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Giving First Graders Access To Books And Knowledge


Felix and FionaNothing is more important to young minds than acquiring the ability to read. Dayton Metro Library’s First Club seeks to ensure that all first graders have a library card by November, connecting them to the books and other learning tools they need.

Teachers will distribute library card applications to their first grade students; parents can also visit any Dayton Metro Library to complete a First Club card application. All classes with 100% participation are entered into a drawing to earn a party, and all children who get a First Club library card are entered into a drawing to win one of 75 $10 Books & Co gift cards.

In past school years, 2,600-2,700 first graders have received Dayton Metro Library cards through the campaign (formerly called Right Start). This year there will be approximately 5,000 first graders in the Dayton Metro Library service area.

“First grade is when children really start learning how to read,” said Teresa Gaylard, Children’s Librarian at the Northmont Branch. “They’re learning sight words and building vocabulary and spelling skills. It’s critical that they have access to interesting, age-appropriate reading material at this time in their lives.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, findings show higher-than-average test scores among students who reported more types of reading material available to them at home. Providing access to new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months.

“Families who participate in public library literacy programs such as First Club are much more likely to have children who are successful in school and later in the workforce,” said Tish Wilson, Dayton Metro Library’s Assistant Director of Youth Services. “From puppet shows to art, science and technology experiences, the Library supports and encourages educational success throughout the school years and beyond.”

Dayton Metro Library’s First Club features original illustrated characters Felix and Fiona, who star in a book called The Awesome, Amazing, Wonderful Book of First Grade Firsts. Children’s Librarians will read the book when they visit classrooms to talk about Library cards. A second book in which Felix and Fiona learn to use their Library will be shared in classrooms when the Library cards are distributed.

“For a first grader, getting a library card is like opening a gate to learning,” said Gaylard.

For more information on First Club and other Dayton Metro Library services for children and schools call (937) 463-BOOK.

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