December 2, 2021
Check out December's edition of our monthly outreach to Michigan Legislators where we continue to educate them on the value of our libraries and the critical role of library staff. Our monthly letters include information on programs and services that libraries provide, education on library funding, the return on investment for our communities, stats and fun facts about library usage, and more.
Now more than ever, libraries play a critical role in providing support and resources for
early childhood literacy because it is the foundation to learning success. In many Michigan communities, libraries are the lead agencies for literacy services for young children, and for some, libraries are the first touchpoint in their literacy journey.

So what is early childhood literacy?

Early childhood literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually read or write. It begins at birth and is closely linked to a baby’s earliest experiences with books and stories. Babies learn when they interact with books and the more interactions the better!

Early literacy skills include awareness of the sounds of language, awareness of print, and the relationship between letters and sounds, vocabulary, narrative skills, and print motivation. The library is a natural place to explore these key skills for reading development. From storytimes to summer reading programs, libraries are equipped to instill in children the skills and enthusiasm needed to enter school.

Libraries support literacy development through the cultivation of young readers. Research reveals that over 90% of libraries provide special programming for early literacy, with 92% of those libraries adding materials specifically related to early literacy. Libraries give everyone access to early literacy resources, regardless of their socioeconomic background because, in libraries, everyone is welcome.

Once our childrens' reading journey begins, school and library partnerships continue to be key in addressing reading challenges. These literacy partnerships that support Michigan’s "Read by Grade Three Law” ultimately make a difference in test scores, achievement, higher graduation rates, and enhanced productivity in adult life. When students become proficient readers, they are able to apply these skills in other areas of the school curriculum, finding success by building on the foundation of literacy. 

Libraries, by their very nature, serve a critical and dynamic role in engaging and enhancing our children’s love of reading. This early literacy journey develops them into lifelong readers, which in turn, gives rise to lifelong learners.

Thank you for supporting our libraries and early childhood literacy.
Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director
Michigan Library Association
Leading the advancement of all Michigan libraries through advocacy, education and engagement

The information provided in this newsletter is credited to Pamela Williams, Library Director, Frankenmuth James E. Wickson District Library.