Families in the Greater Lansing area will celebrate the joy of reading with the “Share A Story” Literacy Celebration Event on Saturday, September 24, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Library of Michigan and Michigan Historical Center. The free event will feature appearances by storybook and television characters including Tacky the Penguin, Yoko, Froggy and Leona from Between the Lions. Plus storytelling and a live performance by WKAR/PBS-TVs “My Bedbugs.” In addition, families will find hands-on activities and resources they can use to build
literacy skills in their young children.
     The free event kicks off two weeks of Share A Story events throughout the Greater Lansing area. Costumed characters will visit local libraries, family resource centers, and early childhood programs. Families can pick up a calendar of events at the Celebration Event or visit to find a Share A Story event near them. The free events will also include
storytelling, visits with characters, and ideas families can use to promote reading and writing with their children.
     This annual event is sponsored by the Early Childhood Literacy Coalition, which includes many of the area’s leading literacy, education and early childhood     agencies.
     “All the research shows that when families read to their children and offer lots of experiences with books, children do better in school,” says Beany Tomber, Ready-to-Learn coordinator for WKAR-TV and founder of the Coalition. “So libraries, preschools, family resource centers and other early childhood
advocates have joined together to find ways to enrich children’s lives and build excitement for reading.”

Who: Early Childhood Literacy Coalition agencies & partners
What: Share a Story Events
Where: Kickoff Celebration – Library of Michigan and Michigan Historical Center
When: Saturday, September 24, 2005, 10:00 am -2:00 pm
Other Events: September 25 – October 8. Visit for complete

Early Childhood Literacy Coalition Fact Sheet

The Early Childhood Literacy Coalition is a volunteer committee comprising many of the greater Lansing area’s leading literacy, education and early childhood agencies. The group gathers regularly to network, share resources and discuss ways to promote literacy among Michigan’s youngest citizens and their families.

Beginnings:    The first meeting of the Coalition was held in May 2000.

Leadership:    The Coalition was the brainchild of Beany Tomber, Ready to Learn
Coordinator for WKAR-TV; Kathy Johnson, Capital Area District Library; and Jan
Bernath, Ingham Intermediate School District. Ms. Tomber continues to facilitate
discussions, but Coalition members work as a team to disseminate information, research best practices, share information and coordinate events.

Meetings:    Meetings are held at the East Lansing Public Library quarterly
with additional meetings scheduled as needed to promote special events.

Projects:    In 2000-2001, a Coalition subcommittee worked with the Ingham Intermediate School District to develop PLaY (Playful Literacy and You!), an
assessment and curriculum tool for early childhood providers to help them develop early literacy skills in young children.

Events:    The Coalition hosted its first Literacy Activity Week in March 2002. The annual kickoff celebration (now held in September) is a free statewide event at the Library of Michigan and the Michigan Historical Center. Families with young children (birth through 8) gather to hear storytellers, visit with favorite storybook and television characters, gather information and find resources and activities they can use at home to promote literacy in their young children.
     The kickoff is followed by two weeks of similar free events sponsored by neighborhood libraries, preschools, childcare centers
and family resource centers in the area. Families experience fun activities, read books, and meet favorite book and television friends. They come away with ideas and tools they can use to build excitement and skills for literacy.

Why family?    Research shows that when it comes to early literacy and success in school, families matter. And what they do- read, talk, listen, play, hug, share and explore- matters more than how much schooling they’ve had or how much money they earn.

Why early literacy matters:

– Early childhood educators have shown that early literacy experiences (such as looking at picture books or being read to) influence later reading acquisition.

– Cognitive scientists have found that infants in the first
months of life are active, eager learners with a love for language, numbers, and an astonishing ability to make sense of their world.

– Research has shown that 85% of learning takes place before the age of 5, while 95% of formal instruction occurs after age five.

– Reading 30 minutes a day to a child from birth to age 5 gives a child the equivalent of one additional year of school.

– Social scientists and biomedical scientists, working together, have highlighted  the links between children’s experiences in their homes and communities and their chances for healthy development and successful learning. They show that communities must mobilize and work together to brighten prospects for children.
Why a coalition?
        It’s only when we work together- to pool our resources and our best ideas- that communities will begin to meet the challenge of helping every child read and write well. The Early Childhood Literacy Coalition brings a dynamic team of professionals from all service areas to share information, resources and ideas to help families promote healthy developments and build early literacy skills in children.

Early Children Literacy Coalition Members:
CACS Head Start
Ingham Intermediate School District
Capital Area District Library
LCC Child Development Program
Capital Area Literacy Coalition   
Lansing School District
Capital Area Youth Alliance (CAYA)
Library of Michigan
Child Abuse Prevention Services
MSU/Building Strong Families
Delta Township District Library   
Office for Young Children
DeWitt Public Library       
WKAR/Ready to Learn
Early Childhood Connections   
Wonder years, Ages 0-5
East Lansing Public Library
Ingham County Early On
Ingham County Health Department/Jump Start