Family Storyteller Program Helps Families Build Literacy

ISU Extension sponsored 'Family Storyteller', an early childhood literacy program.

ISU Extension sponsored ‘Family Storyteller’, an early childhood literacy program.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Building the skill of reading is the primary focus of a weekly gathering of parents and children at the Oskaloosa Public Library in a program called ‘Family Storyteller’. The program is sponsored by the Mahaska County ISU Extension Office.

Natalie Spray, Program Coordinator with Mahaska County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is holding the early literacy program on Tuesdays at the library. The program, in its second week, is scheduled to run for six consecutive Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Spray said, “A child’s literacy and language skills represent the single best indicator for future school success”.

“It’s an early literacy program for parents to do with their children, and I think that’s what unique about it because a lot of the programs offered in the community are specifically for the kids or just for the parents. So it’s nice that there’s an option for them to do together,” Spray said.

Part of the uniqueness of the program was a meal being served during the program. This helps families also spend more time together, giving a chance to further bond and communicate at meal time.

Spray said that being able to offer the program was important to her as well, “If we can’t start with the children, how are we going to manage to fill positions in businesses and industry if our children are not getting early literacy in their homes. So the program is designed so that families can have the tools and books to do the activities and read to their kids at home.

The goals of the program include:

  • To enrich parent/child interaction and the home environment to enhance the language and lifelong learning skills of both parent and child by stimulating verbal interaction, create interest in reading, encourage parent/child reading time, provide opportunities for reading, and provide access to reading materials.
  • To strengthen the relationship between parent and child
  • Help parents to help their child do better in school
  • Increase language skills

Each session families receive:

  •   An opportunity to eat together (5:30-6:00, food has been donated each night by various area businesses)
  • Receive a free book to take home and read together
  • Discuss key parent/child techniques
  • Learn about activities that enhance the value of reading
  • Receive materials for additional activities to do at home

The class is full, but plans for holding the class again are in the works. If you are interested in taking the class with your child, you can contact Natalie Spray at 641.673.5841 or by email to

If your business would be interested in sponsoring the program ‘Family Storyteller’, you may also contact Spray about your desire to help offset the approximate $125.00 cost per family.



Posted by on Mar 20 2013. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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