DACONO — The Colorado State Library awarded the Dacono Public Library with a $3,000 grant to promote early childhood literacy.
Head Librarian Amy Bruno said the Dacono Library is just one of many libraries around the state that won the grant.
“Specifically, what I’m going to spend it on is our Spanish/English juvenile books,” Bruno said. “And by ‘juvenile,’ that’s pre-teen books. And then more Spanish board books because we don’t have enough of those; I just bought 10 of those.”
The funds are part of the State Grants to Libraries Act, which, according to the state website, are designated for educational materials in libraries that support or enhance opportunities for early literacy and early learning.
“And there will be more story-time books, picture books, things like that for young kids that specifically increase literacy,” Bruno said. “The reason I’m buying a lot more Spanish books is because we have many people in our community that speak Spanish, and these people need to read to their children just as much as everybody else does.”
Books written in both languages are especially useful for the library, Bruno said.
“When it’s bilingual, more people can learn from it,” Bruno said. “As far as early childhood literacy, Colorado is pretty cutting edge.”
Bruno cites the program “One Book 4 Colorado” as an example of the state’s dedication to getting young learners on the path to literacy.
“This program gives 4-year-olds around the state free books from libraries,” Bruno said. “And the program happens every year and it’s been going on for years now. Last year, the books was ‘Duck on a Bike,’ and I had a bike in here with ducks all over it.”
The state legislature designated $2 million for the grants program in the 2013 session. The state requires that all libraries receiving the grant provide a report for how the money was spent.
“The idea is that if we teach kids from birth to five years old to have everyday interactions with reading, then we create future readers,” Bruno said. “And that’s not just good for libraries, that’s good for everybody. These are kids that are more interested in education. The studies are there that says if you get your kids ready for school, if you start reading to them from birth, they are more successful in school all the way through.”
Bruno said she’s seen this reaction to early reading happen with her own five children who are now honor students.
“For infants and toddlers, language and reading and writing evolve from other skills,” Bruno said. “From 0 to three, there is an enormous opportunity for language, and we want to encourage parents to read to their children.”
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.