Today marks the first night of free monthly parenting sessions that will be offered at the Hermiston Public Library to encourage early literacy.

Today’s class will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Hermiston Public Library. The classes are a part of a Ready 2 Learn program funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant and managed through the Oregon State Library to teach parents the importance of early literacy and steps to get their child reading.

The classes will feature a number of activities to help with children’s print motivation, letter knowledge and gross motor skills.

“It is a great opportunity for parents to encourage their children to read,” Michelle Munro, an outreach coordinator, said.

Munro said the Ready 2 Learn program also provides a free children’s library card for children ages 5 and younger who live in Umatilla, Union, Baker, Grant and Wallowa counties through a partnership with regional libraries, the InterMountain Education Service District and many others.

Parents can register their child for a free Ready 2 Learn card, which will give them access to a variety of books, movies, music, activities and educational programs through their local library.

With a $25 deposit, registration for the Ready 2 Learn card also opens an Oregon College Savings Plan for the child where each time a child checks out a book or participates in one of the library’s programs, a small cash amount is credited to the child’s college savings account. Other options are also available for families who cannot afford the $25 initial deposit.

Each month a child is enrolled in the Ready 2 Learn program, parents will also receive a newsletter with information about fun and easy learning ideas. The tips will help parents give their children the building blocks of learning needed to make sure they get off to the best start possible, and could prove beneficial when a child takes the new statewide Kindergarten Readiness Assessment prior to starting school.

For more information about the program, contact the Hermiston Public Library at 541-567-2882.

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