SPELL: The Research
October, 2012 - September 2013
In 2012, the Colorado State Library received a $41,146 grant to promote early learning among low-income children, part of a $2.5 million grant program that aligns the work of the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) with the goals of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Through reviewing existing studies and undertaking new research, the SPELL team, with help and support from many invaluable partners, created a blueprint of promising practices for libraries and other agencies to deliver early literacy information and resources to low-income families with young children. This blueprint will be shared broadly and will suggest library policies, services, community partners, and practices that can make the library more accessible and usable for this target audience.
Putting SPELL into Action
October, 2014 - September, 2016
In 2014, IMLS awarded the Colorado State Library with a grant, Putting SPELL into Action, to undertake a two-year project to test the SPELL blueprint recommendations in libraries across Colorado. With these grant funds totaling $247,619, State Library staff has trained eight teams from public libraries and early literacy organization partners on the SPELL findings and recommendations developed during SPELL. February, 2015-January 2016, the teams will then develop and test local prototype programs to deliver early literacy messaging to low-income parents.
For the research phase of the project, we asked parents of children birth-three in four Colorado communities--Aurora, Leadville, Fort Lupton, and Colorado Springs--to complete this survey to provide input on the barriers they face to using the library and reading daily with their children, what sources they trust for parenting information, what services they'd like to see in the library and more.
We also conducted focus groups in the same four communities with parents of children birth-three, asking them these questions:
- What is your child’s favorite book, song, or rhyme and why do you think it is the favorite?
- What is the most challenging thing about inspiring your children to know and love books?
- Books in the home are a key predictor of school success. What do you need in order to have more books in your home?
- What are the most convenient ways to reach you with parenting information? For example, a flyer in weekly ads or some brochures at your pediatrician’s office? We want to make sure the message truly reaches you.
- If we partner with some other early childhood organization in the community to offer you early literacy programs, who would be our best bet and why?
- Would you be interested to attend a free parent education program on early literacy? If yes what support do you need to make it from start to finish?
- Based on the experiences, what can libraries offer you to encourage you to read with your children?
- How can your library serve you even if you can’t come to library as often as you want?
- What are the best times for you to attend early literacy programs?
- What are the best places for you attend early literacy programs outside the library?
Find the results in this research report.