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,
Now that we've discussed the why, let's discuss the how - how can you encourage your child to enjoy that trip to the library?
Most importantly, share the reasons of why libraries are so important with your child. After all, it's your son or daughter who will profit from the library experience.
Second, make the time for the library. The days are so busy and full, that if you don't set aside an hour or two a week for library time it probably won't happen. A routine visit (every Tuesday afternoon) will make sure that books get taken out and returned regularly (and probably will get read in between...). When my kids were younger they looked forward to Thursdays when we could schedule a free hour to visit our local library. It also made sure we had plenty of fresh books for long weekend reads.
Even more, make this routine visit a special event. A chance for positive parent and child quality time together. You can even add to the experience by always doing an additional fun activity (eating ice cream later, playing in the park outside or visiting a friend who lives nearby).
Talk it up in the everyday. Use every excuse to mention the powers of the library. If your daughter is fascinated by a worm, suggest that on the next trip you will explore the library's biology section to see what you can learn about them. If your son expresses interest in magical tales - suggest books from the fantasy section in the library. Make them aware of the library's potential.
And, of course, help your child to choose good books! If your son will enjoy the books he is reading, he will obviously want to take out more books. Next week I'll discuss how to help your child choose good books.
Enjoy your library outing!
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