This week the Illinois State Library honors the Aurora Public Library. A Burmese family enrolled in the Family Literacy program at the library after immigrating to the United States. The father attended with his two-year-old daughter while the mother stayed home with the baby. At first he didn’t play with his daughter at the program, but, as he became comfortable, he showed more interest in parenting and participating in the library services. When he made gains in his English skills, he was able to find employment.
Unfortunately this meant he was unable to continue with the Family Literacy program, so his wife began attending faithfully, bringing both daughters with her. She took copious notes during each parenting session so she could share the information with her husband. Until she could speak English and initiate conversation, she simply greeted her teachers with a smile.
The staff observed her growing dedication to her role as parent and teacher of her girls. The two-year old, shy at first, began to blossom. She became comfortable with her teachers and began repeating everything they said, and quickly learned the names of colors, letters, shapes and classroom items. She became more and more outgoing and interacted with the other toddlers.
Both are now active parents and understand that play builds their girls developmentally and that reading together as a family is a positive experience for all.