Light flooded inside the newly-opened Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library on Thursday. As children ran in and out of a castle playscape, their parents and grandparents watched a presentation about ABCmouse — an interactive tool that helps young kids learn.
A preschool-aged girl in a pink cheetah-print coat stopped mid-stride to watch a quick demo.
“See, they’re already paying attention,” the presenter said, followed by laughter.
This award-winning software is available to families across the city of Detroit at no cost. It’s one part of a $1.4 million investment made by our partners at General Motors to launch a series of United Way programs to help children read at grade level.
We’re partnering with select Detroit Public Library branches to help children and families access ABCmouse at home. After creating an account, families can either log in on their own devices at home or check out an iPad from the library. This effort — part of GM’s commitment to the Cody Rouge community — launched at the Edison branch.
LaRetha Wynn attended the community event with her 5-year-old grandson, Isiah, who revealed his missing front teeth as he spelled his first name.
“Many children are not reading at grade level,” LaRetha said. “This will be so accessible now.”
Kenyatta McConico had been driving his three young children to a library in Dearborn to use ABCmouse. He’s happy his neighborhood will benefit from the investment and planned to share information on library hours and services with his community.
“I’m glad these resources are now available in our community – we should all get to benefit from them,” he said, adding, “There’s positive energy in the city of Detroit.”
Kenyatta wants to make sure his children have opportunities to learn outside of school and plans to use the app at home.
The software is for children ages 2-8.It offers reading supports — like phonics and vocabulary building work — and blends education best practices, technology and creativity to bring learning to life.
Christine Peele, who manages the Edison branch shared her excitement.
“It’s great to see children and families using the library,” she said. The library was closed for almost a year because of a water main break. It reopened last week after extensive renovations. “Many people don’t know the resources we offer. And if we don’t have something they need, I want to know so I can get it.”
The ABCmouse software will be expanded to schools and community centers in the near future.
“Schools are critical in developing children’s literacy, but it takes a community to reinforce their learning,” says Tammie Jones, Vice President of education and economic prosperity at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “ABCmouse is a fantastic tool, and we are grateful to General Motors for this investment so that even more parents and caregivers can support their children’s education in a way that’s both fun and convenient for them.”