For more than 16 years, ACPL staff member Betty Ranck has promoted the transformative power of reading. She first became passionate about early literacy after the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children began a national campaign named “Every Child Ready to Read @ your library.” Its main goal was to reach beyond the youngest library patrons to their caregivers. Today, planning programs for children/their families and maintaining the children’s section continue to be major layers of Betty’s position at The Plains Public Library.
“It is very rewarding to show parents how important they are,” Betty said in an interview. “And that there are many simple activities they can do at home to help their child be ready when they enter school.” These activities range from reading aloud together, to writing, and even singing.
After completing trainings about how to educate others on the importance of nurturing pre-reading skills, Betty has been offering hands-on workshops and presentations for community groups and early childhood education classes at both Hocking College and Ohio University. She has also regularly visited area schools as a children’s librarian.
“When I first started visiting the public preschool to read,” she said, “one of the students would call me Miss Betty, and that soon began a tradition with children coming to the library. Years later, I was presenting to a Hocking College class, and I heard a familiar voice saying, ‘Hi, Miss Betty.’ It was the same preschooler from so many years ago who was now studying early childhood education!”
Here are a few of Betty’s “Top Picks” for promoting pre-reading skills with little ones:
Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton: Little Owl falls out of the nest, and Rabbit helps to find Mother Owl. The anxiety is lessened by the variety of animals that Rabbit assumes to be Mother Owl. Children will laugh at Rabbit’s silly suggestions until the real Mother Owl is found.
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard: We have all had days when we just wake up grumpy. That includes young children, and they will relate to this book! Grumpy Bird’s friends want to tag along, and finally, their company helps him feel better.
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.: This book is timeless. Children love the large pictures and are eager to name each animal.