Lakewood/Smokey Point Library gets first-graders hooked on reading

Lots of local first-graders have been trotting through the Lakewood/Smokey Point Library since Public Library Appreciation Day on April 23.

Lakewood/Smokey Point librarian Laura Henley checks out books for Lakewood School District first-graders who visited on Public Library Appreciation Day, April 23. Photo gallery

Lakewood, English Crossing and Cougar Creek elementary schools in the Lakewood School District worked with Lakewood/Smokey Point Library Manager Kaley Costello and librarian Laura Henley to bring nine first-grade classes to the library over three successive Tuesdays. The final visit is scheduled for May 7.

The students’ one-hour visits have gone well so far.

Costello said 77 new library customers registered as of May 3 with the school visits.

Sno-Isle Libraries and the Lakewood School District have been closely working together to promote literacy and cooperation, Costello said.

“The school district is eager to have a relationship with the library,” she said. “It’s the favorite thing about my job. I really appreciate working with them.”

Lauren Weeks, librarian for Lakewood Middle School and Lakewood High School, “piloted” the Lakewood student visits with a group of middle-schoolers, Costello said. Weeks then shared her knowledge with elementary school librarians Molly Pearson, Ashley Bailey and Stephanie Davis.

Henley and her library colleagues use felt animals to explain proper library behavior, put on a scavenger hunt, help students browse books and send them home with treats, Costello said.

Pearson asked parents to fill out library card applications, so part of the field trip was to give children their first library card.

“Most came home with two books, and they had a wonderful time,” Pearson said.

The school district funded the first-graders’ trip to the library. Pearson hopes to make it an annual tradition.

“I was amazed and pleased to see so many kids who didn’t have library cards receive them today,” Pearson said. “Those kids who are pros already because their families use the public library were happy to show other kids around. One girl even told me that her mother comes to this library to learn English, so there were fantastic connections all around.”