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Ellinwood Library event promotes literacy through fun
ell kl games
Tate Martin particpates in the Bucket Catch Game at the Ellinwood School/Community Library. The library provided reading tips to parents, including reading together with children in the evening as an important part of the bedtime ritual. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

ELLINWOOD — Building on a theme of reading fluency for preschoolers and kindergarteners through books, interactive games and on the computer, the Ellinwood School Community Library held a “Furry Friends” party showcasing the many programs the library has in place to achieve that goal. Last Saturday, the event included were Alpha Bags, AWE computer, Books for Babies, Tumblebooks, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
“We’re trying to make a focus toward early childhood literacy,” said Librarian Sharon Sturgis. “The more you encourage early childhood literacy, the better prepared the kids are for school success.
“We did have a nice turnout,” said Sturgis. “We’ve had phone calls this morning (Monday).”

AWE Computer
The library has purchased an AWE computer which is a computer designed for early childhood, funded through the state of Kansas Library, Central Kansas Library System, and the Ellinwood Public Education and Library Foundation.
“It has 60 software programs designed for kids ages 2-8,” said Sturgis.  It has “everything from letter recognition to states of the union.”
Sturgis said that the computer was designed for children to use on their own, but the younger kids in that age group may need assistance from a parent. She is hoping for additional funding to purchase more AWE computers.
With no internet access, there is no chance of the child wandering into sites where they should not be.

Alpha Bags
The Alpha Bags are a new initiative at the Ellinwood Library that allows children to checkout bags of books and activities focused on the letters of the alphabet. Each backpack has one letter around which all of the books and games revolve.
“They went out like hot cakes,” said Sturgis. Teachers are also using the backpacks at school. The bags are funded through the Ellinwood Public Education and Library Foundation and the Daulton Doll Memorial.

Books for Babies
 The library has launched its new Books for Babies program, which introduces parents of newborn babies to the importance of early literacy activities in the home.
The program provides a baby with the child’s very first book, a board book, as well as other gifts. Ellinwood parents can register for this program. Sharing age appropriate books with an infant helps them to look, point, touch, and think, promoting learning and social skills.

Tumblebooks for Kids
Tumblebooks is a free, fun interactive way of reading books on-line at no cost to any child in the state of Kansas.
“It’s great,” said Sturgis. “There’s great literature on this website.”
     It features outstanding children’s authors and titles. Children can read along and engage in the animations and learning activities. The website is No software is required.
Dolly Parton
 Imagination Library
Every child enrolled in this program will receive a free hardback book every month until their fifth birthday. Dolly Parton created her Imagination Library to guarantee access to books and to inspire parents to read to their children. Families must live in the Ellinwood zip code area to be eligible for this program. This program is funded through the Ellinwood Public Education and Library Foundation and the United Way of Central Kansas and was begun in 2012.

Story Hour
Children ages 3, 4, and 5 are invited to join Story Hour this fall, a fun library activity that focuses on books, and learning activities for preschool children. Parents may enroll their child for either Thursday or Friday mornings, 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. The program begins Oct. 10.