Love for literacy
Cartwright children enjoying reading program; local library was once slated for closure
A weekly children’s summer reading program at Cartwright’s Public Library is proving to be a tremendous success.
Barbie Mesher enjoys taking her three-year-old daughter, Ava, to the get-togethers.
Mesher has been reading to Ava since birth.
Her child now recognizes letters and is eager to pick up a book, she said.
“I read to Ava every night for 20-30 minutes,” Mesher noted.
Ava’s love of reading is likely passed down from her mother who also developed a love of books at an early age, thanks to her uncle, Tick Pardy.
“Uncle Tick (who has since passed away) would come up to my house and read to me every night. Some of the stories he would read to me was ‘Them Days,’” Mesher said.
While iPads are great tools and there are great apps and programs for kids to use, Mesher said, there is nothing that can replace a book in a child’s hand.
During the school year, Mesher said, she orders books for Ava from Scholastic. Although the child is not old enough for school, the teachers at the school include Mesher’s order when ordering books for their students.
The reading club at the library is also great for children to interact with others their age, Mesher said.
Mesher is delighted with the about face the provincial government did when it announced, in 2016, that over half of the province’s public libraries would close. Cartwright was one of the libraries on the chopping block.
“Newfoundland has one of the worst literacy rates in the country. (The closure of the library) would have been a detriment to our community,” she said.
“We have limited resources here as it is. To take away our library, that would be a big thing for us to lose. We don’t have a big population and (at a reading program get-together) in early July, over 20 kids came out.”
The Canadian Pediatric Society notes that children’s early experiences with books and reading help prepare them for school and set them up for success later in life.
According to the society’s website ( HYPERLINK “http://www. cpa.ca” www.cpa.ca) exposing babies to books and reading increases vocabulary and makes it easier for them to learn to read later on. Early exposure to language — whether through books, words, or songs — can help prevent problems and promote health, the website notes.
Cartwright librarian Hazel Dyson is delighted that so many children and their parents are participating in the summer reading program.
While geared towards children from birth to age 12, Dyson said,
older youth are also encouraged to take part in the program.
A parent/guardian stays with children under 10, she said.
Dyson said studies show that children who don’t read during the summer have to catch up on their reading when they return to school in September.
“There are some lovely books here at the library (for both children and adults) and we do some programs to include games for the little ones, and a few crafts, so that keeps the children interested,” she said.
Older children attending the reading program often spend time on the computers, she said.
“There are programs on the computer where they can read books and the reviews for the recommended reads (for their age group) for the summer. Also, there are activities and games that they can do as well,” she said.
Barbie Mesher’s three-year-old daughter, Ava enjoying a book at the Cartwright Public Library.
Nikki Brown-Dyson and her daughter Carleigh and son Sam during the summer reading program at the Cartwright Public Library.
Group photo of some recent participants in the summer reading club at the Cartwright Public Library.