Growing a Reader: It’s Never Too Early: (Southern Adirondack Library System)

Outcome-Based Evaluation
Best Practices in New York State

(Example illustrating the use of a Complete OBE Package, including a logic model)

This entry includes the entire second year LSTA project report. All aspects of an OBE plan are in evidence. The outcomes are stated in terms of what participants will do with their learning and it reaches the furthest level of impact to include how library users will ultimately benefit. Plans to do sample tracking of the reading readiness of children entering school who were helped by parents and caregivers attending workshops did not materialize within the time frame for the project but several school principals across the state expressed willingness to find out which children’s parents/caregivers attended training and report on their reading readiness during kindergarten intake activities. They expected to report cumulative data while respecting privacy issues. Such data would have been the ultimate in impact information for this project and might be considered by future projects. This report repeatedly states how close to the original predictions the project came including when expectations were met, exceeded, or fell short. The project also reflects changes made during the implementation phases in response to incoming data. This project excelled at predicting how participants would benefit and examining feedback responses for important patterns that matched predictions.

Period Covered:  April 1, 2006 - March 31, 2007

1. Describe the project’s accomplishments to date in relation to its objectives and the target population.

The intent of the project was to position libraries as early childhood literacy experts in their communities. Over a two-year period, the project aimed at training children’s staff from member libraries in 23 public library systems across New York State to present Every Child Ready to Read workshops for parents and child care providers as part of outreach efforts. The stated outcomes included:

Outcome 1: Children’s staffs from member libraries learn six early literacy skills (narrative skills, print motivation, vocabulary, print awareness, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness) at every targeted age level for children (early talker, talker, pre-reader).

Indicator 1: # and percent of children’s staff that demonstrate skill as observed by national trainer during workshops. 

Indicator 2: # and percent of children’s staff who articulate plans for parent/caregiver early literacy outreach as assessed by “Next Step” exercise collected by trainer at end of workshops.

Indicator 3: # and percent of children’s staff who assign workshop at least a 4 out of 5 rating on workshop evaluation questions.

Accomplishments: Twelve of the twenty-three library systems received workshops given by a national (Public Library Association) trainer in year one; the remaining 11 in year 2. Each workshop covered the six research-based early literacy skills. The workshops were designed so that each participant practiced each skill during the workshop. The ability to apply the early literacy techniques was visible to the presenter.  In addition each participant completed an exercise requiring articulation of plans to use the new skills in parent/caregiver outreach activities. Each also completed a workshop evaluation. Seven of the 23 systems received advanced training in story time applications of the six early literacy skills; one in year one and six in year 2. The latter was done in year one because one system had already received preliminary training in the six literacy skills. Six systems were added in year 2 in response to many requests from the field for such additional training.

Indicator 1: In year one, 444 (100%) participants learned each of the six early literacy skills; 24 (100%) learned story time applications. In year two, 470 (100%) participants learned each of the six early literacy skills; 289 (100%) learned story time applications. The predicted 80% achievement level was exceeded in all twenty-three workshops.

Cumulative two-year impact on children’s staff learning new skills:

  • 914 (100%) from twenty-three systems learned six early literacy skills
  • 313 (100%) from twenty-three systems learned story time applications of six literacy skills
  • The predicted achievement level was exceeded overall by 20%.

Indicator 2: Over the life of the project literacy skills participants articulated plans to apply new skills to parent/caregiver workshops to share new ideas from the workshop with colleagues. Story time applications participants specified plans to integrate the early literacy skills into story time in their libraries. The following summarizes those plans.

Type of Workshop Plan Year 1 Year 2 Two-year average

Early Literacy Skills

1. Plan to apply in parent/caregiver workshop 381 (85.8%) 431(91.7%) 812(88.8%)
  2. Plan to share new idea with colleague 415(93.4%) 447(95.1%) 862(94.3%)

The predicted 80% achievement level was exceeded in all thirteen workshops.

The participants in both programs specified plans to use several of the topics covered in parent/caregiver workshops or story time. The topics specified most often were dialogic reading, phonological sound games, bonding with babies, narrative skills, rhyming, vocabulary, inclusion of parents in story time and games/songs. Participants also specified plans to develop their own resource lists that match their own libraries’ collections and to work with appropriate agencies to offer parent/caregiver workshops.

Indicator 3: There were 11 workshop evaluation questions that are detailed in the quantitative evaluation results section of this report. For the twenty-three systems that learned early literacy skills, an average of (96.8%) rated the workshop 4 or higher out of a high score of 5.  The average response to the eleven questions was 4.7 out of 5. The story time applications workshop participants answered four evaluation questions. An average of  (95.1%) rated the workshop 4 or higher out of a high score of 5. The average response to the four questions was 4.6 out of 5. The workshop ratings exceeded the predicted average ratin g of 4 and the 80 % satisfaction prediction.

Workshop Ratings                           Year 1         Year 2         Two-year average

  Rated workshop 4 or higher of     428 (96.3%)   379(97.2%)         96.8%
  High score of 5

Average rating all 11questions     4.7 out of 5   4.7 out of 5    4.7 out of 5

Note: In year two not all participants turned in evaluations.  Out of 470 early literacy skills participants, 390 filled out evaluations; out of 289 story time applications participants, 122 filled out applications. In at least one complete workshop, participants took evaluations home and only 3 were returned. Since the averages of the two years were so close, the data are deemed supportable.

Outcome 2: Children’s staffs use early literacy skills for outreach activities.

Indicator 1: # and percent of children’s staff who conduct successful parent/caregiver training in early literacy targeting at least one age level.

Indicator 2: # and percent of parents/caregivers who express satisfaction with parent/caregiver workshops given by initial children’s staff trainees.

Indicator 3: # and percent of children’s staff that report using early literacy skills during at least one story time following the workshops.

Accomplishments: Children’s staff from 21(91.3%) systems reported at least some form of post-workshop outreach activity connected to their early literacy training.

Indicator 1: It was predicted that, by the end of year two, fifty percent of the children’s staff trained would conduct at least one workshop for parents/caregivers. Ninety-four, ten percent, conducted parent/caregiver workshops. While the indicator was not met there was considerable activity that should be noted as follows:

  Year 1 Attendance Year 2 Attendance Cumulative Attendance
Workshops for parents 10 130 58 435 68 565
Workshops for caregivers 10 179 16 107 26 186
Early talker skills targeted 7   41   48  
Talker skills targeted 7   52   59  
Pre-reader skills targeted 1   39   40  
All skill levels  7   26   33  
Developed resource lists to match collection 11   9   20  
New library cards issued 201   48 249

The data on parent workshops are incomplete because only two of the systems trained in the first year continued to report in the second and several of the systems trained in the second year were trained too late to conduct workshops in time for this report.  Even with incomplete data and time constraints, the numbers of parent/caregiver workshops are low. Many of the workshop participants noted that they felt more comfortable applying the skills to library story times. Also many noted that story hours are already in the current schedule of libraries and adding parent/caregiver workshops without added fiscal resources would be a hardship.

Indicator 2: During the initial workshops, children’s staffs were urged to use standardized parent and caregiver intake forms when they delivered workshops and follow-up surveys after the workshops. The evaluation plan was to compare parent/caregiver intake to the national data collected by the Public Library Association in its research study on early literacy training for parents and caregivers. The returns were very disappointing.

 

Year1

Year 2

Overall

Number of Parents

130

435

565

Intake collected

40 (30.7%

13 (2.9%)

53 (9.4%)

Follow-up surveys

15 (11.5%)

3 (.06%)

18 (3.1%)

Number of Caregivers

179

107

286

Intake collected

0 (0%)

18 (16.8%

18 (6.3%)

Follow-up surveys

0 (0%)

10 (9.3%)

10 (3.5%)

A high level of parent satisfaction (100%) is reported in the twenty-eight parent/caregiver follow-up surveys from both years.  Ninety percent satisfaction was predicted so the results are promising but too sparse to be conclusive. Note that most systems reported no attempt to collect intake of follow-up surveys despite repeated notices and requests from the grant project director. Many public libraries resist asking patrons to give the information even when it is voluntary and accompanied by promises of privacy. It is regrettable because analysis of those submitted would suggest that had more data been available a substantial impact of the project could have been demonstrated.

Indicator 3: Seven systems received training specific to story time applications of the early literacy skills learned expressed a high degree of satisfaction as follows:

 

   Workshop Ratings

  Year 1

  Year 2

  Two-year  

   average

   Story time     Application

  Rated orkshop 4 or higher of   high score of 5

 Average rating all 4 questions

    22 (91.7%)

 

    4.4 out of 5

    120 (98.4%)

 

     4.9 out of 5

 (  95.1%)

 

    4.6 out of 5

The story time applications workshop participants answered four evaluation questions. An average of  (95.1%) rated the workshop 4 or higher out of a high score of 5. The workshop ratings exceeded the predicted average rating of 4 and the 80 % satisfaction prediction. It was also predicted that at least forty percent of the participants in the early literacy workshops would identify ways to apply the six skills to at least one story time in the library. The systems did not report story time workshops in a way that could be traced to a count of individual participants. However if 40% of the participants in year one applied the concepts to one story hour, at least 178 story hours would have been reported; in year two at least 188 would have been reported.  The application of early literacy concepts to library story times was as follows:

  Year 1 40% goal Over goal Year 2 40% goal Over goal Overall
Story time sessions 314  (70.7%) 178 30.70% 476 188 60% 790 (86.4%)
40% 100% 46.4% over
Children served 4937     9520     14,457

This indicator was exceeded each year and overall in the two years of the project by 46.4 percent.

Outcome 3: Parents report using early literacy skills with children. Indicator 1: # and percent of parents/caregivers who report at least one changed behavior when reading with children in their care.

Accomplishments: Indicator 1: A checklist was applied to parent/caregiver follow-up surveys to assess whether behavioral changes of parents/caregivers were results of the workshop. The questions were open-ended and answers were completely generated by the parents/caregivers. Answers were counted only if they matched the predictions on the checklist. Only 28 follow-up surveys were returned, but the responses are worth noting. They came from parents/caregivers of 31 early talkers, 18 talkers, and 66 pre-readers. (Note: Caregiver follow-up surveys report on activities concerning more than one child) 23 (82.1%) recorded at one changed behavior. 18 (64.2%)%) recorded more than one changed behavior. Changed behaviors included: increase in amount of reading with child, increase in time spent reading with child, more attention to developmentally appropriate materials, change in reading method (pointing out details, asking questions, letter recognition), increase in library use and attendance at story time, more creative approaches to reading (rhyming, word games, sound games), more creative play (pointing out letters, naming objects), greater attention to words and letters in the environment. It was predicted that 10% of the parents/caregivers responding would report changed behaviors. Actual changes far exceed the predictions.

Outcome 4: Parents/caregivers express recognition of public librarians as early childhood experts in their communities.

Indicator 1: # and percent of parents/caregivers who report changes in perception of library role in early literacy as assessed by a follow-up survey. 

Indicator 2: # and percent of children’s staff who report at least 1 new partnership or strengthened partnership connected to the early literacy project

Accomplishments:

Indicator 1: Only twenty-eight follow-up parent/caregiver surveys were received. A checklist was applied to the surveys to assess parent/caregiver perceptions about the role of the library in early literacy.  The questions were open-ended and answers were completely generated by the parents/caregivers. Answers were counted only if they matched the predictions on the checklist. 19 (67.9%) matched the checklist including statements about the important role of the library in early literacy, new understanding about the importance of attending early literacy programs at the library, decisions to use the library more, statements about reinforced appreciation for the library role.  It was predicted that 10% of the parents/caregivers responding would report positive perceptions about librarians’ roles as early literacy experts/  Actual changes far exceed the predictions.

Indicator 2: The following information was extracted from statistical reports and some follow-up surveys received from children’s staff.

Partners

Helped recruit

Co-taught

Hosted

Provided child care

Head Start Organizations

8

1

2

1

Parent/Child Care Councils/Services

3

 

2

 

Neighborhood organizations

4

1

4

1

Junior League

1

 

1

 

Hospitals/Health Agencies including

Home Nurses

3

 

2

 

Cornell Extension

1

 

1

 

Even Start Organizations

4

1

3

1

Social Services (including WIC)

4

 

4

 

Infant Development Organization

1

 

1

 

Daycares and preschools

3

1

3

1

Churches

2

 

2

 

University Class

1

1

1

 

There were 94 parent/caregiver workshops over the two years. Thirty-five who gave workshops reported partnerships (37.2%). This exceeds the prediction that 10 percent would report at least one new or strengthened partnership as a result of early literacy services to and with partners.

2.To what extent were project activities completed within the project timeline?

Project activities included:

1. Training: Twelve of the twenty-three library systems received workshops given by a national (Public Library Association) trainer in year one; the remaining 11 in year 2. Seven story time applications workshops were added to the project.  Completed December 2006

2.  Web Design and Refinement including the registration software (E*vanced Solutions) evaluation software (Survey Monkey), early childhood literacy resources and links to other early literacy sites. Updates were added in response to what was learned in year one and in focus groups held at the end of year one. Completed .

3. Evaluation:Design of evaluation instruments including early literacy workshop surveys, early literacy participant follow-up surveys, parent/caretaker intake surveys, parent caretaker follow-up surveys, and statistical reporting forms. Design of follow-up surveys using electronic software, Survey Monkey. At the end of year one the surveys were revised and simplified. Changes were communicated on the web and in notices to all systems. Completed.

4. Scheduling: Schedule trainer to bring early childhood literacy information to children’s services staff in all 23 public library systems. (Project Director, Youth Services Consultants, PLA Trainer) Story time applications workshops were added to schedule. Completed

5. Resource Lists: develop and post on the website to provide children’s services staff early childhood literacy resources that they can use in their libraries. Post buying lists for professional resource collections in system or central libraries on the website, so that youth consultants can order their materials. Completed.

6. Fact sheet: develop and place on the early childhood literacy website for youth consultants to use with their children’s services staff, providing an overview of why early literacy is so important and why they should attend training. Completed.

7. Order Professional Resource Collections: youth consultants order professional resource collections from buying lists on the project website, for use by their member libraries after the training.  (Youth Services Consultants) Completed.

8. Workshop Packets:copied, collated and mail to the 23 public library systems to give workshop participants resource materials to take back to their libraries to help plan early literacy services. Completed.

9. Press Releases Develop press releases and send out to appropriate venues such as systems, listservs and other venues to raise awareness about the need for early childhood literacy training and to recruit participants for the workshops. Completed

10. Postcards: send to all systems to be distributed to children’s services staff in their member libraries, inviting them to attend an all day early literacy training workshop, with a schedule of workshops being held and instructions for online registration. Completed

11. Practitioner training workshops (32):  early childhood literacy training for the children’s services staff of public libraries in New York State. Practitioners fill out online evaluations focused on outcomes following training. Certificates of contact hours issued to workshop participants who complete online evaluations. (PLA Trainer, Project Director) 32 (25 early literacy, 7 story time applications) workshops for 23 systems completed. Immediate evaluation instruments collected and analyzed. Follow up evaluations completed.

12.  Arrange workshops: Advertise workshop in system newsletter. Make arrangements for refreshments. Add final contents to workshop packets. Completed

13. Planning for future early literacy endeavors: Identify 10 key children’s library service providers from around the state (a mix of practitioners and consultants) to attend a planning meeting to examine the results of the project and identify priorities for further statewide support of early literacy. Completed June 2006 (See Focus Group Report Appendix A)

14. Recruit participants for year two: Develop and distribute for year two workshopsCompleted.

15.  Implement change: Change program based on year one findings. Changes in workshop content completed by national trainer; data instrument revision completed; steps to increase data collection undertaken but unsuccessful.

3.  Briefly summarize any quantitative evaluation results for this project and attach the Quantitative Measures page, noting to what extent you reached the target population.

Table 1: Learning Achieved in Practitioner Workshops:

Workshop content

Number of workshops

Attendance

Learned six skills

Percentpredicted

Percentachieved

Early Literacy

25

914

914

80%

100%

Story time applications

7

313

313

80%

100%

Table 2. Participant Plans for Parent/Caregiver Workshops:

Plan parent/caregiver workshops

812 of 914 participants

88.8%

Plan early talker workshops

440 of 914 participants

48.1%

Plan talker workshops

467 of 914 participants

51.1%

Plan pre-reader workshops

382 of 914 participants

41.8%

Plan to share one new idea with colleague

862 of 914participants

94.3%

Table 3.  Early Literacy Workshop Ratings by Participants (5 pt. Scale; 5=highest rating; 1=lowest rating)

Question

Average

Trainer organized & prepared

4.8

Trainer knowledge of topic

4.9

Trainer presentation

4.8

Session provided new information

4.6

Makes difference to participant’s work

4.5

Would recommend to others

4.7

Good foundation for parent/caregiver workshops

4.5

Handouts easy to understand

4.8

I will use handouts again

4.6

Overall evaluation of workshop

4.7

Overall average

4.7

Note: Not all participants submitted evaluations. For this table N=834.

Table 4. Early Literacy Workshop Ratings by Participants of 4 or Higher

Question

Number Rated 4 or Higher

Percent

Trainer organized & prepared

823

98.7

Trainer knowledge of topic

831

99.6

Trainer presentation

818

98.1

Session provided new information

797

95.6

Makes difference to participant’s work

769

92.2

Would recommend to others

804

96.4

Helped understand early literacy development

794

95.2

Good foundation for parent/caregiver workshops

772

92.6

Handouts easy to understand

818

98.1

I will use handouts again

790

94.7

Overall evaluation of workshop

806

96.6

Average on all questions

802

96.2

Table 5.  Story time Applications Workshop Ratings (5 pt. Scale; 5=highest rating; 1=lowest rating)

Question

Average

Trainer knowledge of content

4.9

Trainer explanations clear

4.8

Handouts helped

4.8

Valuable for work

4.8

Average on all questions

4.8

Note: Not all participants submitted evaluations. For this table N=146

Table 6. Story time Applications Workshop Ratings by Participants of 4 or Higher

Question

Number Rated 4 or Higher

Percent

Trainer organized & prepared

144

98.6

Trainer knowledge of topic

140

95.9

Trainer presentation

143

97.9

Session provided new information

142

97.3

Average on all questions

142.2

97.6

Note: Not all participants submitted evaluations. For this table N=146

Table 7.  Parent/Caregiver Workshops

Total caregiver sessions

26

Total Caregiver Attendance

186

Total parent sessions

68

Total Parent Attendance

565

Table 8. Parent/Caregiver Intake Background Information

 

#

Race

Age

Language

In Home

Early talkers

18

7 White

3 Asian

6 Black

2  Latino

 

(20-29)       2

    1. 10
    2. 4

50-              2

English              12

Punjavi                1

Russian               1

Korean/Spanish   1

Italian                  2

French                 1

Talkers

36

10  Latino

17 Black

2 Asian

7 White

    1. 1

(20-29)       10

(30-39)       11

(40-49)       8

50-             6

English             32

Russian             2

Chinese             1

Hebrew             1

Pre-Readers

17

4 Latino

5 White

8 Black

(20-29)       3

(30-39)       7

(40-49)       4

50-              3

English             14

Russian             3

Totals

71

16 Latino

19 White

31 Black

5 Asian

(15-19)      1

    1. 15 
    2. 28
    3. 16

50-             11

English             58

Punjavi              1

Russian              6

Korean/Spanish  1

Italian                 2

Chinese              1

Hebrew              1

French               1

 

 

#

Education Level

Income Level

Other Parenting workshops

Other Literacy workshops

Early talkers

18

No HS               1

Some HS           2

HS/GED            0 

Some College    6

College Grad     9

Low               3

Work Class   6

Middle          7

High              2

5 Yes

13 No

4 Yes

14 No

Talkers

36

Some HS           7

HS/GED            6

Some College    9

College Grad     14

Low               5

Work Class  19

Middle          11

High              1

19 Yes

17 No

19 Yes

17 No

Pre-Readers

17

Some HS           3

HS/GED            3

Some College    6

College Grad     5

Low               4

Work Class   9

Middle          4

High              0

10 Yes

7 No

10 Yes

7 No

Totals

71

No HS               1

Some HS           12

HS/GED            9

Some College    21

College Grad     28

Low              12

Work Class  34

Middle          22

High              3

34 Yes

37 No

33 Yes

38 No

Table 9. Parent Intake Reading with Children

 

Parent#

Share Books With Child

Talk about surroundings

Sing Songs
Recite Rhymes

Early talkers

18

Every day         11

1-3 times week   5

Rarely/never       2

Every day         10

1-3 times week   4

Rarely/never       4

Every day           8    

1-3 times week   4

Rarely/never       6

 

 

Share Books With Child

Encourage child to name objects in pictures in books

Use general questions to get child to say more than one word

Talkers

36

Every day         23

1-3 times week 11

Rarely/never       2

Every day         21

1-3 times week 10

Rarely/never       5

Every day         19

1-3 times week 12

Rarely/never       5

 

 

Share Books With Child

Introduce child To letters, letter sounds/names

Play word games with child

Pre-Readers

17

Every day      15

1-3 times week  2

Rarely/never     0

Every day        12

1-3 times week  4

Rarely/never     1

Every day        8

1-3 times week  6

Rarely/never     3

Totals

71

 

 

 

 

 

Parent#

Use library Services w/child

 

 

 

 

Early talkers

18

Once a week    8

1-3 month        8

Rarely/never    2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read words found in environment

Use library Services with child

 

 

 

Talkers

36

Every day         11

1-3 times week 16

Rarely/never       9

Once a week13 

1-3 month    15

Rarely/never  8

 

 

 

 

 

Build vocabulary Through reading

Read words found in environment

Point to word when reading to child

Talk about left and right with child

Use library Services with child

Pre-Readers

17

Every day       10

1-3 times week  6

Rarely/never     1

Every day    13

1-3 times wk  4

Rarely/never 0

Every day   14

1-3 times wk 3

Rarely/never 0

Every day     8

1-3 times       5

Rarely/never 4

Once a week  5  1-3 month    8   

Rarely/never 4

Totals

71

 

 

 

 

 

4. Briefly summarize the qualitative evaluation results, providing information in relation to progress toward expected outcomes.

Qualitative Information about Early Literacy workshops:

Several open-ended (qualitative) questions were asked on the workshop evaluation from. The attempt was not to lead the respondents by providing a checklist of possible answers. Rather respondents had to create their own responses, expressing their own thoughts. The responses were analyzed looking for patterns of response.

Table 1: Early Literacy Workshop Evaluations: Qualitative Questions

Question

Patterns

Which handouts were most helpful?

Brain development handout

Most important new idea presented

Use of music to enhance literacy

Developmentally appropriate pre-reading skills

Research on importance of parents/caregivers to children’s reading success

Matching games and activities to skills

How to ask what questions

Importance of dialogic reading

Brain development information

Phonological Awareness Approaches

Children’s need for processing time when asked questions

Importance of letter knowledge

What should be added in future training

Story time applications

Tips for parents who are poor readers themselves

Resources in foreign languages

How did the workshops come to your attention

Through the system

From local children’s librarian

Topics of most interest for presenting to parents

Dialogic Reading

Phonological sound games

Narrative skills

Rhyming

Games/songs

Vocabulary

Activities of greatest interest for follow-up

Resource lists matched to system holdings

Contacts with appropriate agency partners

Other important comments

Long and repetitive

Need to distribute songs

Need applications for single parents

Need more story time applications

Need to relate to ethnicity

Table 2: Story Time Workshop Evaluations: Qualitative Questions

Two open-ended (qualitative) questions were asked on the workshop evaluation from. The attempt was not to lead the respondents by providing a checklist of possible answers. Rather respondents had to create their own responses, expressing their own thoughts. The responses were analyzed looking for patterns of response

Question

Patterns

What was the best new idea you learned?

Need parents for success

Pre-reading skills

Use of music

Games/activities matched to skills

Resource List

Literacy tips in parent handout

How could the workshop be improved?

More opportunities for sharing good ideas among group

Booklists of resources arranged by skill and level

Concrete examples of story time applications

Answers to parent frequently asked questions

Sample story

Tips to engage parents/incentives

Handouts with words to songs

Table 3: Post-Workshop Story Time in the Library Reports: Qualitative Questions

Children’s librarians who reported conducting story hours using newly acquired skills were asked two open-ended questions. The attempt was not to lead the respondents by providing a checklist of possible answers. Rather respondents had to create their own responses, expressing their own thoughts. The responses were analyzed looking for patterns of response.

Question

Patterns

What was the best thing that happened in your story time?

The children were more engaged

Use of finger plays and songs and providing copies to parents

Children responded to more music, rhythm and rhymes

Parents report tips useful

Parents report reading more with their children

Using props for stories

Parents who were already reading with children felt reinforced

How will you change future story times in your library?

Use more finger plays and interactive books

More rhymes/songs

Explain skills to parents as we go whenever possible

Focus on one skill

Vocabulary: find out what words the children don’t know and define them

More helpful handouts, bulletin boards

Include parents in all story times

Change handouts to make them user friendly and jargon free

Qualitative Information concerning parent/caregiver early literacy activities: Parent Intake Information

Parents/caregivers were asked to describe their reading behaviors with their children or the children in their care in addition to answering the frequency with which they used various early literacy techniques that were age appropriate. The following are the patterns observed in the responses.

Table 4. Parent/Caregiver Early Literacy Activities Before Workshop

Parents/caregivers of early talkers

Choose animal stories and make animal sounds

Read especially at bedtime

Sing songs that match the books

Borrow books and media

Take child to story hours

Parents/caregivers of talkers

Ask a lot of “tell me” questions

Point to and read street signs

Name everything they see

Take walks and point to letters

Play “fishing for words”

Use word wall with word of week, children’s names, sight words

Alphabet wall; letter and calendar of the day/week

Parents/caregivers of pre-readers

Read with children and encourage child to spend alone time reading

Ask caregivers to spend reading time with children

Limit TV in favor of reading

Talk about library visits- what child liked best

Talk about library story time when at home

Play scrabble

Use flash cards and vocabulary builders

Use children’s magazines to find and define words

Give child directions to retrieve things using left and right directions

Point to left and right body parts

Teach left/right setting the table and identifying location of table settings

Borrow books and media and use computer at library

Use finger games to teach left and right

Read street signs and store signs

Sing all the time

Qualitative Information concerning parent/caregiver post-workshop early literacy Activities: Follow-up Surveys

Parents/caregivers were asked to describe how their reading behaviors with their children or the children in their care changed as a result of parent/caregiver workshops. The following are the patterns observed in the responses.

Table 5.  Parent/Caregiver Early Literacy Activities After Workshop

Parents/caregivers of early talkers

Read more with children

Use more songs and rhymes

Use library more

Parents/caregivers of talkers

Have children tell main characters

More definitions when reading

Play more word games

Read more when going places (signs with words, letters)

Ask more who, what, and where questions

Point more when reading to letters, words, pictures and ask questions

Pick out words in a story that begin with a given letter

Use more songs and rhymes

Use library more

Name objects more

Play “What’s in the bag”

Parents/caregivers of pre-readers

Ask more general questions during story time

Use more songs and rhymes

More definitions when reading

Play more word games

Read more when going places (signs with words, letters)

Use weekly word chart

Have book of the week for class

Use library more

Created science project using words, letters, definitions

Teach left and right when putting on clothes and shoes

Do more classroom labeling and drawing attention to labels to introduce letters, letter sounds, and words

Teach left and right during exercise time

Emphasize directions in puzzles, rhymes

Point to words and labels everywhere we go

Children’s library staff response to research presented in Early Literacy Workshops

Nearly 1/3 staff participants in the early literacy workshops and ¼ of the story time workshop participants expressed strong reaction to the findings of the Public Library Association national study. The response was consistent over both years of the project despite an attempt to communicate the grant purpose more clearly in the second year. Specifically the research stresses the key role of parents and caregivers in contributing to the reading readiness of their children. The research suggests parent involvement and parent performance of early literacy activities has greater impact than any other early literacy activities including library story time. That fact is the very reason that the Growing a Reader project was aimed at positioning children’s staff to teach parents and caregivers what they need to know to be effective. There is no doubt that the same early literacy skills can and should be applied to story times in the library, but the thrust of the national research is the need for parent action. The strong reaction expressed by so many participants suggested that those staff members would prefer to apply the new techniques to story time and not to parent/caregiver education. In response to the clear preference of librarians, six story time applications workshops were added in the second year. This phenomena no doubt contributed to the limited amount of parent/caregiver workshops following the early literacy workshops in addition to expressed concerns about fiscal and staffing constraints.

Some of the most repeated comments are included in the following table.

Table 6. Responses to research about needing parent contribution to reading readiness of children

  Disbelief that parents have more impact than other activities
  Obstacles to parent/caregiver workshops are financial support,
    staff time, and childcare for parents
  Workshops should concentrate on story time applications
  Six early literacy skills apply best to story time
  If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, meaning current story time practice isn’t broken
  We decided to integrate new skills with our existing story time programs

5. Please provide one or two anecdotes or stories about how this project affected people who received services.

First Year: The following are some quotes from librarians who provided follow-up information to the early literacy workshops:

“More toddlers and infants are coming to the library because of attending parent workshops. One parent wants to present workshops with the librarian.”

“Workshops have led to an increase in library use by Hispanic families.”

“One agency asked the librarian back four times and asked for caregiver training monthly.”

“Brooklyn Reads to Babies (BRTB), an early literacy campaign developed by Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)was introduced at ten branch libraries from November 9-January 7. The central library kickoff event featured the shot film Reading with Babies, introduced by creator Susan Straub, reading tips and tricks for parents and caregivers, a raffle, and complimentary snacks, books and goodie bags. BRTB is geared toward parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers, stressing the importance of reading to children during the fist years of life. Its goal is to reach every family in Brooklyn with children from birth to age two with the message that reading to babies can make a vital difference in their language development and readiness for school. BPL produced a BRTB brochure, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Arabic, that offers reading tips and suggested booklists so all Brooklyn resident are able to receive this important message. They are available at all BPL’s locations and through several community partners; access is available at BPL”s recently launched web site, www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/first5years.

Second Year; 

“I created a bulletin board featuring skills babies/toddlers learn from parent reading; offered quad-fold brochures downloaded form website for three different age groups. I use the information covered in the workshop regularly during informal exchanges with patrons.”

“I redesigned all my story hours to reflect the program… My next goals are to order resources for my parenting collection, create some in-house booklists to compliment the Every Child Ready to Read brochures, and offer workshops to daycare centers.”

“Here are the changes we made: While 3-5 programs traditionally have been separation sessions, we now encourage parents to join in…During all our programs, we display age-appropriate books, CD’s and puzzles and make sure the parents are aware of them…We have printed all our nursery rhymes and distributed them to parents…We have printed the lyrics to all the songs we use in the programs and distributed them to parents. Each story hour has a portion devoted to rhyming words or songs.”

“I held mini-sessions with the Moms/caregivers for 15 minutes for 6 weeks. We talked about one of the early literacy skills. First I presented the skill and how I include it in story hour. Then they talked and shared their experiences.”

Anecdote from parent:

After the parent workshop I started to build the six early literacy skills into our everyday life. For instance, when I fix dinner with my child, we name all the ingredients, name the dishes being prepared, identify the first letter of each ingredient and each dish.”

Quantitative Measuresz’ Provide summary figures only

1. Number of users served:

Year 1

Year 2

Total

 

444

470

914

Children’s library staff in early literacy workshops

24

289

313

Children’s library staff in story time workshops

179

107

286

Caregivers

130

435

565

Parents

4937

9520

14,457

Story hour patrons in 790 story hours post-workshop

2. Number of community agencies/businesses collaborating in this project:

12

Name them:

Head Start agencies
Even Start Organizations
Parent Child Care Councils/Services
Neighborhood organizations
Junior League
Hospitals/Health Agencies including Home Nurses
Cornell Extension
Social Services (including WIC)
Infant Development Organization
Daycares and preschools
Churches
Colgate University

3. Number of collection purchases by type:

Print (Volumes) 1238 (Note: incomplete reporting)

4. Number of bibliographies, publications, lesson plans, documents or publicity prepared:

Bibliographies 12;  handouts for parents 20; publicity items for early literacy workshops 1601; publicity for parent workshops  613.

5. Number of workshops/programs:

25 early literacy workshops for children’s staff
7 story time workshop of children’s staff
26 parent workshops
68 caregiver workshops
126 total

6. Total number in attendance:

444 early literacy attendance
313 story time attendance
286 caregiver attendance
565 parent attendance
1608 total

7. Number of Websites or web pages developed:

1 SALS website for all aspects of the project

 

Web hits

Web views

Web visits

1st year beginning July

50,829

14,871

8,130

2nd year

54,275

19,097

18,595

Total

105,104

33,968

26,725


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Last Updated: June 3, 2009