Rochester Library Focuses on Early Literacy

Libraries across the nation are taking an active role in early literacy initiatives.  The Rochester Hills Public Library is committed to becoming a leader in the community, not just a participant.  With free materials, programs, and a professional staff, the library is stepping forward to strengthen the community’s literacy experience.


Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library, a program created by the Public Library Association has provided libraries with research-based information about early literacy and a library’s important role in supporting literacy development.  “Early literacy refers to the important literacy skills children develop before they are able to read and write.  These skills include vocabulary, print awareness and motivation, phonological awareness, letter knowledge and narrative skills,” said Sarah Smith-Conlan the early childhood specialist at the Rochester Hills Public Library. 

The Friends of Rochester Hills Public Library and a grant from the PNC Foundation support early literacy programs and publications available at the library.  The library brings together children, parents and professionals to explore the skills children need to succeed during their school years. 

Every program offered by the youth department supports literacy development.  Storytimes provide staff an opportunity to share information about literacy with parents and caregivers in a small-group environment while children enjoy stories, songs and movement activities.  Adventure Fridays, a program facilitated by RHPL’s early childhood specialist, provide an hour dedicated to play and exploration with special attention given to the six early literacy skills. 

“The library also offers a series of adults-only programs for parents, caregivers and professionals called A Developmental Walk,” said library director Christine Lind Hage.  This series, which includes a full-day conference, focuses on early childhood development.  Parents and professionals learn together to enhance the learning experiences of children in our community. 

Even the youth room has been designed to boost a child’s literacy experience.  Children learn through play so the “Explore Zone” was designed for play with a purpose.  Parents and children play together with puzzles, books, technology, pretend-play props and much more.  Through this play children are learning new vocabulary, and refining motor and communication skills. 

Literacy development doesn’t stop at the age of five, so RHPL continues its literacy focus through the school years.  The Star Reader programs and materials support young readers. The Homework Help materials assist older students in successfully completing school assignments and research.  The library’s website,, is another incredible resource for children and adults of all ages. 

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located at 500 Olde Towne Road in downtown Rochester.  The library is open Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays (during the school year) from

1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Anyone who lives or works in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township is eligible for a free library card.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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