My First Books: Migrant Seasonal Headstart Program

My First Books Migrant Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) Program targets children from birth to kindergarten who are enrolled at a Migrant Seasonal Head Start center. The program provides a bilingual book a month for three months for each participating child. MSHS parents also receive a monthly newsletter, “The Bookworm,” which suggests tips and strategies to support early literacy skills at home.

In addition to providing children with books, a goal of all Read to Me programs is to encourage contact between participating families and librarians to promote local library services.

Applications are due on April 15

THE APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN 2020 IS NOW ELECTRONIC: Apply HERE

Please review the program requirements below. Only publicly-funded libraries may apply, and each library must have a Migrant Seasonal Head Start community partner who agrees to participate fully in the program for at least three months during May – September.

MSHS Program Description

Program Requirements

  1. Participating children increase their access to books by starting a home library.
  2. More underserved families have library cards and use the public library.
  3. Participating children increase early literacy skills.
  4. Parents of participating children increase their knowledge about early literacy.
  5. Parents of participating children increase home literacy activities.
  6. Libraries strengthen community partnerships.
  • Books should go to the same children every month if possible.
  • We have provided titles for three monthly distributions, to be scheduled during the months of May through September. (You are welcome to do storytimes for more than three months, but we are only providing books for three distributions for this pilot year.) You and your center staff can determine the months and specific dates for your visits.
  • All children in the classroom (school, daycare or preschool) must be included in the monthly distributions, rather than just a subset of identified children.
  • Every child receives the Featured Book and a parent newsletter, The Bookworm, to take home. The two age groups for the My First Books program are:
    • Birth to age two (board books), babies and toddlers up to 35 months
    • Preschool, ages 3 to 5, who have not yet entered kindergarten

Bookworms are one-sided and contain a small piece of background information about early literacy, tips to develop skills at home, the featured book, and a song, rhyme or fingerplay. They are English on one side and Spanish on the other. Translation is, for the most part, literal. Some songs or rhymes may be translated contextually. You may use these Bookworms for purposes other than this program, such as in your storytimes at the library or to hand out to patrons.

  • Monthly book distribution and storytime/book activity is by library staff (paid or volunteer), face-to-face with children (no mailing of books or leaving them at a center or classroom to be delivered later). The distribution should contain an educational component; you are encouraged to read the book and do a simple activity related to the early literacy skill or theme of the book. Please leave a book and Bookworm for each child that is absent.
  • Only the designated titles may be given to the designated age group during the designated month. If you are short on books, please contact us immediately. We can usually have books shipped to you within two days.
  • Our goal is to provide books that have both English and Spanish text (bilingual). However, we choose quality over bilingual availability, so for titles that are not available in a bilingual version we have provided a document containing a Spanish translation. Please print this out for each family, or send the file to your center staff to print out, and attach to the Bookworms. This document can ONLY be used for this purpose within this program. Please do not share this document with anyone other than center staff, or use it for any other purpose.
  • Sometimes your participant numbers fluctuate. Please let us know if you have too many or not enough books.
  • In our school year My First Books program each library site must provide one workshop for parents of participating children or one family literacy event held for My First Books families that focuses on early literacy skills. We know this is somewhat challenging for MSHS families, so if you can work with the center director to offer some sort of early literacy event we encourage you to do so. However, this component is not required for MSHS.
  • Distribute and collect the “MSHS Provider Survey” after the last distribution (enclosed in first shipment of books). Note: Because of language and situational barriers we have chosen not to survey the parents, only the center staff. One survey from each center is required; however, if more than one person from the center wishes to fill out a report please feel free to make copies and encourage them to send those in.
  • Submit a Final Report and provider surveys by October 15, 2020. Report link is at: TBD

MSHS Program Resources

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer

Jennifer Redford

Youth Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4147
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