Library Fun Leads to Good Reading Habits
Have you visited your local library lately? They aren’t just books anymore! There are arts and crafts, play time, singing and other fun activities all designed to help young children start on the early literacy journey.
As Director of the Stonington Public Library, Vicki Zelnick works hard to support reading in her community. When buying books for the library, Vicki says “I look for stories like those used by Raising Readers – lots of action, rhyme, rich language and silliness.” She has many of the titles from the Raising Readers lists in her library and even asks kids for their book suggestions. “Our dinosaur book collection is much better because of the children’s ideas!”
Vicki is always looking for ways to get more kids and families to the library. She has created a number of fun library activities over the years that help children of all ages learn to love to read:
- Monthly story hours at the library include crafts and snacks. Kids love glitter and the messier the craft, the better
- The library’s Baby Rhyme Time for infants and toddlers uses hand puppets, rhymes, and songs in between reading short stories
- Summer book bingo. Young and old love bingo and this can be a fun way to prevent the summer reading slump
- Special events for kids and families. For example, the Stonington Library celebrates Chinese New Year with stories, decorations, games, and prizes. Surprise animal guests—roosters, snakes, and goats—are always a hit
- Playing librarian is fun for everyone. Vicki lets young readers use the scanner to check out their own books.
Because Stonington is a small library, Vicki can take the time to get to know children and their interests. She believes that anything that encourages families to come to the library is worth trying, and has some exciting new ideas for the coming year.
Four-year-old Nolan Decker of Stonington is one reader who enjoys everything that the library offers. Nolan and his mother Shannon have been weekly regulars at the library since his birth. He never misses the Saturday morning Story Hour reading and craft sessions, and he was the winner of the library’s 2017 summer Book Bingo contest. According to his mom, Nolan would go to the library every day if he could!
Nolan is now introducing the love of the library to his younger sister, Nora, who is 16 months old. Like her brother, Nora has been visiting the library since birth and already loves her visits with Miss Vicki.
Nolan is helping Nora learn by reading his favorite stories to her and modeling reading behavior both at the library and at home.
Nolan is a great example of the power of introducing children to books early and how your local library helps young readers. Libraries are a great place for families to read, learn and play together. Make library visits a part of your family’s regular routine and let us know what your little readers like the most!
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