The St. Louis County Library system has an exciting new program — 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. Studies show that children who have been read to since birth have an edge when it comes time to learn to read. Why? Because they have stronger language skills and vocabularies than children who have missed out on this experience. Children who participate get prizes at 500 books and the full 1000 books.
- What does this have to do with writing? Think about the many ways that this program could be to your advantage if you write picture books. Ask to host a story time at your local library. Read your books. Read the books of other authors. Simply watching kids react to books is great research for a picture book writer.
- Offer various book related material as prizes. Perhaps you could offer copies of your books or posters of your book cover. Maybe you could even make a coloring page based on your book cover. All of this gets word out about your book.
- Does your church offer a preschool? Offer a post-school story time for the kids and offer to speak to the parents about the importance of reading aloud to literacy.
I hope that you see where I’m going with this. Even if you don’t live in St. Louis county, many libraries and humanities councils have early literacy programs. Look for ways to hook into these programs, educate parents and turn kids on to reading.
It’s a great opportunity to experience your audience first hand.