Commentary: Early literacy and the Southington library

Kristi Sadowski, Southington Public Library director

The National Institute for Family Literacy discovered that 3-5 year olds who had been read to at least three times per week were two times more likely to recognize all letters, have sight-word recognition, and understand words in context. These findings show that in addition to reading, books assist with a child’s ability to communicate.

Early literacy is the natural development of skills through the sharing of books, the importance of positive interactions between babies and parents/caregivers, and the critical role of literacy-rich experiences (American Library Association).

Recognizing the important role families play in early development, the Library offers multiple programs and services to assist in building literacy skills. 1,000 books before kindergarten is a program to promoting reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers, and to encouraging bonding through reading.

Parents, grandparents, or caregivers of children age 3 and younger may register for the program at the children’s services desk. Upon registration, parents receive a book bag and a binder with a recording sheet. For every 100 books read to the child and recorded, the child receives a prize and a new recording sheet. At the completion of 1,000 books read, the child will choose a book to keep and have their photo taken and displayed in the children’s department.

You can also find great literacy tips on the Southington Kid’s Place Facebook and Instagram pages. These ideas include simple things that can be built into your day, and that children will see as an aspect of play.

If you are looking for more structure and classroom readiness, Southington Public Library offers multiple weekly storytimes (in 5 or 6 week sessions) and several other monthly programs. Fall storytime registration for two-gether tales (ages 2-3 years), read, rock & rhyme (ages 10-24 months), and budding bookworms (3½-5 years) began this week, and there are still slots open.

To register stop at the children’s services desk, or visit our online calendar, find the first day of the class you wish to register for (either Monday, Nov. 4 or Tuesday, Nov. 5), click the RSVP button, and register each child separately. Each of these classes includes stories, movement games and songs, and provides necessary and applicable tools for children’s early literacy, development, and school readiness.

Fun fact: Ever wonder how popular library programs are? Last fiscal year the Southington Library held 871 programs with 17,373 attendees. According to the American Library Association, there were 113 million attendees at public library programs in 2016, more than all Major League Baseball, National Football League, and National Basketball Association games combined.

Kristi Sadowski is the director of the Southington Public Library. To learn more, visit them at