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Wednesday, June 9 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Cross-pollinating Community Pedagogies in the Early Childhood Sector in New Brunswick

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Differing perceptions of early literacy and the role of the adults in young children’s worlds remain topics of debate in fields related to early childhood.  Recently, the children’s services website Jbrary drew attention to some researchers’ claims that public librarians have “uncritically adopted” Every Child Ready to Read® (ECRR2) in story-time programming (Sooke and McKenzie, 23).  These researchers position ECRR2’s reliance on scientifically based reading research, ignoring other approaches such as sociocultural research, as reducing the role of the children’s librarian to that of agent of school readiness, serving to feed the education system.  Stooke and McKenzie invite counter narratives, so that libraries can, as Krabbenhoft notes in Jbrary, reflect and “reclaim our space as a socially inclusive literacy-based institution.” 

The presenters wish to contribute further to this reflection, from their experience collaborating across public library, childcare, and community outreach programs. Partnerships invite us to explore the points where ECRR2 and the NB Early Years Curriculum Framework overlap, and the claim that these early years frameworks focus exclusively on school readiness. In using ECRR2 as one tool to engage families, are we excluding a broader definition of early literacy, and risking the exclusion of diverse, vulnerable populations? Where do families fit into these counter narratives? Finally, what do we each contribute to community literacy projects as professionals?

Krabbenhoft, L. (2019). Early Literacy Research Is Not Neutral: A Critique of Every Child Ready to Read. Jbrary, Sept. 9, 2019, Retrieved Dec. 10, 2019 from https://jbrary.com/early-literacy-research-is-not-neutral-a-critique-of-every-child-ready-to-read/.
Prendergast, T. (2013). Growing Readers:  A Critical Analysis of Early Literacy Content for Parents on Canadian Public Library Websites. Journal of Library Administration, 53:4, 234-254, Retrieved Dec. 10, 2019 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2013.865389.
Stooke, R.K. & McKenzie, P. J. (2011). Under Our Own Umbrella: Mobilizing Research Evidence for Early Literacy Programs in Public Libraries,” Progressive Librarian #36/37, 15-29, Retrieved Dec. 10, 2019 from http://www.progressivelibrariansguild.org/PL/PL36_37/015.pdf.


Heather McKend

Head of Children's Services, Saint John Free Public Library
Heather McKend has worked as a Children’s Librarian since 2007, and explores opportunities to design and deliver early-childhood and family literacy programs with other professionals and community groups in libraries and outreach settings. She shares her love of children’s books... Read More →

Cheryl Brown

Community Literacy Worker, Quality Learning New Brunswick
Cheryl Brown has worked in the literacy field for 27 years, for non-profit groups, licensed facilities, public libraries, and the Early Childhood Branch of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.  She works to sidestep barriers to literacy services for vulnerable... Read More →

avatar for Maggie Neilson (She/Her)

Maggie Neilson (She/Her)

Academic Librarian, Vaughan Memorial Library, Acadia University
Maggie Neilson (she/her) is an Academic Librarian at Acadia University and Coordinator of EDI initiatives, supports, and resources in the Vaughan Memorial Library.

Wednesday June 9, 2021 11:00am - 12:00pm ADT
Stream: McIntosh