By Deidre Hicks

Early literacy – what a child knows about reading and writing before they can actually read or write – is integral to kindergarten readiness. It’s been proven that when babies, toddlers and preschoolers are exposed to not only books, but music, sounds and letters their chances for success in school increases.

Parents, when the older kids go back to school, bring the little ones to the library to learn. Mandarin and South Mandarin Branch libraries offer many programs that promote learning at an early age.

Stories for Young Children

If you have or care for children from birth to five years old, come to the Stories for Young Children program. It includes stories, books, fingerplays, nursery rhymes, and songs that promote language development, vocabulary building, and comprehension. This fun and interactive program is at Mandarin Branch Library every Monday and Thursday at 10:15 a.m. and at South Mandarin Branch Library every Friday at 10:15 a.m., with a repeat session at 11:15 a.m. The bilingual English/Spanish session at South Mandarin resumes and will be Tuesday Aug. 2, 9 and 30 at 10:30 a.m.

Toddler Music and Movement

Come move to the music Saturday, Aug. 6 and 13 at 10:30 a.m. at South Mandarin Branch Library at Toddler Music and Movement for children aged 18 months to three years with an adult caregiver. It includes songs, stories, and instruments that promote basic musical concepts and terminology while incorporating pre-literacy skills for reading and writing.

Early Learning at Home

Because you are your child’s first teacher, the library also provides the resources to help caregivers provide early learning at home. Through the Traveling Tales program, customers can borrow kits that encourage reading readiness and language skills for children aged two to five. The kit contains books, puppets, songs, craft ideas, snack recipes, a music CD, a DVD, and a flannel board story all related to a theme. Other early literacy information can be found at

For Kids and Teens

Teens can share their talents and be part of the newly reestablished Teen Advisory Board (TAB) at Mandarin Branch Library. Middle and high school students ages 12 – 18 are invited to participate and share ideas for future programs and activities. Plus, it’s a great way to complete a school’s requirement for volunteer credit hours. TAB meets Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at Mandarin Branch Library. The South Mandarin Branch Library TAB meets Thursday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. And if you love chess and want to get better, come practice your skills at South Mandarin Branch Library’s Chess Club on Aug. 27 at 11 a.m.

Find information about additional upcoming events at Mandarin and South Mandarin branch libraries at Call Mandarin Branch Library at (904) 262-5201 or South Mandarin Branch Library at (904) 288-6385. To learn more about the Friends of the South Mandarin Library, contact Ed Zoller at

Deidre Hicks is with the Jacksonville Public Library

Photo courtesy Jacksonville Public Library

Learning to read comes before reading to learn. The library helps with that.


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