Books for Babies
Quality children’s books are supplied to local pediatricians and health clinics (Dr. Betty Curry, Shoreline Medical, Port St. Joe; Dr. Robert Head, Sacred Heart Clinic, Apalachicola; and Sheila Allen, ARNP, Eastpoint Medical Center)
Books are given out at birth and successive well-checks with reminders about the intellectual and emotional needs of babies and young children, and with an emphasis on Reading Aloud to Children from Birth. Hearing this message from a doctor or nurse, the professional expert on one’s child’s health, adds great impact to the message. To carry the message home, a large, colorful postcard, summarizing the importance of Reading Aloud for a child’s brain development, is given to each family.
BMAB Franklin, in partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, provides an excellent, multi-cultured child development manual which is in turn distributed by the child’s health care provider to each patient’s family.
BMAB Franklin in partnership with the Franklin Correctional Institution has provided forty five open-faced bookcases throughout the county at settings that serve children including all Pre-K’s, Kindergartens, Early Head Start, Head Start, School Health Clinic, Health Department, Doctor’s offices, Sacred Heart Hospital and Weems Hospital waiting rooms, and prisons’ visiting areas. BMAB Franklin supplied the construction design and materials while the inmates built the bookcases in the prison workshop.
Bookcases are stocked with quality children’s books featuring multi-cultural themes, and beautiful, captivating illustrations. Books are carefully chosen to support the children’s intellectual, emotional, and life value development and to create an appreciation of the wonder of life and its diversity. Books are substantial in construction being primarily hard cover and board books.
Parent/Family Education Events
BMAB Franklin partners with the Franklin County Consolidated School, the ABC (Charter) School, Early Head Start, Head Start, area day care centers, The Nest (after school program) and Project Impact (after school) to provide parent education programs.
The programs are created and planned around a particular theme (e.g. the Ocean, Thanksgiving, Dr. Seuss). Quality books are chosen related to the theme. Recognizing the interplay of experiences with reading, art and music, a rich tapestry of learning is created around the theme.
In the weeks preceding the program at the Franklin County Consolidated School, BMAB Music Director, Pat Valone Harrington, with her portable keyboard, teaches songs to the children. While parents are engaged with our education program, BMAB volunteer readers visit the classrooms to Read Aloud to the class and give each child their own gift book related to the program theme for building their family library.
The highlight of the program features the children performing songs or a brief skit to the delight of the parents and family. Refreshments or lunch is usually served.
Each year (2010-2013) the Pre-K program has been enriched in partnership with the Apalachicola Museum of Art with the program theme relating to a major museum exhibit (e.g., “Ocean Splendor: Hurrah for Fish”)
These expanded programs include the opportunity for the school children to visit the Museum exhibit during the school day.
BMAB volunteers visit Pre-K classrooms to provide Read Alouds on a regular basis. Plans are being made to extend regular Read Alouds to the Early Head Start, Head Start and other day care settings.
Second Grade Program: I Know I Can
BMAB Franklin recognizes that second grade is a critical year for developing reading proficiency. With this awareness, BMAB Franklin partners with the second grades in both the Franklin Consolidated School and ABC (Charter) School with a program focused on inspiring second grade children to discover their personal resources and talents and develop their belief that they can do what it takes to go to college.
This project is based on the children’s story and workbook, “I Know I Can” written by Andrea Dunn of Columbus, Ohio.
The children present a play for their parents and families, underlining their belief in themselves.
Read Aloud Readers
BMAB Franklin recognizes that parents and caregivers have many demands on their time and energy. In addition, many of the parents and caregivers do not have reading skills.
With this in mind BMAB also trains older children, typically 5th graders to become Read Aloud Readers for the Pre-K and K children. The fact that young children “look up” to older children as role models adds special meaning to the Read Alouds. The program offers the added benefit of increasing the fluency and adding to the self-esteem of the older children.
BMAB Franklin trainers do the initial training after which the school or agency coordinates and directs the ongoing program. Read Aloud Reader programs are currently active at the ABC (Charter) School in Apalachicola and the Nest (after school program) in both Eastpoint and Carrabelle.
Read Aloud Readers log their reading time and are given BMAB tee-shirts and business cards at important service milestones.
In 2010, Carol Barfield of the Franklin County Library’s TIGERS/KITS program carried out an innovative program training older children to read to their younger siblings and their young friends.
There is a small Hispanic community in Franklin County. BMAB Franklin is working to find ways to reach this community. First steps have been made through the Catholic Church where quality children’s books were given out and parents were given the message of the importance of spending time with their children with books. Many of the members of the Hispanic Community do not read or speak English or Spanish. BMAB Franklin emphasizes the value of enjoying the illustrations together which fosters an interest and desire to learn to read.
Training Adult Volunteers
BMAB Franklin trains adults to become trainers for parents and older children. Training sessions include the development of the knowledge base about the importance of Reading Aloud to children from birth and skills to impart that knowledge and enthusiasm to others through the use of brief talks, videos and experiential exercises.