Library staff work to build early literacy skills while easing at home schooling pressures

Library staff work to build early literacy skills while easing at home schooling pressures

by Freya Lucas

September 01, 2021

Staff from Victoria’s Eastern Regional Library (ERL) have developed a novel educational program to help children to build early literacy skills, while easing the demands of home-schooling on parents as COVID-19 pressures continue to mount. 


Employees at Realm and Croydon libraries have been busy preparing and sending out activity packs for various age groups in Maroondah, including Toddler (one to three years), Preschool (four to six years), Early Primary (six to eight years) and Primary (nine to twelve years). The fun packs feature a combination of colouring sheets, cut-outs and activities designed to improve and encourage literacy skills.


The ERL program was first introduced in 2020 during lengthy periods of lockdown, with more than 2,000 packs delivered to families. In recent months, with extended lockdowns announced, the program has been reintroduced and is again providing an invaluable service.


Sue Wootton, ERL’s executive officer of children’s services, said the benefits to both parents and children alike may be evident “for years to come”.


“One major goal of these activity packs is to encourage contact with parents, so we can help them continue to build literacy skills in their children,” she said.


“The children, of course, love nothing more than receiving something in the mail. So, they’ve been really well-received and putting big smiles on many faces.”


Maroondah Mayor Kylie Spears agreed, saying it was important to keep parents and children engaged.


“It’s obviously really tough on parents at the moment, so anything we can do to keep children interested in reading is going to help in the long-term,” she said.


The activity packs complement another important initiative which local libraries run, called the ‘1,000 Books before School’ program. This draws from research that shows the benefits of new parents reading regularly to their children.


To request for a pack to be delivered via mail, visit the Eastern Regional Libraries website.