School Readiness for All: The Contribution of Friend, Family, and Neighbor (FFN) Care in Colorado, in 2013 an estimated 142,100 children under six experienced some type of unlicensed childcare, with an additional 160,000 receiving care from a stay-at-home parent. For the report, FFN caregivers in eight Colorado communities participated in a survey that revealed that in-home caregivers had strong interest in receiving training and resources to help them improve their knowledge and skills in educating and caring for young children, including the topics of child brain development, appropriate developmental milestones, enriching activities, and techniques to bolster early literacy. FFN providers wished to receive such training and resources in informal environments with social interactions rather than more formal classes. These findings all point to the excellent opportunity for public library staff to provide library services to FFN providers in their communities, with the ultimate goal of increasing the quality and quantity of early literacy activities that providers engage in daily with the children in their care.
 

Resources for GRT libraries and their partners

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