Caregivers and young ones gathered on Friday morning (Feb. 7) at the Hope Library for the weekly Rhymes Across Time Intergenerational Parent-Child Mother Goose session. The program teaches parents and babies the basics of baby sign language and early communication and literacy through fun songs and movements, including dancing. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

VIDEO: Early literacy skills start early at Hope Library

Rhyming, sign language and body movement all help little ones with literacy

Friday mornings at the Hope Library are bubbling with the sounds of little ones learning to read — but not with books.

They’re dancing, singing, clapping and perhaps most importantly, they’re rhyming.

They range in age from newborn to about four years old, the age that reading from a book usually begins. This group of babies and toddlers are taking part in something that is meant to teach literacy skills well before reading begins. It’s called Rhymes Across Time Intergenerational Parent-Child Mother Goose, and it’s a popular one for local families.

After the babies and their caregivers settle in, sitting in a circle shape around a brightly designed carpet that’s perfect for dancing, they begin to sing together. Some of the older kids pick up on the cues from leader Karen Rushlow.

She holds two thumbs up and asks, “ready?”

Several of the toddlers hold their little thumbs up in response, some smile at the adults and other kids around them. The fun is about to begin. They launch into their Hello Song, first in English and then in Halq’uémeylem.

Every song throughout the one-hour session has hand gestures and movements, and some even have the kids and adults up dancing and swaying together. They are learning language skills, including common sign language for words like “ear” and “more,” to help communicate earlier.

Traditional songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes have stood the test of time because they really help children learn. And they are also songs that older generations can connect with.

The intergenerational component of the program comes in later in the year, when the group begins meeting at Fraser Lodge. There, seniors are invited to join in the fun with the families. This is the 14th year of the program.

Rhymes Across Time Intergenerational Parent-Child Mother Goose runs every Friday in February at the Hope Library from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

There are many programs taking place this month at the library.

Yarn Arts Circle

Recurring every Tuesday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Senior’s Coffee and Conversation

Recurring on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Drop in for a cup of coffee or tea, treats, and some interesting and lively conversation. Occasionally speakers will give short presentations on a variety of topics. No membership required. Just stop by.

Social Media for Social Good: Gratitude

Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The research is clear: gratitude will make you happier, more optimistic, and feel better about your life. During the presentation, social media gratitude practitioners Michelle Vandepol (Instagram) and Marla Rosenberg (Facebook) will discuss the why and how of gratitude in their own lives and facilitate a discussion on the use of social media in gratitude pursuits.

Cook & Tell Cookbook Club

Saturday, Feb. 22, from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Love trying new recipes? This is the club for you. A different theme is chosen each month, and a list of cookbooks is available to inspire you. Choose one or two recipes that interest you, then go home and try them out. There are monthly meet-ups, and this month’s theme is ‘Let’s Celebrate Healthy Food’ recipes and choosing cookbooks that are Casserole Crazy.

Friends of the Hope Library Quiz Night

This popular annual event is planned for Friday, Feb. 28, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

It’s Friday night. Your friends are at a table at the vibrant Conference Centre with other enthusiastic participants. There’s a Powerpoint with trivia questions. Snacks. Much laughter, groans and cheering when answers are announced. A free book! A trophy for the winners! And the proceeds benefit the Hope Library. What’s not to like?

READ MORE: Hope’s Highbrow Quiz Night a big success

Come on out to the Hope Highbrow Quiz Night Friday, Feb. 28th. Tickets are on sale now at the Hop e Library. Get them by Feb. 14 for early bird rates at $12 per person or $85 a team. After that, it’s $15 a person or $105 a team. There’s teams of eight and singles are welcome. Want to see what’s happening? Spectators pay just $5 for an evening of fun and support the library.

This event has been sponsored by the Friends of the Hope Library and the group has been hard at work to make this an enjoyable evening.

For more information, contact Deb at the Hope Library 604-869-2313 or drop in.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Children read to therapy dogs at Langley library


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Dana Brocklehurst and her six-month-old daughter Amelia dance along to a song at the Rhymes Across Time Intergenerational Parent-Child Mother Goose session at the Hope Library on Feb. 7. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Karen Rushlow, right, leads the weekly Rhymes Across Time Intergenerational Parent-Child Mother Goose session at the Hope Library, teaching caregivers and babies songs to move and dance to, to increase early literacy skills. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

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