Library of Victoria programs focus on literacy and fun during the school year | Reserved for subscribers

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On Thursday morning, a group of preschoolers wearing Velcro sneakers and stuffed animals ran into a serious problem at the Victoria Public Library. The “alphagator”, an alphabet-eating alligator, had a stomach ache.

The solution, in which the children dutifully participated, was to recite the alphabet to the alphagator, which apparently relieved his symptoms.

The children and their parents attended one of the Public Library’s Story Hours, one of the events organized by the library to help provide families in Victoria with the resources they need to develop the literacy of their children. children.

According to Amy Barnhill-Guillot, a professor at the University of Houston-Victoria College of Education, various library story times for babies up to age 5 provide children with free exposure to books and reading, which is important for early childhood literacy. and health professionals.






Children gather in a circle to work on coloring pages after Pre-K Power story time on Thursday at the Victoria Public Library.



“It’s vitally important, and I can’t stress that enough,” Barnhill-Guillot said.

“A child’s brain develops more in the first three years of life than it does over its entire lifespan, so the baby’s brain makes all of these fundamental connections,” she added.

Numerous studies show that children who enter kindergarten classes with exposure to reading and writing do better in school than children who don’t have that kind of training, according to Barnhill-Guillot, although that is not always the case.

“Their brain is a very flexible thing, and so it’s possible for some students to catch up even if they come to school with a lack of experience,” she said. “But the chances of them catching up are pretty slim, as they will likely continue to live in the same type of illiterate environment in which they spent their early childhood.”

The issue of literacy quickly connects to broader societal issues, as families in lower socio-economic positions may lack the resources or time for their children to access the educational materials that other families have, said Barnhill-Guillot.

This dynamic can create a vicious circle in which a lack of resources leads to poorer academic performance, making it even more difficult to obtain a better-paying job and the ability to provide those resources for one’s own children.

Barnhill-Guillot and the library’s youth program supervisor, Noelle Elkin, agreed that free library programs are a way to provide important literary resources accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford them.







Pre K Power Event

Library assistant Alex Torres reads a book to children during Pre-K Power story time on Thursday at the Victoria Public Library.



Storytimes are central to library programs during the school year, Elkin said, which goes beyond just listening to someone read a book. They also include interactive games, music, rhymes and coloring, which are more than just fun elements.

Activities like nursery rhymes and songs are important for early childhood education because they help children pay attention to the sounds of language, according to Barnhill-Guillot, so one of the best things parents and libraries do can do at this young age is “just have fun with Language.”

Felicia Montemayor, who comes to library events about three times a week with her 2-year-old daughter Amelia, echoed the idea that the events are both fun and educational.

Montemayor said that since they started coming to story time, they have noticed an improvement in Amelia’s vocabulary and her social interactions with other children.

Martha Prosen, who said she brings her great-grandson Nolan to library events about once a week, agreed with Montemayor.

“It’s really good for him,” she said, citing how Nolan can be around other kids and learn his ABCs.


Kids lose their marbles at the library's Lego event

Beyond story time events, the library also offers other educational events like its learning labs and Lego labs during the school year, although they are not as frequent as they might be. are during the summer.

He also launched the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, a year-round early childhood initiative that aims to encourage preschoolers and their families to read 1,000 books before starting kindergarten.

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