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Itís important to know how to read. And studies have shown us that itís important to start early. Encouraging preschoolers to read starts by making reading fun and interesting; by instilling a love for books and the stories they tell.

For children enrolled in the Athens 3 classroom of Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. this love for books is encouraged by one of their classroom visitors. Each month, Miss Jess White, a Youth Services Librarian with Spaulding Memorial Library in Athens, arrives armed with some of her favorite books. When she visits she usually reads two, maybe three books, to the class. After the reading, and to help reinforce the stories, the children complete a craft related to the books.

As a parent or caregiver of a child, there are also things you can do to help get your preschooler off to a good start:

1.    Use books to bond with the child. Make it a special time for you and the child.

2.    Get to know the library and the librarian. Visit as often as you can.

3.    Talk about the pictures in the story. Pictures are the main characters to early readers.

4.    Set a good example by reading for your own pleasure.

5.    When reading to a child, read with expression Ė breathe life into the story!

6.    Point to the words as you read. This will build word recognition.

7.    Read books that interest your child but also introduce them to something new.

8.    Read wherever you may be! Read signs, menus, and other everyday items.

Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. would like to thank Spaulding Memorial Library for reaching out to our preschool classrooms; for giving them a chance to experience what story time at the library is like; and for encouraging a love of reading in our young children.

Photo Caption:       Miss Jess White, Youth Services Librarian from Spaulding Memorial Library in Athens, with Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. children enrolled in the Athens 3 classroom.