Officials at Public Health – Muskegon County accounces a partnership with Hackley Library, Muskegon Area District Libraries and White Lake Community Library to offer story times to preschoolers on Fridays in October at the Public Health Office, 209 E. Apple Ave. in Muskegon.
“At Public Health we realize that health literacy is an important factor for a healthy community. Thirty-eight percent of Muskegon County 3rd graders are not proficient in reading and we know from reliable research that literacy skills are imbedded in a child’s very early years. Promoting early literacy is a natural fit with our WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program, which provides nutritious foods, nutrition education and breastfeeding support to low-income families with pregnant women, infants and children up to age 5,” notes Gwen Williams, Maternal Child Services supervisor at the public health department.
The Great Start Collaborative of Muskegon County convened a work group focusing on early literacy, and this project has come out of that effort. The hope of the Muskegon libraries is that by bringing preschool story time out into the community, they will reach people who otherwise do not come to the library. “We want to make everyone aware of the many services we provide for young children and their families. Sharing the fun of a preschool story time helps us do just that, and hopefully encourages more parents to bring their little ones to the library,” states Virginia DeMumbrum of White Lake Community Library.
Likewise, the Muskegon County WIC program would like to reach a broader group of preschoolers. “Too often families stop getting WIC benefits after children turn one, when they could continue up to the child’s 5th birthday. Those preschoolers who attend story times at their local libraries will be given information about how to apply for WIC as part of this partnership,” indicates Williams.
Public Health story times in October will have a theme of healthy foods.
Story Times are Fridays Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26, 11:15-11:45 a.m., for preschoolers