Supporting Parents and Caregivers

The Every Child Ready to Read® @ Your Library® 2nd edition toolkit (ECRR2) provides talking points and customizable slideshows for workshops for you to educate parents and caregivers, library staff, and community partners on the importance of promoting reading readiness by reading, writing, talking, playing, and singing with young children.

But you don't need to offer workshops in order to share ECRR2 and other early literacy information with parents and caregivers! You can talk about these concepts in storytime, during day-to-day interactions at the children's desk and in the stacks, and anytime you interact with parents and caregivers. You can share early literacy information via signage, displays, social media, and library publications. Some ideas:

  • Schedule an ORTR Early Literacy 101 training for your staff, to equip them to teach early literacy concepts.
  • Learn about new research, articles, parent tips, and more on ORTR's Facebook page.
  • Curious about how to include early literacy messaging in storytime? See our Storytime Ideas page for lots of helpful resources!
  • Use ORTR's Grab & Go Early Literacy Station templates to make quick displays or parent/child activity stations.
  • Borrow an Ohio Ready to Read kit to enhance your workshops.
  • Use or adapt this presentation script from Elaine Betting at Lorain Public Library System, developed for a library program for parents of incoming kindergarten students. It describes the Five Practices and easy ways to use them to support early literacy skills development.
  • Consider offering a workshop in partnership with another community group. Find suggestions in the Partnerships section.
  • Use this Tip Sheet (PDF) as a guide to reach out to families who do not come to the library.

Resources to Share with Parents and Caregivers
Many excellent resources exist to educate and encourage parents to thrive as their children's first and best teachers. Browse these websites for talking points, downloadables, and good ideas to share with parents, or include links to these sites on your parent-oriented handouts, website, or social media:
Zero to Three
Resources for parents and others to learn about brain development, early language and literacy, and child development. The site includes special sections for many helpful topics including Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care and School Readiness.
Babies Need Words Every Day: Talk, Read, Sing, Play
This campaign of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) campaign is designed to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of enriching communication with their babies. ALSC offers free downloads of posters and brochures for your library and community partners.
Reading Rockets: For Parents
Tools, tips, booklists, and other free resources for parents from Reading Rockets, a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.
Reading Rockets: Dialogic Reading
This powerful, fun method of reading interactively with children turns books into opportunities for conversation and learning. In dialogic reading, the adult helps the child become the teller of the story.  Dialogic reading significantly enhances early literacy skill-building. It also encourages social skills such as taking turns and listening; gives children practice in sorting and communicating their thoughts; and helps children understand that their input is important and meaningful.
Laugh Play Read: Stark County District Library's Early Literacy blog
Featuring a monthly printable early literacy calendar, this blog is a service of the Stark County District Library's Literacy office to encourage and support caring adults to sing, talk, play, and read with their young children.
Books Build Connections Toolkit
The American Academy of Pediatrics has collected numerous resources for caregivers and children to form positive attitudes about, and develop good practices for, sharing books and developing receptive and expressive language skills. Downloadable tipsheets help caregivers share books with their children at every stage from infancy to preschool.
PBS Parents: Reading and Language
Learn how children become readers and writers and how parents can help them develop by talking, reading, and writing together every day.
Get Ready to Read screening tool
This online, 20-question tool for 4-year-olds was designed to show where a child is on the path to developing pre-reading skills. It is free for parents and caregivers to use with children, and is available in English and Spanish.

Librarian-led Workshops and Early Childhood Providers
The Ohio Departments of Education and Job and Family Services oversee Step Up To Quality, Ohio's quality rating and improvement system for licensed learning and development programs. Step Up To Quality program standards have been expanded from three to five levels, and have been revised to include family and community engagement and health promotion standards. For more information regarding Step Up To Quality, visit the Early Childhood Ohio website.

If you provide (or would like to provide) staff trainings for early childhood learning programs, please review the Training Approval Process for Step Up to Quality.
Also, if you are providing training to staff of child care centers or to Type A homes, you may use this form to document your attendees' participation:
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Form 01307: Inservice Training for Child Care Employees. Your training description goes on page 2 (Child Development). The MLIS/MLS qualifies as a related field, as long as the training is related to how early childhood professionals can use the library services in their role working with young children.

This article from the July 2016 issue of School Library Journal describes some initiatives at libraries around the country to provide professional development for early childhood educators:
When Librarians Teach Teachers by Linda Jacobson


Ohio Library Council                    State Library of Ohio