Helping your child enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent and is well worth the investment of your time and energy. Kids will learn reading skills in school, but often they associate reading with work rather than pleasure. Thus, they lose their desire to read. And it is that desire — the curiosity and interest — that is the foundation of learning how to use reading skills successfully.
As card-carrying library regulars, children learn about looking after things that belong to others. When children check-out books in their own name, they feel trustworthy and responsible. If a child damages, loses or returns a book after its return date the library will charge a penalty fine and children will feel the consequences of their actions. It is important for children to learn the simple value that with responsibility come consequences. Returning a book by its return date teaches children the important skill of meeting deadlines and in today’s society, that is a skill that seems to be lost on far too many people.
Libraries were the original sharing economy, long before Airbnb or Netflix. There is a major environmental advantage to sharing copies of books, DVDs and other media rather than everyone purchasing new copies. In addition, libraries foster a commitment to sharing that is so beneficial and can carry over into the rest of our lives. Rather than fostering a disposable, selfish attitude towards objects, children learn that library books are just on loan to us and belong to everyone in the community. Children learn to think beyond themselves and how to take care of things so that they last and can be used by many other people.
The journey to the library, the search for books that your children enjoy, and the excitement shared when your children check out their selected books all aid in fostering connection between you and your children. And let’s not forget how reading aloud connects you — reader and listener — in a very intimate way. When you read aloud to children, you send them this message: “You are important. This time is for you.”
The library's number one rule is quietness. This can be daunting for parents of rowdy, boisterous children and for fear of embarrassment it may cause you to avoid taking your children to the library, however this is actually the perfect place to take your child. In a world so filled with constant noise it is hard to find a place of silence, a place where you can hear your thoughts and dream. For introverts, the library can offer a sense of peace and some alone time, since even if others are there, you'll feel like they're not. Children who are boisterous and rowdy are often over-stimulated by the noise and sights around them in the world and visiting a library can provide them with the perfect opportunity to find balance in themselves and calm them. Children will need to regulate their behavior so that they may remain in the library, and if they act out and make a continual noise they will be scolded or asked to leave by the librarian and they will then learn that there are consequences to unregulated behavior.
By providing access of information to all members of a community, libraries support communities in their exploring and challenging of barriers, values, and behaviors as these relate to social inclusion.
Through books and other forms of media available from your library it is possible to expose your children to other places, cultures and ways of living. As you and your children browse through the aisles of resources and attend story-reading hours, you will be surrounded by people of various socio-economic status, creed and colour and various relationships may be formed- the library thus serves us, brings us together and provides us with a multi-cultural experience that we don’t necessarily intentionally seek out.
Regular library visits inevitably lead to more reading. Research shows that reading aids in brain development, especially in your child’s first five years of life. When kids are read to, their brain cells are literally turned on, and existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new cell links are formed. Reading is also one of the best activities to provide the foundational language and literacy skills your child needs to succeed. By visiting the library and giving children the opportunity to take out books you encourage a reading culture in your children. You can even teach them the alphabet, or teach them to read through tools available at your local library.
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