When parents ask what they can do to help their child’s learning, I always tell them to read to and with their child as much as possible. Reading helps children increase attention span, understand sounds, learn letters, and how to hold a book. While it might seem like everyone knows how to hold a book, I’ve meet children who are 4 and even 5 years old who hold a book upside down and not realize that it is upside. When I see that, I know that they haven’t been exposed to a lot of books because they don’t have a sense of what looks “normal” on a page.
These are some of my favorite free library resources for families:
The public library houses a wealth of resources just waiting to be discovered. Books, story hours, activities, dvds, and games are just some of things you can access for FREE! Some local libraries partner with others in the same city or county, allowing you to borrow materials from not just your neighborhood library.
Little Free Library
The concept behind these libraries is to “take a book and leave a book.” Little Free Libraries can be found on street corners, near parks, at shopping malls, and outside of schools. Visit the Little Free Library website to find one in your area. You truly never know what you are going to find, so if nothing interests you, then check again later or just find another Little Free Library to explore. If you find something that interests you, go ahead and “borrow” it. If you’re looking for children’s books, then visit one outside or near a school.
When we lived in Tennessee, our pediatrician told us about the Imagination Library sponsored by entertainer Dolly Parton. The program mailed children a new book a month until their 5th birthday, regardless of their family’s household income, to engage a child’s love of learning. That was over 12 years ago and it’s been fun to see this program expand throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Outside of Tennessee, community partner organizations administer the program, so it’s not available everywhere in the United States.
Definitely, check to see if Imagination Library is available in your community. It’s always fun to receive mail and a receiving a book by mail is even more special.
With so many free library options in your community, you have so many choices! Be sure to read, read, and read some more to your children!