Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan - February (belated) 2017 Newsletter

every child ready to read

Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan  -  February 2017

In This Issue:

This Month's Wisdom...

"As recommended by ECRR, it helps to take a more FUN (yet thoughtful) approach to programming for teen parents, lest you lose your audience. So think about how you can present the practices of Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play in a fun way."

~ Sue McCleaf Nespeca 

Teen Parents

teen parent

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy there were 229,715 teen births in the US during 2015 (most recent data) for teens ages 15-19. That is 22.3 births per 1,000 teens of these ages in the U.S. Michigan has fewer births per 1,000 (19.4) and ranks 21st compared to other states, meaning that there are 29 states that have MORE births per 1,000. So Michigan is slightly less than the national average.

Who serves or is reaching out to teen parents at your library? Is this group neglected or largely overlooked? Most often, this type of outreach falls to children’s librarians, because we are the ones who have the knowledge of early literacy skills and what the parents/parent can be doing to make sure a baby is exposed to early literacy practices from birth.

This is a hard group to reach for many reasons (see Reflections below). There may be a program at your local public school system for teen parents, preschool children of teen parents may be enrolled in Head Start or Even Start, or there may be another social service organization that reaches teen parents in your area. If you can partner with any of these, the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) project is a natural fit to introduce these parent/s to early literacy practices. As recommended by ECRR, it helps to take a more FUN (yet thoughtful) approach to programming for teen parents, lest you lose your audience. So think about how you can present the practices of Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play in a fun way.

The School Library Journal article that is linked in the Reflections section below lists several types of programs that have been successful in libraries around the country. Here are two others that I would like to mention:

1. San Antonio Public Library has a specific outreach program to teen parents that incorporates ECRR’s five practices. Here is a handout from their program. I think their ten tips are particularly useful. 

2. Salt Lake County Library Services partnered with a local school district to hold a “Teen Parent Picnic.” At the picnic, the young parents were given goodie bags containing nursery rhymes, some toys, and information about the library. They were all invited to select several new books to take home. Snacks were served, and the families and children were entertained by two storytimes. David Bird, a librarian with Salt Lake County, gave his storytime in Spanish. He spoke about his role as a parent, and introduced early literacy practices based on the Every Child Ready to Read project. (Outreach Librarian, June 25, 2014.)

There is an actual book published on this subject if you are interested. Titled Serving Teen Parents: From Literacy to Life Skills, the book was written by Ellin Klor and Sarah Nordhausen and was published by Libraries Unlimited in 2011. If you do not have time to read an entire book, here is an article that was written by one of the authors and is available online.

Do you have an existing program where you are doing outreach to teen parents? If so, write me at sue@kidlitplus.com and I will mention it in the next newsletter. 


New Books of the Month

Nighty Night

Here are three books from 2017 that would be great to recommend to teen parents. The first is for babies, the second for toddlers, and the third is most appropriate for preschoolers. 

Nighty Night. Leslie Patricelli. Candlewick, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-7636-7932-3. $6.99.

The double page spread depicting “naked dance” is more than worth the price of the book! All of Leslie Patricelli’s board books are great for babies. My favorite is still Yummy Yucky but this is a close second. Just listen to some of the rhyming (phonological awareness) text: Bye-bye, pants. Naked dance! We’re so grubby. Tubby scrubby. Brushy toothy. Brushy hair. Kissy Daddy. Huggy bear. PJs on. A book and then…."I’m not done! Again! Again!"  Another new title for 2017 by Patricelli is Hair. Candlewick, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-7636-7931-6. $6.99.

And I have you

And I Have You: A Book of Mothers and Babies. Maggie Smith. Knopf, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-553-51019-5. $17.99. 

This is marketed to be bought by individual families since one can insert their own photo in the cover and personalize the book, however, saying that, it can also be used exactly like is, with the picture the illustrator has depicted. This is a wonderful book for toddlers due to the simple text with just one line per page. It is a great introduction to what one calls the young of different animals. “A hen has her chicks, a duck has her ducklings, a cow has her calf, and I have you. Wherever you go and whatever you see, I’ll always have you and you’ll always have me.” 

Good Night! Good Night! Carin Berger. Greenwillow, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-06-240884-6. $17.99.

It’s time for bed, but Mama Bunny is finding it impossible to get her three little bunnies to go to sleep. This book is lots of fun and is interactive --- children can jump along with the bunnies, and they call participate in the repeated refrains. “Good-night stories, good-night songs, good-night hugs, good-night kisses, good-night hugs (again), good-night dance, good night, Bunny…..” A perfect bedtime book for preschoolers!

Good Night

Websites of the Month

book jacket

Here are several links to articles or websites that will be helpful to librarians who want to do programming for teen parents.

1.       An interview with Ellin Klor, author of Serving Teen Parents: From Literacy to Life Skills. The interview is called “High Need, High Impact: Outreach to Teen Parents and their Children.” There are many useful ideas here, but I particularly like the answer to the question of how she adapts her storytime to fit the needs of teen parents. 

2.       PBS Parents has a wonderful website that covers developmental characteristics of one, two, and three year-olds that will be useful to teen parents and librarians alike. Under each age group are topics including: approaches to learning, social and emotional growth, creative arts, language, literacy, etc. 

3.       Zero to Three -- one of the best sites that offers a comprehensive interactive resource for parents and early childhood education professionals on healthy development of children ages zero to three.  There is a wealth of information here, but the section on literacy would be particularly beneficial to use with teen parents. 


Teen Parents graphic

Teen Parents and Library Programming

An article in School Library Journal last year really had me thinking. It was just a few lines in the article, but it really hit home for me. It mentioned that almost all the programs we offer at public libraries that would help teen parents instill early literacy skills with their babies were not accessible to teens what so ever. For example, many storytime programs are held during the daytime (teen parents are probably attending school at those times) or, even if evening programs are offered, teens would be doing homework and attending to their child, or even working a job. Other teens might not even think of the public library as a source of support, or, if they did, may be uncomfortable coming to the public library. So, reaching teen parents with early literacy messages in libraries is probably not happening to any great degree. 

Thus, it seems the only way possible to reach teen parents would be through outreach. Most high schools have programs aimed specifically at teen parents, or a time during the school day when those students meet to learn skills that will help them with their baby. I worked in Ohio libraries my entire career, and our schools had GRAD programs. GRAD stood for Graduation, Reality And Dual-role Skills and was Ohio's in-school instructional program for Grades 7-12 pregnant and parenting teens. I did a little research on Michigan, and found this: 

Michigan Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program 

“The Michigan Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program (MI-APPP) engages expectant and parenting teens, young fathers and their families in a system of care through the implementation of the Adolescent Family Life Program - Positive Youth Development (AFLP-PYD) case management program and other support services. AFLP-PYD allows for tailored case management services to address various risk behaviors, the impact of trauma, and link teens to community resources and support services to improve educational, health and social outcomes.”  

I also found a reference to this on the Michigan educational website: “Programs, usually available within the regular high school curriculum, that provide opportunities for pregnant teens and teenage students who are parents to complete their high school education and receive diplomas. Classes which focus on child development, infant care, mother/infant nutrition and childbirth preparation are available in addition to the basic graduation requirements and academic electives. Students who are enrolled in the program may also receive nutritionally balanced meals (breakfast and lunch), prenatal care, family planning and counseling services.” 

It might be a wonderful idea to see what is happening at your local high schools and partnering with the person in charge so that you can interact with teen parents. As far as what types of programs you could do, please see the SLJ article that I mentioned earlier, it is packed with ideas: “To Support Teen Parents, Libraries Build Trust and Unique Programs."