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Posted on: March 1, 2022

Local donor partners with library to establish early literacy program

Two women sitting in library children's section holding children's books

PHOTO #1: A local resident, Marylouise Allen, recently donated $3,000 toward the creation of an early literacy program at the Victoria Public Library. Shown from left are youth programs supervisor Noelle Elkins and Marylouise Allen.

A resident wants to honor the teacher who laid the foundation for her daughter’s academic success by giving other children the chance to experience the benefits of early literacy.

The library recently received a $3,000 donation to create a “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program. This national program encourages parents and caregivers to read 1,000 books to their children before kindergarten.

A head start on reading

The donation was made by a local woman, Marylouise Allen, in memory of her daughter’s first-grade teacher, Eula Casmore. Allen says Casmore prepared her daughter for a successful academic career by encouraging her to read difficult books such as the “Harry Potter” series. Allen’s daughter, now 26, is an honors graduate of St. Joseph High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Baylor University.

The 1,000 Books Foundation confirms that early reading skills are linked with future academic success. The foundation’s website also states that children’s early years (0-5) are a critical time for caregivers to foster their children’s future literacy by reading them books.

How to participate

Sample reading log for 1000 Books Before KindergartenPHOTO #2: Caregivers can place stickers on a log provided by the Victoria Public Library to keep track of books that have been read to their child.

The “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program will work similarly to the library’s summer reading program, said Noelle Elkins, youth programs supervisor at the Victoria Public Library. Families will receive reading logs that they can use to mark off each book that they or someone else reads to their children.

The donation will be used to provide starter kits, incentives and activity sheets for the program. Allen has expressed interest in continuing to provide funds for the program.

The library will provide families with starter kits during the summer reading program. The “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program will formally launch in the fall.

Although the program is aimed at young children who haven’t started kindergarten yet, Elkins said older children are welcome to participate.

“We want children to keep coming to the library as they get older,” Elkins said. “We hope children will be encouraged to read if more people in their homes are reading.”

Join us for storytime

The library hosts weekly storytime events for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to meet each age group’s developmental needs. For a schedule of library events, visit www.victoriatx.gov/library

Storytimes can also be viewed on TV15 (channels 15 and 115 or online at www.victoriatx.gov/tv15) at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily and on the library’s Facebook page.

To make a donation to the Victoria Public Library, call 361-485-3301 or email vpl@victoriatx.gov

Download reading logs

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