A few posts ago, I shared how I promote reading and literacy with my daughter. As a follow-up, here’s another resource that I cannot stress enough: your local public library!
PRACTICALLY UNLIMITED BOOKS
Most public libraries are jam packed with kid books, ranging from picture board books, leveled readers and even magazines like Zoobooks, Highlights, and the like. For your older ones, there are even comic books. It’s practically unlimited because there’s no way that your kid will be able to read every book in the library, and as they get older, even more books open up.
Oh yeah. Plus it’s free. Totally free. Like so free there’s no excuse for it, free. So free that they will find a book that you request and drive it to your local branch for you free of charge free. You can find every book that you need for your little one. Free. Money is not an excuse not to have your kids read more. Boom.
I’m writing this in scorcher heat wave in New York, where my measly window units aren’t cutting it through the brown outs. If you live in a place that gets hot and muggy and you don’t have central air in your home, the library is the perfect place to cool off in the summer. Go spend an hour or two and read stacks of books to your little ones. If you think that’s too much reading, bring crayons and coloring books and have your kids work on art projects. Sometimes the children’s librarian will have some available if you don’t plan ahead.
Speaking of air conditioning, the first several articles written on this very website were written at a work desk at a toasty public library back in January. Our heat was on the fritz, and if not for the warm work environment, this website might still be stuck in development.
ACTIVITIES & PEER INTERACTION
I can’t speak for every children’s library, but almost every library in the Queens Public Library system has a Toddler Time once per week. You can take your toddlers to the library, where the librarian sings songs, reads a book, and leads an art activity. Not only does it promote literacy, but it’s entertaining. E biggest benefit, however, is that it gives a great chance for your child to interact with other kids. Because I’m at home with my daughter, she doesn’t have that social benefit that kids in preschool or day care have.
If your library doesn’t currently have a program like this, speak to your children’s librarian to see if you can start something up there yourself! And even if your library doesn’t have this type of program, no one minds when kids talk about books with each other in the children’s area of the library.
My goal for this summer is to find the time to, at least once a week, go to the library. Maybe we’ll go to toddler time (even though she’s a little too old for it now), or read through books, or even just switch out books that are due for new ones. Once a week, summer library time.
If you make the weekly library trip a fun treat, you not only have a happy kid but one that has a constant supply of fresh books. Try it out for the next couple weeks and share in the comments about your experience.
Until next time, heroes!