Written by Jimmie Epling   

Reading Opens New Worlds for a Child! 

By Jimmie Epling

Reading is a fundamental skill every child needs to succeed in the early 21st century world!  There can be no doubt that those who cannot read or who read very poorly are at a disadvantage in our digital age.  Reading is not limited to just books.  That is why the Darlington County Library System is not about just books.  We are about reading in all its forms and join in efforts to encourage children to read!

The Eastern Carolina Pediatric Clinic's Dr. Donte Lewis is a leader in introducing young children to reading and books through participation in the Reach Out and Read program.  Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.  When the call came via our “Welcome Baby Bag” partner First Steps that Dr. Lewis was in search of a cart to help deliver books to the children in the examination rooms, the staff leapt into action.  The Library was happy to deliver on April 13th a colorful book cart with a literature rack for the staff to use to deliver books to the children visiting the clinic.  The Library and Darlington County First Steps know that reading opens new worlds for a child and are thrilled to help Dr. Lewis and Eastern Carolina Pediatrics in their Reach Out and Read early literacy initiative.

The Library, First Steps, and Carolina Pines Hospital have been partners for over two years in the “Welcome Baby Bag” initiative.  The mother of each child born at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center receives a colorful “Welcome Baby Bag” filled with information on child care, a growth chart, baby board books, a library card application, baby wipes and other baby supplies before leaving the hospital.  It is never too early to start reading to a child.  The “Welcome” bag is our gift to each child in the hope that it will spur that all important first step on a journey of life-long reading.  A child who can read can change the world. 

Head Starts from across the county converged on Byerly Park in Hartsville for a celebration of the Week of the Young Child on April 15th.  Hundreds of three and four years old, with their teachers and family members, spent a fun and educational morning at the park.  All four of the Library children’s librarians, Liz Davis (Darlington), Michelle Wallace (Lamar), Lori Strickland (Hartsville), and Diana Williamson (Society Hill) were invited to be part of the opening ceremony.  They began with interactive songs, such as the “Tooty Ta” (if you don’t know what it is, check it out on our website at www.darlington-lib.org under “For Children” for the lyrics), and promoted the upcoming sports themed Summer Reading Program.  During the morning, they distributed information on our current programs the summer reading program, bottled water, and temporary “READ” tattoos to the children.  Some of the children even got to play a bean bag toss game.  The field day event brought a unique experience to the world of many of the children who were there.   

The Darlington Branch of the Library will host a Read-a-thon Day on Saturday, May 21st.  ​The second annual National Read-a-thon Day is an effort to help young children and their families discover the joy of reading by listening to volunteers read their favorite children’s picture book.  The Read-a-thon starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.  If you would like to be a volunteer, contact Children’s Librarian Liz Davis at the Darlington Branch.  The Read-a-thon is free and open to everyone of all ages who want to listen to great stories.  Drop by any time during the day to sample a world of stories available for children at the Library.  

Once again the Library will be sponsoring a summer reading program.  Educators recognize that the reading skills of children who do not continue to read during the summer break will slip in what is called the “Summer Slide.”  Our summer reading program “Ready, Set, Read!” is our way of helping educators and parents keep their child’s reading skills honed during the summer months.  The summer reading program will focus on everything sports related with special programs and prizes for participants.  Registration begins on May 23rd.  The kickoff program is a high energy retelling of “the Epic Race” between the tortoise and the hare by the theater group Pork Chop Productions.  It will be performed at all four locations on June 7th or 8th (check your local branch’s summer reading program listing for dates and times).  This program and the others are free and open to everyone.  And by the way, all four locations of the Library, in cooperation with the Darlington County School District, will be “Accelerated Reader” (AR) test sites again this summer.  Discover the world of sports and reading this summer at the Library  

The goal of the Darlington County Library System is to open new worlds for a child through reading.  We are always looking for volunteers, partners, and sponsors for our programs designed to encourage children to read.  If you would like to help with any of the programs mentioned above or have an idea for a program that will expand a child’s world through reading, let us know!

April 18, 2916

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 July 2016 )