Literacy, SLPs, and librarians

It’s November 2021, and my five and a half year old daughter Riley has had her first Covid-19 vaccine shot! I might cry in relief after she gets the second dose after Thanksgiving. . .I got my booster shot too! There is hope on the horizon.

I haven’t written on this blog in a while, and it’s time I add a post.

We are still visiting our local public libraries, even though I don’t write much about our visits anymore.  Riley is learning a lot in Kindergarten and pointing out numbers on mailboxes (and writing them down) as we walk home from school with our dog, Maximus Twinkle. She’s practicing her letters and wishes she could read like some of her classmates.  (She’ll get there!) We are still wearing our masks and continuing to practice social distancing as much as possible.

We even add sticky note masks to some of our own books at home. . .

The other day, Riley asked why the people on the bus in Last Stop on Market Street didn’t have masks on. . . and I realize she’s definitely a child of the pandemic.

Back in September, I had the pleasure of speaking with Char Boshart, MA, CCC-SLP on the Speech Link podcast (which is available for free audio on the Speech Link podcast or paid video format on I love talking to other speech language pathologists about all of the treasures found in the library!



In the podcast discussion with Char called, The Art of Accessing & Applying Amazing Materials & Activities from the Library, we got to explore how our local public libraries are a goldmine for communication opportunities. They are an endless source of free therapy tools, resources, and activities for the speech & language therapy room – and beyond. Seriously, just search for your local branch and see what wonders await you.  Scroll through upcoming events and happenings near you (online or in person!)


After listening to the podcast of myself (yikes), I am of course thinking about all the things I did not say – but I am so glad I shared – even if it’s just to remind SLP colleagues (and everyone!) . . . that your local public library branch is an essential community resource. Not only do we get invaluable recommendations from librarians (collaborating with other professionals!), we get to meet other people in our neighborhood.  We get to make connections with other humans in our communities. Here is a google document I made — with tons of information that I compiled first for CSHA Convergence in March 2021 and then for Speech Link in September 2021.  Please read it and share it.

Look through the above linked Google slides and get all kinds of information about literacy, libraries and ways to motivate our students to want the superpower of reading and writing.  Feel free to email me or chat with me on Instagram or Twitter. I am no longer on Facebook.

Every chance I get — I try and remind grown ups and children – that they can get free materials from the library. When I shared at CSHA Convergence 2021 in March over Zoom, I was excited to talk about how local public libraries foster literacy skills in speech and language therapy sessions.  Now, like with my discussion on Char’s podcast, I try to talk about how important the local branch is for carryover skills outside the therapy room. How library branches can offer communication opportunities beyond the therapy room and invite students to choose their own tools (they can choose any book they want – or they can join the board game group, or learn to crochet!) to motivate inspiration and learning for the whole family on their own time – for free.

Literacy is a big part of our lives – many people have difficulty reading and writing.  Reading and writing IS printed communication, and is sometimes the only way someone can communicate, as with some Augmentative and Alternative Communication AAC communicators.  Literacy is not an optional area of language – it is an integral part of our existence. Printed text is a huge part of every day life.  Texting is sometimes the only way a person communicates with others.

As a board member of the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California, CLCSC, I get to read so many amazing books – and get to know lots of exceptional librarians. The CLCSC promotes greater interest in children’s literature and encourages excellence in the production and selection of books in that field. I get to check these books out from my local library branch, and I get to read them to my daughter. Then, I sometimes get to share them with my speech students.  If I really like a book that I’ve tried out from the library, I can even buy it from a local independent bookstore.

The CLCSC had its annual Fall Gala, which was virtual again this year, as it was last year. Attendees got to hear from Oge Mora (who wrote and illustrated one of my current favorite books, Saturday) as the keynote speaker! This year, as well as the last two other Galas I’ve been part of, have featured such wonderful award winners and speakers.

Besides recommendations from librarians or organizations like CLCSC – I often find amazing selections from Diverse Books and A Mighty Girl.  When in doubt, you can always ask a librarian!

I’m grateful to be a SLP and a CLCSC member. It’s empowering to help families find their own tools to practice reading and writing at home (practice printed receptive and printed expressive language – in any language that someone is comfortable in). The library gives these tools (in multiple languages) to all of us.

I’m grateful I’ve gotten to take my daughter to every LAPL branch over the years, and I’m grateful for my recent conversation with Char Boshart and all of my speech pathologist and librarian peers. I’m glad I get to be alive during a time when I can experience the National Book Awards and the ASHA Convention through the internet. I feel grateful that I can connect with other interesting people through my smartphone.

You can connect with more people too! You can continue to grow your superpower of reading and writing.  Go get or renew your library card online or person today. It’s never too late to start a new routine of frequenting your local hub of civilization.  Search for the closest local public library branch to your home.  Start there. You’ll be so glad you did.

Thank you, libraries.


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