Pittsburgh Ready: Early Literacy, Community and Joy

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Children dancing during a CLP virtual storytime.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Virtual Storytime at Miss Sheree’s Family Home Daycare

 

From 2019-2021, five child care providers across the city of Pittsburgh teamed up with the Library and Quality Coaches from Trying Together to expand early literacy practices. PNC Grow Up Great funding made this collaboration possible. The results, in a nutshell, include joyous relationships, improved learning spaces and new perspectives for everyone involved.

The Library’s Pittsburgh Ready project focused on child care providers with small class enrollment. Four of our five participating child care providers were group child care homes.

The pandemic forced a painful pause in our work. But we pivoted to virtual interactions and found ways forward together.

Each month, the Library visited classrooms for a storytime program. After the visit, every classroom and child received a copy of one of the books that had been shared as a gift. The ability to re-read stories built children’s confidence and interest across the board. One parent shared (jokingly!) that they thought of hiding the book “Jabari Jumps” by Gaia Cornwall because their child wanted to re-read the story so often at home, after hearing it and receiving it in storytime.

A teacher shared that because of Pittsburgh Ready interactions, kids grew a “laser focus” when they saw a grown-up grab a book. The students even built their knowledge of days of the week based on when storytime visits occurred!

All these outcomes might seem small, but they add up to early literacy success. Through Pittsburgh Ready, teachers, librarians and parents teamed up to get kids ready to read!

To learn more about all the books in the Pittsburgh Ready project, click or tap here!

Books on display in a daycare classroom
Gwennypooh’s Daycare displays a mix of Pittsburgh Ready books and classroom books in a bookshelf purchased through the Pittsburgh Ready project

 

A library assistant uses a feltboard during a classroom storytime
Library Assistant Nora uses a feltboard during a Pittsburgh Ready storytime in 2019

 

A teacher holds a laptop displaying a CLP virtual storytime to a group of young children
Child care provider Sheree prepares kids for a virtual visit from Library Assistant Alyssa in 2020

 

Child care providers in the Pittsburgh Ready project also participated in five customized professional development workshops and selected critical furniture, sensory items, and early literacy toys and tools with support from librarians. Quality Coaches from Trying Together helped out in these activities, as they were also working with the providers on additional goals and grants.

In winter 2021, librarians were also able to call parents and caregivers at home, talking to them about their child’s specific early literacy progress and needs. These phone conversations strengthened family engagement — key to getting children ready to read. These conversations allowed librarians to celebrate each family’s successes and offer concierge-like library services and resources for more support. Throughout the professional development and phone calls, the Library was able to provide Visa gift cards to participating teachers and caregivers, to eliminate participation barriers.

The Pittsburgh Ready partnerships allowed child care providers to lead transformations in their child care sites. Children clamored toward the camera to say hello and goodbye to the Library storytime presenters. One child care provider reimagined their space to create different zones. One child used the reading nook as a place to go breathe and pick up a book to calm down when they were frustrated. Not only were books made enjoyable for this child, but also soothing.

Childcare providers, Quality Coaches and Library staff collaborate virtually
Child care providers, Quality Coaches and Library staff collaborate during a Virtual Professional Development Workshop

 

Gwendolyn Craven of Gwennypooh’s Daycare shares “Puppy Truck” by Brian J. Pinkney, a Pittsburgh Ready giveaway book
Child care provider Gwen reads from Pittsburgh Ready giveaway book “Puppy Truck” by Brian Pinkney

 

At its core, Pittsburgh Ready provided a variety of experiences and resources that built relationships among staff, parents, child care providers, Quality Coaches and the children they serve. The project shows that when a whole community invests in early literacy outcomes, children emerge ready to read and succeed.

PNC Grow-Up-Great logo

Want to enjoy the Library’s Storytimes for a Group, as Pittsburgh Ready child care providers did? Contact the Library for the link and password to these special virtual storytimes. All are welcome! 

You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started.  

Looking for a good book, album, movie or TV show? We’re happy to recommend them to you! Use this Personalized Recommendations form to send us some information about what you like and we’ll curate a list just for you.  

If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412.622.3114 or email us at info@carnegielibrary.org. 

Caregivers and children use egg shakers in storytime

CLP is helping young children grow into successful readers

Learn about the Pittsburgh Ready project

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