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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Weekly storytime helps shy Parker boy socialize and build reading skills

​​Chase Nelson started kindergarten with a bigger vocabulary and more self-confidence thanks to the Tuesdays he spent at the library with his mom.

Andrea Nelson credits a weekly storytime and other early literacy activities at the Colorado River Indian Tribes and Parker libraries with helping her shy son socialize with other children while building prereading skills.

“At first he was nervous to participate, but he started opening up more,” Nelson said. “Every time we went he would get a book to take home.”

The family also took home additional tasks to help build vocabulary. The early literacy activities are funded by the First Things First Colorado River Indian Tribes Region to support families by connecting parents of young kids to programs and activities that promote healthy development and school readiness.

The strategy is meant to capitalize on the rapid brain development happening in the first five years. Birth to five is also the time when things like self-esteem and confidence start to take root, making storytime the perfect place to learn how to make new friends.

“It‘s a good opportunity for kids to be around their peers and come out of their comfort zone by singing and participating,” Nelson said.

While Chase attended storytime, Librarian Daris Laffoon provided his baby sister a book to read while lying on her stomach to build muscle tone in a technique informally known as “tummy time.”

Nelson said that now that her daughter is getting older, Chase is having fun introducing his sister to his favorite books. “We’ve read all the books, now he’s going back and reading them with her,” she said.

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