Columbia library receives $20,000 grant for childhood literacy

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COLUMBIA —  The Missouri Secretary of State’s office awarded a “Spotlight on Literacy” grant to Daniel Boone Regional Library for an early-childhood literacy program.

DBRL is using the $20,000 grant to teach pre-kindergarten kids about language through music and movement.

Sarah Howard, DBRL youth services manager, said music can be beneficial for young kids trying to grasp language.

“It’s more about the rhymes and the rhythms and the songs to help them get excited about literacy and playing with language,” Howard said. “Music has the beautiful ability to teach kids the different parts of words that they can play with and have fun.”

A U.S. Department of Education study says, “literacy in the richest, fullest sense means learning to communicate not just verbally but nonverbally as well, children respond powerfully to music, dance and the visual arts.”

The program will be available at all four DBRL locations starting in the fall. There will be multiple events geared toward parents and teachers.

“The ones for the families will be hands-on fun with a lot of singing and movement,” Howard said. “For educators we'll be focusing on how you can use it in the classroom.”

Mitzi St. John, DBRL Public Relations Manager, said the program will prepare children for kindergarten classes.

“Communication is more than words; it’s also movement of our body and variations in our voice,” St. John said. “Training parents and caregivers about the importance of music activities as a literacy learning tool will ensure that preschoolers in Boone and Callaway counties are kindergarten-ready.”

Parents and teachers will be able to take home music and movement booklets to practice with kids outside of the library. DBRL will also post instructional videos of the staff singing and dancing to the songs on YouTube for easy access.

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