Denver Public Library Programs for Children
[Note: You can read the full report and see the vibrant layout by downloading the PDF file from DPL's website. Go to https://www.denverlibrary.org/content/facts-figures.html.]
Young children can access Denver Public Library's vibrant kid-friendly web site, Secret WonderWeb, to get homework help or a list of the latest books and movies. A six-year-old can download and listen to Miss Lydia read the classic Beatrix Potter story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, via podcast. "We are thrilled with the numbers of kids who access eVolver and Secret WonderWeb," says manager of web information services Michelle Jeske, adding that the sites average more than 2,000 views a day.
Still, even the latest technology can't outshine the experience of having a Read Aloud volunteer tell a story in person, animating the characters of a book and making a tale come to life. Just ask four-year-old Jalear who attends a Head Start center where Carleen Brice is a Read Aloud volunteer. "In the beginning, Jalear would say 'no books' each time I'd come into the classroom," Brice says. "He claimed he hated stories and books. By the end of the fall session, he would sit quietly and listen. And one day, he asked if he could give me a hug. I just about cried."
"The single most important activity for building the knowledge for eventual success in reading, is reading aloud to children," according to a report from Becoming a Nation of Readers. Read Aloud sends trained readers, most of whom are volunteers, into the community to read stories to children during the school year. In 2006, 25 staff and 85 volunteer readers visited 103 locations and read 15,965 books to approximately 4,500 kids. At the end of each spring and fall session, each child receives his or her very own book to keep. "Getting kids excited about books is so critical," says Read Aloud coordinator Susan Oakes. "If children love books and listening to stories, they will be better prepared to learn how to read when they enter school."
Library staff member and volunteer reader Hannah Miles lights up the room each time she arrives at the Westside Montessori Day Care for storytime. The kids run to her, screaming, "HI NANA!" Miles captivates the roomful of four-year-olds as she reads Roly-Poly Puppies. "I adore reading to the little ones," Miles says, "and they always make my day." When she leaves, the students smother her with hugs and kisses. It's apparent she makes their day, too.
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