Early Literacy Stations (ESLs) are computers designed for children ages 2 through 8 that feature preloaded educational games and resources instead of Internet access. They are available at every branch. The keyboard is colorful, the mouse is child-sized, and the interface is easy to navigate, depending as much on images—smiling faces and arrows—as words, so children at various literacy levels can use them easily.
The stations feature such programs as Homework Help, which gives school-age kids a wide variety of learning resources, including guides for writing book reports and science reports; online reference sources such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, a dictionary and a world atlas; and games to help learn how to type. For the younger set, there are multiple games that teach numbers and letters, and read aloud to children while they follow the words on the screen.
The ESLs are designed to support the Public Library Association’s national Every Child Ready to Read initiative, which Heights Libraries has been following since 2004. Every Child Ready to Read empowers public libraries to assume an essential role in supporting early literacy with curriculum, guidelines and materials that focus on the importance of early literacy activities for children’s later success in learning.