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Libraries, Museums Offer Innovative Summer Programs for Little Learners

Libraries and museums have long offered story hours and other educational programs for their youngest patrons. Now research-based evidence showcasing the importance of learning in the early years has many around the nation offering up all sorts of new experiences this summer, a new study states.

In Richmond, Va., librarians recognizing that only a fraction of students will seek out their services have packaged literacy programs and sent them to local recreation centers, a report released last week by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services in conjunction with the Washington-based Campaign for Grade-Level Reading states. Prior to participation in that program, children will be tested to see what they know, then again at the end of summer to gauge if knowledge has been lost.

Those living in Boston can pretend to ride a school bus at the Countdown to Kindergarten exhibit at the Children's Museum. Children can also learn to load up a backpack, work on sharing strategies, and sample costumes in the dramatic play area, among other activities.

In New York, the Children's Museum of Manhattan has developed an 11-hour curriculum called EatPlayGrow for parents and caregivers to help prevent obesity in children age 6 and under.

Idaho's state library commission developed a virtual story time where parents download e-books and activities in English and Spanish, along with video clips showing how to use finger play, rhymes, and songs to help children with reading.

Know of innovative museum or library offerings in your area? Send them our way.

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