Newton County library system installs literacy stations

COVINGTON — The Newton County Library Service is offering students the chance to learn while having a whole lot of fun.

Director Lace Keaton has announced the purchase of three Early Literacy Stations, comprehensive, educational computers loaded with over 60 educational software titles.

Two stations are located at the Covington branch and one at Porter Memorial.

Each station features a colorful and intuitive interface that makes it easy for children — pre-readers and readers alike — to navigate and explore on their own, Keaton said. It offers children a safe, standalone station that does not require an Internet connection to operate. Since it is a self-contained, turn-key solution, the need for adult intervention and technical support is greatly minimized, she said. Each session is limited to 50 minutes.

The computers contain more than 60 pre-loaded educational software programs, including Kid Pix 3D, Dora The Explorer, Math Doodles and Sesame Street titles. The software content spans all curriculum areas, including reading, math, science, history and geography.

“The Early Literacy Station is an invaluable resource for toddlers, kindergarten and grade-school students ” Keaton said. “They are having fun, and many times they don’t realize they are actually learning.”

Though the software is targeted to children ages 2 to 10, Keaton said older children can also learn from and enjoy the stations. In fact, the library staff had a great time testing their knowledge of U.S. capitals, she said.

Other games include identifying rivers of the world, naming the bones in the human body, playing musical instruments, even fitting shapes together to build a bridge or tower.

The stations have already proven popular the first week after installation and there’s even been a wait for the one at Porter.

“Kids now do an awful lot using electronic resources … and this is very much like learning on an iPad,” Keaton said.

Even more appealing to kids, they can learn from some of their favorite characters like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

The stations were purchased through a grant from the Porter Foundation.

The stations are supplied by AWE Inc. and are found in more than 35 percent of public library systems throughout the country.