Do you remember your first library card? I do. I was so excited to have my very own piece of ID – something I didn’t have to share with my brothers or sister. I used it religiously. That card opened up a world of characters, plot and imagination for me that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. I don’t know if my mom knew how much I loved our trips to the library, or that it would eventually lead to a lifelong love of reading. Maybe she did.
Libraries have come a long way since I was a kid. In the age of the Internet, you don’t even need to set foot in the library to borrow a book. So why bother bringing your child there? It’s simple. Visiting the library is one of the best ways to motivate children to read. Studies have shown that children who visit the library read more. And we know that reading has many benefits, including improved vocabulary and comprehension.
When I had children, I couldn’t wait to take them to the library. Although my kids had stacks of their own books at home, our regular visits involved much more than just pages and chapters. The library offered a space where my kids were free to explore the children’s section, participate in programs, socialize with other kids, and of course, feed the pet guinea pigs! I truly believe that our trips to the library were one of the most important things we did to nurture their love of reading.
Here are some great reasons to take your child to the library:
- Help your child to love reading. Libraries are a great way to nurture literacy. Let your kids explore the children’s section and encourage them to pick their own books. Make it fun! Their excitement can foster a true love of reading.
- Think beyond books. Libraries offer children’s programs that make stories come to life. My kids loved the songs, puppets and animated storytelling. As they got older, there were LEGO clubs, writing camps, robotics and book clubs.
- Teach responsibility. A library card gives your children a sense of responsibility and diligence. Knowing how to share, take care of things and protect resources are great values to instill in children. It also teaches them to return books on time!
- Read for free. When you visit the library, your child is exposed to a selection of books and magazines that would cost you a fortune to buy (not to mention finding the storage space for everything). Why not use a community resource?
- Tap into expertise. Librarians are knowledgeable. I remember my youngest son wasn’t interested in the books his brother and sister had loved. I asked the librarian for some suggestions. She was able to recommend books I didn’t know existed and he embraced them.
- Seek out community hubs. Visiting the library is a great way for your children to meet other children (and for you to meet other parents). They often host book clubs, family movie nights and computer classes. Libraries are also linked to other community services that offer a variety of programs, such as parenting classes.
As parents, we all want to promote literacy in our children. Visiting the library is one of the best ways to make reading fun and stimulating for kids of all ages. Go get your child (and yourself) a library card – it might be the first step in fostering a lifelong love of reading.
Do you remember your first trip to the library? Share your experience – we’d love to hear about it!
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
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