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Literacy Preparation and Tutoring Programs at Library Supplement Students’ Education

News Editor

Photo courtesy of Dade County Public Library – Leah Bible (tutor) and Tegan Williams (student) work on reading at one of their tutoring sessions in late July. Ms. Bible received high praise from several parents.

While educators in Dade County schools are focused on literacy as the school year begins, the Dade County Public Library is also promoting literacy through the Georgia Public Library Service’s “1,000 Books B4 Kindergarten” program. Additionally, the tutoring program “Time with Teacher” has proven successful this summer and will continue throughout the year.

Lynn Arp, the library’s youth education coordinator, explained that 1,000 Books B4 Kindergarten has been offered for a number of years, but parents can now choose between paper sheets or Beanstack (an online platform used for the summer reading program) to track the amount of books and stories read/listened to by their children.

In addition to kids themselves reading books (such as picture books), other methods count toward the 1,000 goal. Being read to, listening to stories, and listening to audiobooks all count.

Arp reported, “If they can meet this goal, statistics prove that they’re ready for kindergarten. They not only have language skills, but also an attention span because they’ve learned to sit and listen or read. The idea is that you also ask questions and engage them while reading to them or telling a story. This teaches them to respond. All of that works together to set up a good kindergarten experience.”

The library’s story time on Thursdays also supports these goals. Arp said, “It isn’t just to read them a book. It gets them used to coming, sitting, and being quiet. All of that is preparation for the classroom.”

Story time features three to five books each week, which count toward the 1,000 goal.

The program’s brochure encourages parents, “Ask your children open-ended questions, explain to them the meaning of new words, point out familiar objects in illustrations or that are talked about in the books your child reads.”

The library offers prizes at certain milestones to help readers stay motivated. A kick-off party is in the works for sometime in September at which each child will receive a stuffed animal “reading buddy.” After every 50 books, kids get to select a prize, and they receive a book upon the completion of all 1,000 books/stories.

Meanwhile, parents are thrilled that Time with Teacher has returned. A small grant funded the program several years ago, and parents continued to inquire about it. The director of our regional library system, Lecia Eubanks, worked hard to secure funding. She met with state representatives, including Mike Cameron.

Mindy Haworth, library manager, told the county and city commissioners, “Mike Cameron found some private funding for our Time with Teacher…We already had 13 students and we’d only been open for a week…he really went to bat for us.”

Josh and Christy Moore told the Sentinel, “Our daughter, Emma, was able to spend some one-on-one tutoring time with Ms. Leah Bible for several sessions and with Ms. Amanda Hisle for one session. The tutoring program has really helped her take her reading challenges head on! She is developing a love of reading after these sessions. Before, we felt like she looked at reading as a task.”

Tutoring is offered for a variety of subjects, and a number of families have signed up this summer to prepare for the school year.

According to the Cherokee Regional Library System, “Within its first 48 hours, the program scheduled over a hundred one-hour sessions across Dade and Walker Counties. The program is available for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade and will continue through the 2023-2024 school year.”

“Cameron said, ‘This is a very important program that allows students from Dade and Walker County to get additional help in areas where they may be deficient, and I applaud the efforts of the library for offering this resource.’”

The one-hour sessions are completely free to all students, regardless of where the student is enrolled. The private funding pays the tutors.

Cambrie Williams said that the program was very beneficial for her daughter, Tegan. “We wanted some help getting her prepared for reading as she’s going into second grade. Ms. Bible was amazing. She asked who Tegan’s teacher is at school so they could connect and work together.” Bible also gave the Williams resources to use at home with Tegan.

Visit to select a library and tutor, some of whom are current teachers and some of whom are retired. Three tutoring sessions can be booked at one time, with up to three sessions taking place in a two-week period.

The library purchased flashcards, grammar and math games, marker boards, and other tools that tutors might find useful when working with students.

Arp added that students sign in at the beginning of each tutoring session to help grow a sense of ownership and responsibility for their education and success.

Marsha Lynch said that her daughter, Kaitlyn, who is entering fifth grade has learning disabilities and does not enjoy school. Lynch said, “We’re using this program to help ease her into the next grade and it’s been wonderful. She loves the teacher. She’s learned multiplication and division within the first three sessions, things she didn’t learn at all last year.”

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