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BLAST® School Outreach Program: Bringing Libraries and Schools Together

Elementary BLAST®


Elementary Programs

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's BLAST® School Outreach brings public library programs and resources into Pittsburgh Public Schools. Since its inception in March of 2002, BLAST® has responded to the need for literacy enhancement in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The BLAST® Team:

presents dynamic interactive read-alouds of both fiction and informational texts.

  • models good reading techniques such as dialogic reading.
    • increases students' understanding of vocabulary.
      • helps children appreciate the joy that comes from discovering a good book.

The BLAST® Program:

Provides students with the opportunity to develop and enhance reading skills.

  • Generates more frequent student visits to the local public library.

BLAST® Elementary Programs

  • K-5 Thematic Program
    These bi-monthly thematic literacy programs are offered to K-5 students. Programs enrich student learning by presenting library materials and hands- on activities that support topics studied in the classroom. Students are encouraged to foster a love of reading and literature and visit their local public library.
  • Third Grade Interactive Read Aloud Program
    Currently offered to 20 Pittsburgh Public Elementary Schools (49 classrooms). Each classroom is visited about once a month. The visits consist of an interactive multicultural read aloud, rich vocabulary discussion, critical thinking questions, comprehension strategies, and a reflective writing activity. The BLAST Third Grade program has been evaluated by Dr. Rita M. Bean, Ph.D. - University of Pittsburgh. Summer Extended Year Program
    This program takes place during the Pittsburgh Public Schools' Summer Dreamers Academy. Each participating school is visited once a week for four weeks. During each visit there is an interactive read aloud, rich vocabulary discussion, critical thinking questions, and a membership in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Kids Summer Reading Program. Incentives, including books, are distributed for achieving reading goals. The goals of this outreach are to extend childrens' literacy experience beyond the school year, to motivate children to be life long learners and readers, and to encourage children to visit their local public library.
  • PA Core Academic Standards the BLAST® Program Consistently Supports
    English Language Arts
      • CC.1.2.3.A: Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
        • CC.1.2.3.B: Ask and answer questions about the text and make inferences from text; refer to text to support responses.
          • CC.1.2.3.F: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in grade level text, distinguishing literal from non-literal meaning as well as shades of meaning among related words.
            • CC.1.2.3.L: Read and comprehend literary non-fiction and informational text on grade level, reading independently and proficiently.
              • CC.1.5.3.A: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

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