From The Beacon: Read to your little one with WeeRead

This past Thursday, staff from the Beaufort County Library System and Beaufort County Broadcast Production filmed our first WeeRead Parent Resource Video.

With the help of a Hilton Head Island Foundation grant to our Public Library Foundation of Beaufort County, the library system has been able to reach out to new parents on Hilton Head and in Bluffton and empower them with knowledge about the importance of reading to and with your child.

In 2007, the Beaufort County Library System incorporated the national Every Child Ready to Read curriculum into our children's literacy efforts. At that time, Youth Services Coordinator Wendy Allen and Children's Services Manager Jean Morgan participated in and facilitated several regional training sessions to share the curriculum skills with caregivers and teachers.

In 2011, WeeRead @ the Library -- serving new parents and infants to 2-year-olds -- was born. The Every Child Ready to Read fundamentals are the foundation of WeeRead. The program provides new parents -- with special emphasis on those new families that do not already use the library -- an opportunity to learn easy and fun ways to help their little ones begin to learn those pre-reading skills so important for school success.

Jean Morgan, retired Beaufort County Children's Children Services manager and now member of the Hilton Head Friends of the Library Board of Directors, serves as a volunteer leader for our WeeRead effort.

"Did you know that babies are very busy learning so many things in the first year?" Morgan said. "They learn how to reach for your finger, hold up their head and roll over. They smile and coo when you talk to them. How are they learning? They are learning from you, and you are your child's first and best teacher."
Jean offers some insight for families who want to help their child learn to love to read:

"As a new parent, you are in the best position to help your child get ready to read because you know your little one best. You spend a great deal of time with them. They learn best by doing things, and they love doing those things with you. So what are those easy and fun ways to help your child? Read with them often and make it enjoyable. Stop reading when they become tired or lose interest. Snuggle and cuddle with them as you read. By doing this, they will find books interesting and pleasurable. They will come to look forward to reading."

Here are some other tips for sharing books with your baby:

  • Pick times when you and your child are in a good mood, ready to enjoy each other.
  • Point to the pictures and talk in your most natural and cheerful voice.
    Talk and have fun.
  • Find a spot in your home where you and your baby are comfortable reading together. If your baby likes to be held, snuggle up and read a book together in a comfy chair. Some babies like to lie on a blanket. You can lie beside them and look at a book together.
  • Watch what your baby does. Babies like to play with books, chew on them and throw them. It's perfectly natural. For babies, books are toys.
  • Read with your baby every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Reading together is the most important gift you can give your child.

We have board books, musical CDs and story time programs at the library. We even have books with a CD so you can help your little one turn the pages while you both listen to the story together. Go to www.beaufortcountylibrary.org to find a program at your local library branch. And look for our new WeeRead @ the Library webpage, due to launch in January 2012.

Remember, reading to your little one will help your baby learn, imagine and thrive.