By Meagan Albright, M.L.I.S., Youth Services Librarian III, NSU Alvin Sherman Library
A trip to the library can help your child build a lifelong love of books, reading and learning. Libraries have books, movies, video games and more on their shelves, and it doesn’t cost you a thing to borrow them from the library. You can also read and listen to books online for free with your library card, which is free for anyone who lives, works or goes to school in Broward County. Reading together sets an example for your child and shows that you believe reading is important.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
Reading to your child for at least 15 minutes every day, starting from birth, is important to your child’s healthy development and future success in school. Children who are regularly read to show more activity in the parts of their brain that help with reading comprehension and understanding stories. Even the youngest baby loves being held and hearing the voice of their family members as they read a book aloud. Your local library has more books than any one person could afford to buy, and anyone can borrow the books for free. With so many
books to choose from, it’s fun and easy for young children to discover new favorite stories. Librarians are dedicated to building diverse collections, so books can serve as windows (letting children see other cultures) and mirrors (so children see themselves reflected in the books they read). Children learn about different cultures, customs, religions and living situations in their neighborhood and around the world by reading books that reflect this diversity.
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Mr. Rogers
Libraries are more than just books; it’s the people inside the library who make it a welcoming space for children and families and connect them to the information they need. From the librarians who help your child choose their next favorite book, to the workers who help you check out books, people who choose to work in libraries are dedicated to helping. Most librarians have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.); Youth Services (or Children’s) Librarians specialize in serving children and families. Stop by the Reference Desk at your local library and say hello!
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” – Dr. Seuss
Storytimes are more than entertaining – they help develop important pre-reading and early literacy skills while encouraging a lifelong love of books by singing, talking, reading and playing together. Librarians share their favorite stories and help families pick out books to read at home. Activities and free play at the end of storytime encourage conversation, build vocabulary and give grown-ups and children a chance to make new friends. Children tell us stories long before they
learn to read. Storytime gives them a place to learn the art of sharing stories and let’s them know that their stories are important.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”
- Fred Rogers
Many libraries have an interactive play area with puzzles, puppets and props designed to encourage exploration and parent/child interaction. Play fosters children’s imaginations and encourages cooperation while developing early literacy skills. Play helps children express feelings, and allows children to think out loud about experiences. Playing with puppets helps children develop narrative skills and learn sequencing (stories happen in an order: first, next, last). Toy kitchens and plastic food promote healthy nutrition, help children learn about
other cultures, give children new words (zucchini, eggplant) and encourage creativity. Puzzles improve hand-eye coordination and encourage children to think and solve problems. Through interactive play, children are encouraged to play together cooperatively and empowered to be responsible. These activities help build connections in your child’s brain, especially from birth to age 3. Through the shared experiences and resources found at the library, parents and caregivers can encourage their children to value reading and become lifelong learners. According to the latest research from the Kids & Family Reading Report, 95% of parents agree “every community needs to have a public library.” Have you visited your local library lately? Stop by, say hi to your librarians, and let us help you build your child’s love of books.
The Nova Southeastern University Alvin Sherman Library, Research, Information Technology Center is a unique joint-use library serving the residents of Broward County as well as NSU students, faculty, and staff members. To find out more about the Alvin Sherman Library’s free events for children and families and to sign-up for a free Alvin Sherman Library card, please visit sherman.library.nova.edu
John S. Hutton, Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, Alan L. Mendelsohn, Tom DeWitt, Scott K. Holland,the C-MIND Authorship Consortium, Home Reading Environment and Brain Activation in Preschool Children Listening to Stories. Pediatrics, Sep 2015, 136 (3) 466-478
Kids & Family Reading Report, 7th edition
Zero to Three