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By Lisa Carolin

A new text messaging service is being used at the Chelsea District Library to remind parents to interact with their children.

It’s called TALK-Text and Learn for Kindergarten, and biweekly text messages are sent to those who sign up suggesting activities for parents to incorporate in their daily interactions with kids.

TALK also notifies parents about free educational activities in the area. It’s available to parents and caregivers of children ages 5 and under in Washtenaw County.

“The activities aren’t necessarily involved with the library,” said Edith Donnell, head of Youth Services at the Chelsea District Library. “It’s particularly good for parents whose kids who don’t get to come to the library on a regular basis. TALK can help prepare a child for school. It can be a nice reminder to read books to your child or for example, to take a walk and read street signs to your child.”

TALK is aimed at parents who may not have a lot of time or resources and is based on the research program Every Child Ready to Read, which promotes reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing.

The Library of Michigan is funding the service with a $175,000 grant. The project is led by the Ypsilanti District Library, which has partners across the county including Chelsea.

“You’ll get two messages a week with fun ideas to prepare a child for success,” said Donnell. “It’s important to interact with your child from the start of his or her life. It’s good to engage with a baby even if they can’t communicate back to you.”

The Chelsea District Library began handing out forms for TALK on Oct. 18. You can sign up by texting TALK to 77453 or by visiting www.texttolearn.com.

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