H:EART is an initiative with the goal of encouraging people to not only read, but read together. In fact, H:EART stands for Hagerstown: Every Age Reads Together.  Of course, we want EVERYONE to read together, but this initiative focuses specifically on the Hagerstown and Nettle Creek community.  You’re special, and we think you should be treated that way.

There is definitive research that shows that reading with young children can help determine their academic success later on. That’s what great, but there are other great things about reading together. First, it’s done TOGETHER. There are so many things separate us in modern society. A family of four can be sitting in the same room and doing four separate and unique things. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. But, as important as “alone time” can be, “together time” is important for the development of relationships as well as a broader type of critical thinking.

It seems like common sense, but, as they say, “common sense isn’t all that common anymore.” So, we want to help. And, we’re starting with the Young H:EART program.

The Young H:EART program is geared toward our youngest neighbors (0 years old – preschool age) and their primary caregivers.  Oh wait!  Hold on!  Who is a primary caregiver?  The easiest answer is a child’s parent(s), but a better answer is that person that is responsible for the health and well-being of a child at any given time.  It could be a parent, but it could also be a grandparent, teacher, babysitter, sibling, nurse, etc.

The Young H:EART program is actually made up of three different components:

  • H:EART for Kids – A parent/caregiver training program to give them the tools to be confident and effective as their child(ren)’s first teacher(s) including aspects of Every Child Ready to Read, a program by the American Library Association.  Sessions will be offered in a variety of formats including in person, online, and in take-home kits.  All adults who participate in this aspect of the Young H:EART program will receive a copy of Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook 7th Edition.  This book is one of the most definitive resources for reading aloud with your child(ren).  It provides explanation of myriad research that’s been done on this topic over the past 30 years and also includes an extensive Read Aloud Treasury that includes several annotated book lists.
  • 1000 Books Before Kindergarten – A special take-home program for children, 0 – 3 yrs (at registration) and their primary caregivers.  Parents who attend or participate in both a “H:EART for Kids” Introductory meeting (please check the library calendar for dates) and 1 “H:EART for Kids” Caregiver Session will be eligible to enroll their child(ren) in this program.  Enrolled children will receive a special book backpack as well as a journal to record those books that they’ve been read.  At each 100 book milestone, the child will receive a prize and get their picture taken for their journal.  When a child reaches their goal of 1000 books, they will be invited to a special event where they will be honored.
  • Mother Goose on the Loose – An energetic, weekly program in the library for young children and their primary caregivers utilizing the repetition and rhythm of time-honored nursery rhymes and children’s music to develop pre-literacy skills and establish learning as a fun and rewarding.  You can register you child(ren) here.  Please be aware that one caregiver may accompany no more than two children.
  • Book Buddies – “Book Buddies is a program, provided by Birth-to-Five, Inc., for children ages 3 years to kindergarten entry accompanied by a parent or another adult. The one hour session is planned around a new theme each month. A story is read to the children and they receive that book FREE to take home. The children also create a craft, play a game, make a snack and move to music all planned around the monthly theme. It is a fun and energetic hour designed to encourage children and their families to appreciate the value of reading. This is also geared towards activities that help gross and fine motor development, social and emotional skill development and practice and also language. There are four locations and multiple times available to meet the demands of families. We will read a story, have a snack, create a craft, and you will get to take home a FREE book!” – from the website.