"It's one thing to have never read Shakespeare; it's another to never have read to your child."
This quote manages to distill the importance of reading to a civilization. If the next generation can't read, then the knowledge that a civilization has will disappear. Even with all the technology we have today, if a child can't understand written language, that child is severely limited. Studies have shown that children who are read to on a regular basis (i.e. daily) and see reading modeled for them by adults, do far better in school than those who don't.
The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has awarded a grant to the Public Library Foundation of Beaufort County to enable the Beaufort County Public Library to initiate a program for early childhood literacy called WeeRead.
Special storytimes for babies and children up to 3 years old and their families are being held at the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton libraries this summer. These storytimes also include a five-minute class for parents and caregivers to provide them with tips that will help make reading to their children not only more productive, but fun. This program guides parents and caregivers in ways and methods to help prepare children for that big day down the road when they'll begin reading on their own. Additionally, the summer reading program for 2- and 3-year-olds contains information about WeeRead and early childhood literacy. Both the storytimes and the summer reading program help put children on the path for lifelong learning.
But the program is not limited to the walls of the library. Beaufort County library is aware there are kids and parents who cannot come to the library. Beginning in late July, day care centers and early childhood centers will be contacted to set up classes for parents and caregivers so that this early literacy initiative can spread throughout Bluffton and Hilton Head.
This initiative will help the county reach that day when no child will be able to remember a time when he or she wasn't around books and reading. If you would like more information on this program, contact the Bluffton library at 843-255-6510 or the Hilton Head library at 843-255-6529 for more information.
And don't forget to visit the library and sign up for summer reading. It's for all ages -- including adults.
Scott Strawn is the youth services coordinator for the Beaufort County library system. Contact him at 843-255-6456.