Fresh from ringing in the new year, it is time to get back into familiar routines. For most, that means going back to work or back to school, which continues to look a little different thanks to COVID-19. In 2020, we began our Homework Help program through the Literacy without Barriers program, supported by federal funds awarded and administered by the State Library of North Carolina. Unfortunately, due to the current severity of COVID-19 we have had to briefly pause in-person homework help, but we are continuing to support the learners of our community through Family Literacy Kits, another component of the Literacy Without Barriers Program.
These kits are being released as a four part series, with the second Family Literacy Kit being released in January. Participants receive a book they can keep to add to their home library along with an activity sheet and supplies to complete the project. Books and activity sheets are provided in both English and Spanish. The featured titles for the month of January are Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard, and The Feelings Book / El Libro de los Sentimientos by Todd Parr. Participants can request their preferred title. Family Literacy Kits will be distributed one book per family while supplies last and can be picked up at the following Neuse Regional Libraries: Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library, La Grange Public Library, Greene County Public Library, Maysville Public Library, Pollocksville Public Library, and Trenton Public Library Families can request additional activity sheets and project sets as needed.
The new year also ushers in new beginnings and the opportunity to establish new routines, and our libraries have the materials and services needed to get started. Now is a great time to develop a family reading routine. There are many routine things you can do to support your family’s literacy. Scheduling a time to read together is the perfect place to start. Whether reading time is after breakfast, before nap time, after dinner, or before bed, strive to read at the same time each day to build consistency.
Trips to your local library can provide the opportunity to add some reading materials to your collection. Consider a virtual visit if you prefer to check out e-books and e-audio materials. Construct your own cozy reading nook or enjoy some fresh air and a change of scenery by reading outside when the weather allows. You can even design your own family read challenge with rewards when goals are met.
Here are even more new routines you can establish: Set a goal to read an entire chapter book, a specific number of books, or certain amount of minutes. If there is a movie you want to watch that is based on a book, read the book first and then watch the movie. Books should never be judged by their movie, and it opens the door for excellent discussions about similarities, differences, and favorites. Write your own story as a family. Brainstorm ideas, create characters, and draw the illustrations.
Opportunities to read and build literacy skills surround us on a daily basis. The Neuse Regional Libraries seek to provide spaces for our creativity communities to come together. We hope that we can begin in-person homework help again as soon as possible, but in the meantime we hope you will take some of the above ideas to heart and use your local library’s resources to set up a new routine for the New Year that results in high literacy for you and your family. For more information about Youth Services programs or Family Literacy Ktis, please contact the Youth Services Department at 252-527-7066, ext. 133 or via email at email@example.com.