Your local library is a great resource for parents. And not just for the books!
Now, I live in Kid Central, and I am so grateful that we have an awesome library with lots to offer for children. I know not everyone has access to a great library, but I want to give some ideas and guidelines for utilizing your library to work on speech and language development.
Let’s talk about the code for picking out books for your child (well, they’re more like guidelines…). Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
1) Think about your child’s attention span. Yes, that princess book looks tempting, but your preschooler won’t sit through that saga. At this age, a few sentences on each page is appropriate.
2) Think about the subject matter. Let’s face it- some books are just weird. Look for ones that your child will be interested in, or something that you want to work on (potty training books, manners books, etc.)
3) Think about the illustrations. Since most children at this age can’t read, they will be depending on the pictures as a reference for the story. This actually works to your advantage, because you can talk about the pictures too! I will have further posts on reading with young children that will outline this better.
I’m going to change gears on you now and talk about resources at your local library that you might not know about.
1) Storytime and Craft activities- Our library has story time at least 3-4 times a week. They offer story times according to age level, primary language, and special needs. They also do a craft night twice a month. Look and see if your library offers anything like this. The people that put these on are child-attention-span masters. There’s singing, there’s puppets, there’s silliness, and there’s most definitely a coloring page to take home.
2) Online book rental- Tired of paying for books on your Kindle or iPad? Well, hold on to your hats: you can rent digital copies of books through your local library! Our library uses Overdrive, but I’m sure there are several apps that do this. It is awesome, free, and when your rental is over, it just disappears off your device. Read my lips people: NO LATE FEES! You don’t even have to necessarily live in the town where it is offered. I know people who borrow their friend’s or family member’s library card number to download. And it’s not even illegal. The great thing about libraries is they just want the whole world to read. This is a great way to entertain your child while you’re out running errands or stuck at the doctor’s office. Also, it’s not Angry Birds.
3) Book sales- our library just switched to having a permanent “bookstore” in one section of the library. These are books that are being switched out, or have been donated. The best news is they get cheaper as the month goes by! Some libraries still do the quarterly book sales. Either way, they are a great way to get books for children (using the above guidelines, of course). And maybe…just maybe…a few new books for you! Often, especially towards the end of the sale or the month, it goes to the fill-a-bag method. I brought home about 20 children’s books for $5! Can’t beat that! It’s a great way to expand your bookshelf without a high investment.
4) So this is fairly new, but libraries are starting to offer downloads of music FREE! It’s called Freegal. I don’t know a whole lot about it, except that you can download today’s hits as well as yesterday’s favorites! (Haha, I’m 100% sure I just ripped off some radio station’s tagline). I believe it is more of a music rental, but still, FREE!
Have I convinced you to go to the library? I would love to hear from my readers. How do you use the library? What are some awesome things your library does?