Light flooded inside the newly-opened Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library on Thursday while children ran in and out of a castle playscape. Next to them, parents and grandparents gathered to watch 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 made available to families across the city of Detroit at no cost thanks to a $650,000 investment made by our partners at General Motors. It’s one part of an overall $1.4 million investment from GM that will help us launch a series of programs to increase literacy rates.
Through the Detroit Public Library branches, children and families access ABCmouse or check out a tablet with the app from the library. All they need is a valid library card. Next, they can set up an account, log in and track their progress. This effort, which is also 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 plans to share the information with his community.
“I’m glad these resources are now available in our community – we should all get to benefit from them,” he said. “There’s positive energy in the city of Detroit.”
Kenyatta wants his children to be able to learn outside of school. He 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.
Christine Peele manages the Edison branch and shared her excitement.
“It’s great to see children and families using the library,” she said. A water main break closed the library for nearly a year. 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. 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.”