Pioneer Library System
Date Submitted: 04/2022
Pioneer Library System, 300 Norman Center Ct. Norman, Oklahoma 73072
Rating Category: Best Practice
Focus Area: Child Development
Focus Population: Children, Caregivers, Guardians, Parents
Goals and Outcomes: The Pioneer Library System’s GLAR project has reached approximately 10,000 families since it began in 2009. Currently, families receive a pre-literacy kit at library story times or when PLS partners with local health departments, WIC programs, and Head Start programs. Materials in the kit are available in English or Spanish, with each kit costing approximately $15. With financial support, the program could be extended even further beyond the walls of the libraries to childcare providers in low-income areas of the PLS three-county service area. There are opportunities to connect with home childcare places and underserved locations. By utilizing the PLS data analysis tools and metrics, PLS could strategically identify at-risk populations such as households below the poverty level and areas with children ages 0-9 years. For example, the Blanchard area has a high number of children ages 0-9 years, meaning there are opportunities for growth and community partnerships in this area for early literacy support. Norman and Shawnee communities have the highest percentage of households below the poverty level and therefore have a high need for early childhood development resources. With additional funding, PLS could also reach out to expecting families in birth classes offered through the health department to inform families about the importance of family engagement in language and literacy development at all stages of a child’s development.
The Pioneer Library System (PLS) has developed the Growing Like a Read (GLAR) project to promote language and literacy development and support caregiver education and engagement. Children and caregivers who participate in PLS story times or attend an event with a community partner may receive a pre-literacy kit which includes: a library bag, a stand-up book with age appropriate songs and rhymes, activity logs to reinforce literacy skills at home and on the go, and a board book for reading together. PLS staff model the six pre-reading skills identified by GLAR in story times and programs and provide tips to incorporate these in daily activities. The six pre-reading skills are letter knowledge, narrative skills, phonological awareness, print awareness, print motivation, and vocabulary. These six skills connect to the American Library Association’s five practices for Every Child Ready to Read: reading, singing, talking, playing, and writing. PLS recognizes the parent or caregiver as a child’s first teacher and seeks to provide tools for continued learning and caregiver engagement.