CSL News Lifelong Literacy

One Book 4 Colorado 2016: Bringing books into the homes and hearts of 4-year-olds

This spring, all Colorado 4-year-olds can get a free book!

For the fifth year, One Book 4 Colorado is giving away 75,000 copies of the same book in English or Spanish to every 4-year-old in the state to get more books into the homes of young children and to encourage Colorado families to read together. The book will be available from April 11-25 in all public and military libraries and Denver Preschool Program classrooms.

One Book 4 Colorado is a collaboration of Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia’s Office, the Colorado State Library, Serve Colorado, the Denver Preschool Program, the non-profit and foundation community, public and military libraries, and the private sector. Over the last 4 years, more than 250,000 Colorado 4-year-olds across the state have received a free book through this program.

The privately-funded program stems from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps parents serve as their children’s first and most important teachers. Research shows that 4-year-olds that have access to books and adults that read to them often will be much more likely to have the skills they need to be ready to read when they start kindergarten.

For low-income families, access to quality books and early literacy efforts are even more important, since research shows that children in low-income families tend to have fewer books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before the age of 4 than their higher-income peers. One Book 4 Colorado aims to close this vocabulary gap by getting a book into the home of every 4-year-old in the state and fostering a culture of reading.

A parent and child read the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado title.

Based on parent feedback, the program is successful in encouraging reading at home, instilling a love of reading, and opening conversations around books. In a 2014 survey of participating parents, 64{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} of respondents said that they spent more time reading with their children, and that their children were more interested in reading and books. 62{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} said that their children talked about books and reading more after getting their free book.

Parents told us the program had a real and immediate impact on their child’s interest in reading:

“My 4 year old loves the book.  What made me most pleased, though, was that this book was sitting in our van the day we received it and his older brother saw it, picked it up, and read it to him.  This is HUGE for kids to have a positive experience with reading and I love that it doesn’t just have to come from us parents.”

“[My daughter] is very interested in reading more, we are visiting the library more often, and most important she is very focused :)”

“[My son] has had a hard time reading and after I read him this book once, he wanted to read it to me. He has had so much fun with this book, he asked the Easter Bunny to bring him a new book for Easter.”

“[My daughter] is getting motivation from knowing other kids are all reading the same book. A kids book club is pretty motivating for her.”

“We really appreciate this program.  Thank you for the gift of reading!  I am more excited about sitting down and reading since receiving this book – it seemed to revive my parental interest in reading to my kiddos  :)”

The 2014 survey results are compiled the infographic below, which was created by the Library Research Service. Click to see the full-sized infographic.

LRS OB4C 2014 Survey

Which book will be given away this April?

Coloradans have been casting their votes for this year’s winning title, which will be revealed on April 11 on the One Book 4 Colorado website! (Watch a video of Colorado celebrities announcing the three finalist titles). We will also announce the winner on social media—on Twitter, follow @OneBook4Co and use the hashtag #OB4CO, or visit our Facebook page,

Please join us for two special events during the giveaway period!

Lt. Gov. Garcia and Denver Mayor Hancock read the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado title.
Lt. Gov. Garcia and Denver Mayor Hancock read the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado title.
  • The program launch and book reveal, featuring Governor Hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Garcia, and Denver Mayor Hancock, will be April 11 from 10:00-11:00 am at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez Branch of the Denver Public Library.
  • On April 19 from 9:00-10:00 am, join the author online for a Google Hangout—just click here to join the live event! The event is free and everyone is welcome. Can’t make it? It will be archived on the One Book 4 Colorado website so you can watch it anytime.
CSL News

2016 Highly Effective School Library Program: A New Tool for a New Direction

Several years ago, a teacher-librarian and her principal stood on the Colorado Department of Education steps reflecting on the ceremony that had just taken place. The annual celebration to recognize Colorado’s Highly Effective School Library Program was a special day for all the award winners, their colleagues, and their families. Naturally, the principal was proud that his teacher-librarian had been recognized by the state board and Commissioner for her accomplishments. He commented to her, “I don’t think I truly understood your job, but after this ceremony, I think I get it.” And he went on to fund another teacher-librarian for this busy and crowded high school library.

We have heard many positive comments and stories about the HESLP program over last three years. Additional feedback from administrators, teacher-librarians, and others within CDE made us reflect that it was time to reboot the entire program this year.

Our first step in the reboot was to revise the HELSP rubric. The feedback we gathered provided us with a clearer vision of the revisions, and we collaboratively created a rubric that:

  • can be a tool to encourage collaboration and open dialogue between the administrator and teacher-librarian;
  • puts more emphasis on strengths-based leadership;
  • is more aligned with current and future-forward practices;
  • focuses on student learning and evidence of student growth; and,
  • includes more possibilities for innovation.

Powerful partnerships

Administrators play an important role in helping to create effective school library programs. An administrator that recognizes the the power of collaboration and impact that a librarian leader has on student and staff growth is more likely to support that library program.

The new HESLP rubric is designed to foster partnerships and collaborations based on mutual support and ongoing dialogue between teacher-librarians and their administrators. It also encourages partnerships with the school, district, and community-at-large. We encourage administrators and teacher-librarians to complete the HESLP evaluation rubric together in order to get a complete picture of the library program.

2014 HESLP Award Recipient, Kelli Chynoweth
2014 HESLP Award Recipient, Kelli Chynoweth

ESSA and evaluation support

Because the HESLP rubric gives valuable insight into a school library program, stakeholders can use it to better understand the school library standards embedded in the newly enacted federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Additionally, the HESLP evaluation rubric makes a helpful supplement to Colorado’s State Model Evaluation System for Teachers. In Colorado, teacher-librarians are classified and evaluated as teachers. We are finding that numerous administrators use the HESLP rubric as a supplement in the teacher evaluation process.

Student-centric measures

The new HESLP rubric highlights student-centered learning, emphasized in the Colorado Academic and Common Core Standards. Teacher-librarians can use the rubric to identify where they can have a greater impact on student learning. We feel strongly that the effectiveness of any school library program can ultimately be measured by the success of students—that is why the new rubric contains exemplars that can be met by providing student work and evidence of student growth. The most compelling advocacy for teacher-librarians and library programs is when they can show how their teaching and coaching has impacted students and staff, whether through pre/post reflections, a checklist, rubric, or other measurement means.

Changing the conversation

The 2016 HESLP rubric represents a change in thinking about how teacher-librarians and library programs are viewed and valued. This rubric emphasizes teacher leadership and values collaboration among administrators, staff, students and the community—shifting the view from that of a support role to that of a guide for staff and students to transform learning practice. Most importantly, it also opens the conversation for how teachers and teacher-librarians are designing student-centric learning opportunities and collecting evidence of their impact on student learning.

Are there student-centric learning opportunities you’d like to share with us? In what ways have you been collecting evidence of your teaching and how it has resulted in student growth? We’d love to hear from you. And stay tuned this spring for more about the changes to the CDE Recognition Award component of the HESLP Program!

2012 HESLP Award Recipient, Phil Goerner
2012 HESLP Award Recipient, Phil Goerner

For more information about the Highly Effective School Library Program, contact:

Becky Russell
21st Century Skills Instructional Specialist
Office: 303.866.6772

Casey Veatch
Digital Literacy Instructional Specialist
Office: 303.866.6922

CSL News Lifelong Literacy

2016 CLEL Bell Award Winners Announced

CLEL Bell Award logoColorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) announced the winners of their annual CLEL Bell Picture Books Awards for Early Literacy on February 5, 2016. From their website:

“The five winning books consist of one title in each of five categories selected from a shortlist of 25 titles. Each category represents an early literacy practice: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play. The books, in their content, theme, or design, support caregivers’ interaction with their children through these five early literacy practices. Research has shown that engaging children in these practices builds language skills and prepares children to become successful readers.”

The winners for each category are:

  • READ: Sloth Slept On, by Frann Preston-Gannon
  • WRITE: Inside This Book: (are three books), by Barney Saltzberg
  • TALK: I Don’t Want to Be a Frog! by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt
  • SING: Hiccupotamus, by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Ada Grey
  • PLAY: Tickle Monster, by Édouard Manceau

Visit the CLEL website to print activity sheets for each title and to see past winners.