Mid-Continent Public Library has announced the launch of a new app designed to help caregivers engage in constructive, enriching, and fun literacy activities with their children. Free to download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, MCPL’s Grow A Reader app focuses on developing children’s pre-reading skills so they can become strong readers and lifelong learners.
“Caregivers are their kids’ first teachers, and learning to read starts well before a child is able to pick up a book,” Katie McDonald, MCPL’s Youth Services Manager said. “The Grow A Reader app is an easy tool that families can use to help their kids build a solid early literacy foundation, which we know is especially important as kids begin school and eventually transition from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’”
Through a variety of videos, books, and daily literacy tips, caregivers and their children can use Grow A Reader to work on 10 early literacy skills: singing and rhyming, playing and imagining, writing and creating, talking and listening, and finally, reading and sharing. The app’s user experience can be customized by a child’s age (baby, toddler, or preschool age) and contains content curated by Library staff that is updated regularly. Some content is also available in both English and Spanish.
The Books tab allows users to find suggestions of titles and put Library books on hold to pick up at their local MCPL branch. The Videos tab offers videos of MCPL staff members leading songs, games, and activities that caregivers and children can enjoy and replicate at home to further practice their skills. The final tab, Tips, provides unique ideas of how to support your child’s learning, such as “Reading is Everywhere! Point out print all around you. Street signs, billboards, and grocery stores all have words printed everywhere.”
Grow A Reader users can also access other Library services and resources within the app, including Dial-A-Story, an audio recording of a story time with an MCPL staff member (stories are updated monthly), as well as the list of upcoming MCPL programs for kids that caregivers can register for.
The Grow A Reader app will also soon be home to MCPL’s signature series of children’s books featuring the Library’s mascot, Marty the Martian. Written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Dan Regan, the five books in the series will be released over the coming months, each focusing on a different set of early literacy skills. App users will have first access to the digital version of the books. More information about the series will be shared this spring prior to the release of the first book.
Learn more about MCPL’s early literacy resources, programs, and services at mymcpl.org/Kids.