Saturday, 24 February, 2018


New Readers@ Your Library

Tracy Kampa, Children’s Library


What an exciting time! After all those bedtime stories, after all those (granted) requests of “read it again, please,” after all those trips to the library (and the subsequent search for the single elusive library book…which was found under your refrigerator,) your child is finally ready for independent reading. Wonderful stories stretch out in front of your reader like a golden road. Your child, eagerly, picks up a book, and with great confidence, reads “Tim… jumps… in.”  They’re reading! Here! Try this one! How about this one? This was your brother’s favorite at your age! Your child takes the offering, opens the cover, and wails “I can’t do it!”  The book is tossed, the child runs to their safe place, and you are left, a wee bit stunned, wondering what in heaven’s name just happened?

 Like any other endeavor, reading practice makes progress, and many beginning readers need a gentle hand to help them through this stage. Here are some thoughts for you to ponder as you navigate this new territory:

Keep your eye on the prize. We, of course, support everything that happens in the classroom. We practice the sight words, we do the homework, we help our teachers any way we can. But please remember that, when it comes to reading, your goals might be slightly different than your child’s teacher’s. They need to make sure that your child is on track with reading for their grade level. You want your child to become a life-long reader. Do you see how that slight change in perception takes a little bit of pressure off of you and your child? If your child is in tears over reading homework, maybe you say “Hey! Let me help you with that, and then maybe I can read to you for a little while? I can’t wait to see what Ralph S. Mouse is up to!” Like every good coach, you need to know when to forge ahead and when to call for a time-out. The prize you have your eye on is a lifetime of enjoyment of reading. Reading is not a school-only affair, reading is a life affair.

Keep it fun. Humans are pleasure-centered creatures; if we enjoy something, we do it. Friday night was “Reading Night!” at our house. (Yes, of course there was a song to go with it.) As long as you went to bed at a reasonable hour, you could read as long as you wanted, and nobody could tell you to turn off your light. Oh, the power that put in the hands of my young readers! Keeping it fun, in whatever way works in your house, will keep your child in the game.

Don’t stop reading to your child. Kids can comprehend at least two or three grade levels above their reading abilities. Reading more advanced books to them helps them learn the joy of complex plot and new vocabulary.  Also, have an audio book going in the car, and let them listen to an audio book as they fall asleep, or while they are cleaning their room. And make sure there is a book nearby wherever they are, especially the car…and even the bathroom!

Follow their lead. Encourage your child to check out what looks interesting to them, and please, pay no attention to the “level” on any book. Levels only say “no, you can’t” to kids. We need to say “yes, you can.”  It’s common for new readers to fall back to books they can read well. Don’t panic…just keep reading!

If you have questions about your reader’s journey, let’s chat. And, as always, Happy Reading!


This Week At Your Library:

Monday, February 5: At 9:30 and 10:30 it’s Book Time! Join ECFE teachers in the Story Circle for books, songs, and all other sorts of fun! Then it’s time for a snack, a craft, and a time to play and visit.

Thursday, February 8: At 6:00, join us for Weather Forecasting with Dr. Bob Conzemius.  Meteorologist “Tornado Bob” provides a 10,000 foot overview of the systems that work together to deliver weather forecasts. Learn how atmospheric physics keep scientists from making accurate forecasts more than a couple weeks into the future and how advances in technology and research have improved forecasting accuracy.

Saturday, February 10: At 10:15 and 11:15 it’s time for Saturday Story Time! Join ECFE teachers in the Story Circle for books and songs, then move to the Community Room for a snack, a craft, and a time to play and visit. Families may earn one Baby Steps coupon for attending this Story Time.

Saturday, February 10: At 12:30, join us in the Community Room to make a Snow Snake! Create a wooden snake and play the "Snow Snake" game, a variation of a Native American game played during the winter. Open to all ages.