A family event from a collaboration of area libraries will help put children on the road to early literary success.

The Livingston Early Literacy Collaborative is holding Family Fun Day: Celebrate Reading at Parker Middle School in Howell on Saturday, March 10th. From 11am until 12:30pm, parents and children 0 to 5 will be entertained and can participate in activities that will highlight core practices for early literacy success. The Merry Music Maker will put on a concert at 11:30, and storybook characters Elephant & Piggie and Pete the Cat will be roaming around for photo opportunities.

Several activities to enhance motor skills, hand-eye coordination, alphabet recognition, and more will be available for kids to participate in. There will be free books and activity bags to help parents continue to lay the foundation for reading success at home.

Carla Sharp, Head of Youth Services for the Brighton District Library, shared that national test results indicate that 2/3 of Michigan’s 3rd graders have failed to demonstrate 3rd grade reading proficiency on standardized testing. She said that Michigan is in the bottom 10 of states, and while other states that have been low have risen, Michigan is not. A new law is in place this year that requires 3rd graders to be at 3rd grade reading proficiency or they will be held back.

The Collaborative, made up of all 6 county libraries, Child Connect for Family Success, Great Start Livingston, LESA Early Childhood, and MSU Extension, believes that improving pre-reading skills prior to kindergarten is the key to reversing Michigan’s trend. Sharp said the skills kids learn before the formal reading process are almost more important than learning to read itself. Thus, the Collaborative is focused on engaging parents in developing their children’s early literacy skills through information, awareness, outreach, and play-based instructional experiences. (MK)