By: Krystle Crossman
Reading is an incredibly important skill that children learn from a very young age. Exposing your children to books while they are infants has proven to be very beneficial to not only the child but to the parents as well. This was the case with now four-year-old Daliyah. Her mother, Haleema Arana, began reading books to her brother and to her when she was just an infant. She loved the books so much that she wanted to continue reading as she grew. Just before she turned three years old she was reading books by herself. Now at the young age of four years old she has read over 1000 books. She also took a special trip to the Library of Congress recently.
While she was at the Library of Congress she got to shadow librarian Carla Hayden. Hayden is the 14th librarian to work in the Library of Congress. She was the first woman to ever hold the position as well as the first African-American. Daliyah got to sit in an executive meetings and was even asked what she would like to do in the library for future generations. She said that she thought they should put white boards on the hallway so that young kids like her could practice writing on them. Hayden was thrilled to show the young girl around and watch her eyes fill with wonder. She said that Daliyah kept telling her that this was her favorite library ever.
Back in her hometown of Gainesville, Georgia, Daliyah has been the honorary librarian for a day at her local library many times. She says that she wants to try and teach young kids to read at an early age like she did so that they could enjoy reading that much more. She also wants to help her preschool teachers with reading. Her mother got the idea of starting to count the books that she has read from an initiative in their town which is to have kids read 1000 books before they enter kindergarten. Daliyah has already surpassed this total and hopes to hit 1500 before she enters kindergarten. She said she wants to help her kindergarten teacher and the other students in her class learn how to read big books like she reads. Although she has not been formally tested for a reading level yet she is reading college level books at times. If she doesn’t know a word she will stop and ask what it is but that doesn’t happen often.
Daliyah’s mother took a video of her reading a very complex text in the hopes that the video would help to convince other parents to teach their kids to read at a very young age or at the very least expose them to books as soon as they are born. Daliyah hopes to be reading fluently in Spanish as well since her father, who is Mexican, is teaching her Spanish at home.