As the Igbo and Yoruba proverb recognizes, it takes a village to raise a child.
And at Mott Branch, librarians are creating a village.
The Toledo Lucas County Public Library equips those from all age groups with tools to succeed. A new six-week program at Mott Branch is designed to help parents, caregivers and children alike in preparation for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee testing, a requirement for advancing to the next grade.
Creating a Village provides artistic and enrichment activities for children while the adults build a foundation for helping children succeed with the test.
“We need to be a support system for parents, caregivers and children. Before the test, everyone needs to be in the right frame of mind, body and spirit,” Mott Branch Manager Kim Penn said.
The idea started when Penn and a local school administrator discussed how best to prepare students for the exam. Penn brought the challenge back to her team as librarians are experienced in accessing resources and connecting the community, she said, and Creating a Village was born.
Arts and health
Each session begins with a family meal. Then children’s activities emphasize art enrichment, such as fine art, music, dance and theater to foster creativity. Participants will also receive a one-hour course on nutrition each week. For parents, discussion topics include a mock reading test, healthy bedtime practices and responding to disobedience.
Creating a Village helps establish routines for families and confidence for young students. Building from the premise that test taking is a learned skill, the program aims to improve area test rates. About 12 percent of Toledo Public Schools’ students subjected to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee promotion threshold did not meet the criteria, according to Ohio Department of Education statistics for the 2017-18 school year.
A range of providers
In the spirit of community building, Toledo Public Schools, Ohio State University Extension, Unison Health, Elev8ted Productions and VCG all worked with the Library to develop and support the program. Also joining is motivational speaker Terry Crosby, a 1975 DeVilbiss High School graduate who excelled at basketball and football, who will discuss successful life and learning strategies.
“As a neutral and welcoming space for all, the Library is the perfect resource to support families in this important endeavor,” Penn said.
Creating a Village takes place 5 – 7:30 p.m. on Mondays from Sept. 16 through Oct. 21.
Registration is now open. Those interested can do so online or by calling Mott Branch at 419-259-5230.