New approaches to family literacy win the day!

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May 13, 2020

Last Spring our Family Reading Circle program had lots of "points of contact."  There were children's games played on the outdoor patio at Cesar Chavez Library, chairs huddled together in half circles with parents practicing their 'reading out loud skills,' and songs with fun rhymes sung over-and-over-again to the delight of the smallest children. 

This year the Literacy team was challenged to provide the same high quality program online, and be just as engaging.  The results?  A definite success!

Eighteen families have just begun the 4-week program which started last week with an Orientation that was conducted over the phone, and on Zoom. Parents drove or walked to the El Gabilan Library to pick up their first reading packet which included the picture book "Bear at Home," craft supplies and learning materials. This week's packet includes the picture book "Lola Plants a Garden," and will include seeds for planting, as well as learning materials and crafts. 

"The families are looking to us for resources and activities to do with their children while at home sheltered in place," says Literacy Assistant Margarita Medina-Romero who has worked with Families for Literacy for over a decade at the library.  The "Family Reading Circle" program is a product of her hard work, and the entire literacy team's creativity.  "We check in with families every Friday using Zoom to see how they made use of the materials, and to get feedback," Medina-Romero adds. "Many had to be taught how to use their Kindles and Zoom, but they caught on quickly." The library has provided 7 grant-funded Kindles to those who needed them.

There are a total of 111 families enrolled in the Salinas Public Library's Families for Literacy Program, and 204 children.  The program is funded through the California State Library Literacy Services (CLLS) which focuses on adult basic literacy skills, and supporting adult learners in their role as parent and teacher. The program also helps build home libraries for families to help create a more language-rich environment at home. Each week a new lesson packet along with activities and story time videos are posted to the SPL Literacy YouTube channel, and books are distributed curbside at the library. 

For more information, please contact the Literacy Center at (831) 758-7916,