Early Literacy program comes to Harford County Public Library

To celebrate April as "Month of the Young Child" and in an effort to promoting early literacy skills for young children, Harford County Public Library has introduced the Puppy Tales Club, an early literacy program for parents, caregivers and their babies, up to 35 months.

It is based on five simple important early literacy practices: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.

"Getting every child ready for school is so important and the Puppy Tales Club provides a critical component in developing pre- and early literacy skills for our youngest customers," said Library Director Mary Hastler.

The Puppy Tales Club highlights the importance of early literacy and encourages participation in daily activities that strengthen pre-reading skills. Starting this month, parents and caregivers can register their children for the Puppy Tales Club at any library branch and receive an activity log with 12 simple but fun learning activities based on the five early literacy practices. Upon completing 10 of the 12 activities at home and returning the activity log by April 30, children will receive a certificate and special completion prize.

"Puppy Tales demonstrates how easy and fun it is to include basic early literacy skills with small children," said Claudia Sumler, Senior Administrator of Public Services for the library, said. "It is so simple and yet so very important."

Early literacy story times throughout April will help parents and caregivers understand why early literacy skills are so important; demonstrate how to help their children learn the skills; and send them home with early literacy activities they can incorporate into their family's daily routine. Each library branch will feature a special display offering assorted book lists and books suited for sharing with young children as well as handouts that offer further information and tips on at-home activities to continue building the foundation for reading and learning.

Throughout April, follow the library system's Facebook page for postings of early literacy tips and more information about the Puppy Tales Club. Visit HCPLonline.org for story time dates and locations.

The five key early literacy practices are taken from Every Child Ready to Read, which was developed by the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association, in conjunction with national reading and education experts. The program offers research-based practices that adults and children can enjoy together while helping children learn early literacy or pre-reading skills.

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves over 160,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of over 4.8 million.

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