I want my children to practice reading and therefore, obviously, I want them to take books out of the library. However, to be honest, I'm not much of a library visitor myself. I took my children to a public library twice and it was not much of a success. I know I should take them more often to the library, but I'm not quite sure why and how I should get them to the library. Can you give me some pointers?
Mother of Two
Dear Mother of Two,
I myself love libraries. The promise of unread books speaks to me. In particular, unread free books! However, I'm aware that for some, libraries can be daunting and overwhelming. I believe that familiarity with and appreciation of what libraries have to offer can enable anyone to enjoy libraries. In the next three weeks I'll try to discuss why we want to frequent libraries, how to encourage children to take out books from libraries and how to guide them in choosing good books.
First of all, as I said before, you can get books for free (or at least for a fraction of the cost), instead of spending quite a bit of money. Furthermore, not only are the books free, but the variety is unbeatable. Libraries often have access to series, which, speaking as a library builder, are usually hard to get and expensive.
Additionally, libraries usually have multiple copies of the popular books. So if everyone is reading something - you could probably join them!
Libraries are likely to have the most up to date or not easily accessible books a child might want to read. Classics - for 3-year-olds to be read to or for 7th graders to read to you - are most definitely easy to get at libraries.
Furthermore, let's assume that a friend recommends a book for you to read. If you're like me you will probably be hesitant to actually buy the book. However, if you just need to borrow it from the library - well, it's much less threatening. If you don't like the book - no harm done. You can even return it before you've finished reading it!
Libraries, with their wealth of books, might be a little daunting for a beginning reader. Reassure your child that they don't have to read everything. If they don't like a book - they can stop and choose another one! There are many options to choose from - and the choice is theirs.
Now that we've discussed the advantages of the library, next week we'll focus on how to get your children to enjoy the library experience.
Gaila has almost 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns