"Oh, what a treasure," Mole shouted, and he may just have been talking about the Tamaqua Public Library's recent program entitled "PA One Book, Every Young Child" because, for the young readers who were present at Saturday's event, it certainly was a special time.
PA One Book, Every Young Child is an annual program that promotes literacy among younger children. According to its web site, the program tries to "highlight the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers."
The web site goes on to note that, "The One Book, Every Young Child program goes far beyond just giving parents and caregivers a book to read to preschoolers. The program's design is based on studies showing that simply reading a book is not enough. Adults must find ways to engage children in activities like talking about a book's cover and illustrations, discussing the action in the book and favorite parts, pretend play related to the book and more."
In addition to enriching these children's lives with an oral reading activity, each young reader is given a copy of the book and then is able to participate in a variety of activities that relate to the book that is being read.
At the library, young readers were given an ample number of activities to participate in with the members of the library's staff. First, staff workers read What a Treasure!, a picture book by Jane and Will Hillenbrand, to the young readers. Then, a variety of other books were also read to students, all of which related to nature and treasure finding.
Staff at the library also sang songs with the children and shared different types of "treasures" with them.
Once the reading and singing were over, children were invited to participate in a craft that consisted of decorating paper binoculars, and then were given a healthy snack.
This year's theme for the program was nature, and all of the program's activities were geared towards getting children to be good observers and having them notice their surroundings.
Head librarian Gayle Heath wanted children to see the benefits of reading and of being explorers. She noted that getting children outside and away from the T.V. was healthy for them and programs like this encourage children to do just that.
This is the fifth year that Tamaqua has participated in this program and, for Heath, continuing this program to the Tamaqua Public Library was a decision that was made because, as she noted, "it's an excellent program that promotes early literacy and gives parents ideas get kids into and motivated to read books."
In general, the program is made possible through a wide variety of sources: PA Dept. of Education, PA Dept, of Child Welfare, etc. However, the local version of the program that was brought to the Tamaqua Public Library was sponsored by the Tamaqua Lions, who offered a generous $500 donation that far exceeded the cost of the program.
In addition to this program, the Tamaqua Library will be sponsoring other programs this summer that will help advocate reading among younger generations. The summer programs begin on June 21 and run for approximately 8 weeks. There are programs available for children ages 6-12 and children ages 2-5. Anyone interested should contact the library for more information.