Brier, Wash. — The fans were rapt, on the edge of their seats. As each new number began, some old, some new, they sang along. How could they not? But they were waiting for the big hit — and when it came, finally, it was like a dam broke. Squeals broke out in the crowd, they jumped up on their feet dancing, twirling, shouting along with “Dinosaurs in a Car.” Even some of the parents.
Nationally known children’s musician Nancy Stewart kicked off Sno-Isle Libraries’ early literacy tour at the Brier Library on Friday, to a full house of adoring storytime regulars. The tour, called “Every Child Ready to Read and Rock!” showcases three beloved children’s performers, Stewart, Eric Ode and Caspar Babypants (pseudonym of Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America) performing interactive songs that promote early literacy skills.
“Children learn language through repetition, like you get in most children’s songs,” says Leslie Moore, Sno-Isle Libraries’ children’s and outreach services manager. “Listening and singing attunes the ear to learning sounds, and understanding at a deep level the concepts of sounds, words and syllables.”
The tour, funded by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, isn’t just for kids. Library staff at the shows provide resources and information about “Ready Readers” games and activities adults can do with children to help them develop essential pre-reading skills. Ready Readers is a Sno-Isle Libraries initiative designed to help parents and caregivers enhance literacy and language development. Kids need to develop six important skills before they are ready to learn to read: (1) awareness of how stories work, (2) how to hold and use books, (3) understanding sounds, (4) understanding letters, (5) understanding words, and (6) being motivated to read. Parents and caregivers hold the key to ready reader success. Librarians urge that caregivers practice these skills with their young children every day. Research clearly shows that children with the six skills are better prepared to learn reading and writing when they start school.
“Early learning is important to our communities, to make sure each child starts off with an equal chance to succeed in school,” explains Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Executive Director Angelique Leone. “That’s why our Foundation provides funds to the library system for early literacy support, such as our Books for Babies program and these Ready Reader concerts.”
The “Every Child Ready to Read and Rock!” tour plays through October 8 around the Sno-Isle Libraries district. Each show features one of the three performers and other early learning activities and resources. Admission is free; no tickets required.
· Concerts featuring Nancy Stewart:
o Brier Library, Sept. 9, 11 a.m.
o South Whidbey Commons Backroom, Langley, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.
o Wellington Day School, Clinton, Sept. 14, 1:30 p.m.
o Lake Stevens Library, Sept. 20, 11 a.m.
o Monroe Library, Sept. 20, 2 p.m.
o Mountlake Terrace Library, Oct. 8, 11 a.m.
· Concerts featuring Eric Ode:
o Mountain Way Elementary, Granite Falls, Sept. 13, 10:30 a.m.
o Elger Bay Elementary, Camano Island, Sept. 13, 2 p.m.
o Mill Creek Library, Sept. 20, 9:30 a.m.
o Darrington Library, Sept. 23, 11 a.m.
o Stanwood Library, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.
o Lynnwood Library, Sept. 24, 11 a.m.
· Concerts featuring Caspar Babypants:
o Oak Harbor Library, Sept. 22, 9:30 a.m.
o Coupeville Library, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m.
o Freeland Library, Sept. 22, 5:00 p.m.
o Mukilteo Library, Sept. 23, 10 a.m.
o Marysville Library, Sept. 23, 1 p.m.
o Snohomish Library, Sept. 23, 3:30 p.m.
o Arlington Library, Sept. 26, 10:30 a.m.
o Sultan Library, Sept. 26, 1 p.m.
o Edmonds Library, Sept. 27, 10 a.m.
o Lake Stevens Library, Sept. 29, 10:30 a.m. (This appearance funded by the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library.)
About Sno-Isle Libraries
Sno-Isle Libraries serves 671,000 residents in Snohomish and Island counties. Sno-Isle has community libraries in Arlington, Brier, Camano Island, Clinton, Coupeville, Darrington, Edmonds, Freeland, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Langley, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Oak Harbor, Snohomish, Stanwood, and Sultan, as well as bookmobile stops in communities and at senior centers. Services and materials include more than 1.3 million items, reference services, electronic databases and computer equipment, Internet access, outreach programs for the homebound and local daycares, and story times for children. For more information on library services in your area, please call the Sno-Isle Libraries Service Center at 360-651-7000 or 1-877-SNO-ISLE (1-877-766-4753), or visit the website at www.sno-isle.org.