The Supporting Parents in Early Literacy through Libraries (SPELL) project recently presented findings from its study on effective strategies for developing early literacy messaging and support to low-income families and parents of children from birth to 3 years old. The project included an extensive environmental scan and literature review to find patterns and major trends across disciplines, the results of which are available here.
The next phase of the project included a survey and focus groups of more than 250 families with children from birth to 3 years old in 2 metro and 2 rural communities in Colorado. Topics covered in this phase included use of library services, information-seeking behaviors, and reading activities.
So what did field research have to say? Public libraries are used by people of all income levels, however low-income families made more use of library services, especially the building itself. Low-income families attended library programs for children less frequently than more affluent families, but they reported attending adult programs more frequently. Library staff were considered valuable resources for encouraging reading, while other resources (such as a doctor’s office or church) were consulted for information on raising and educating children. Every survey respondent believed it is important to read to young children. And, three-fourths of the respondents reported reading to their children daily; however, these results varied based on income, number of children at home, and education levels.
Learn more about the results in the study report. A blueprint of best practices based on project findings is also available to help libraries and community partners implement early literacy initiatives.
Want more early literacy information? Check out our Fast Facts, Early Literacy Information on Colorado Public Library Websites, and visit the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy website for extensive resources, practical guides, and real stories from Colorado libraries.
Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st century library.