Bay County Libraries Begin Early Childhood Language Development Program

The Bay County Library System is implementing a new program to help increase children’s early language development.

LENA is a national nonprofit agency dedicated to helping accelerating language development in children from birth to age three, to improve their cognitive, social and emotional health, as well as close opportunity gaps.

Funded by a CARE grant awarded by Hemlock Semiconductor through the Bay Area Community Foundation, the library system will provide free interactive talk and learning sessions between parents and children that pair with LENA’s patented “talk pedometer,” measuring a child’s language environment. The program will increase early language development in infants and toddlers, improving literacy proficiency in the Great Lakes Bay Region and help families build closer bonds through increased verbal interactions.

“Nothing like this has been done in our region. As an area that bridges the gap between rural and small urban areas, we will be able to reach several populations that have been traditionally underserved,” said Danielle DiAmico, children’s librarian at Sage Branch Library. “It’s wonderful to be able to build school readiness and strengthen families at the same time.”

Around 120 families will be served by the program over the next two years.