Post Tagged with: "library"

Baseball books for a baseball kid

Baseball books for a baseball kidMy son had run out of books. Already read the new Rick Riordan. Finished his school-assigned books. Bored of reading.

I needed to rekindle his interest in reading, but how?

I looked to his main hobby–nay, obsession–baseball.

I’d already done something I thought was pretty darned clever. I found a couple of novels written by former baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. (Super-sized Slugger and Hothead). My son loved them because not only were the protagonists his age and baseball players, but the novel was written by a baseball player so it was authentic. It spoke his language.

He read them and loved them. But after that, I was tapped out.

So I went to the library and asked the librarian if she knew any baseball novels.

She did. In fact, one of her favourite books as a young girl was E. L. Konigsburg’s About The B’nai Bagels. It’s the story of a kid whose mother ends up being his baseball team’s manager. (Awwwkward.)

She put that one one hold for me and while it was working its way toward my library branch, she ferretted out a couple more: Haunting at Home Plate by David Patneaude and Throwing Smoke by Bruce Brooks.

My son loved them!

So there’s the idea for you. Think about your kid’s hobbies and then talk to a librarian. It can be kind of hard to Google these things, because you’ll get all manner of how-to books, instructionals… but those librarians, man, they know stuff. Tell them what your kid’s into and before you know it she’ll find you something amazing.

That’s what happened for me.


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Keeping kids reading all summer

dock sepia; Image: kiwiowner, Wikimedia Commons

Image: kiwiowner, Wikimedia Commons

Studies show that kids who read during the summer jump back into school with a head-start.

Kids who take the summer off (reading, that is), often tend to find September a bit of a struggle.

So for all kinds of reasons, it’s good to keep your kid reading during the summer.

Some of my best memories are of going to the tiny library near our cottage and loading up with a week’s worth of books.

But what if your kid isn’t a super-voracious reader?

Here are some tips:

* See if your library has a summer reading program. Here’s an example. They typically bundle reading incentives into the program – it works! And if you live in Canada, here’s a link to TD’s summer reading club.

* Plan on a quick trip to the library at least once a week. Even if your kid takes out one book, it’s worth it.

* Use books on CD (or MP3) to replace TV time.

* An ebook by the dock? Why not? (Just don’t drop the Kindle in the water…)

* Outdoor time can be reading time. Check out this outdoor literacy suggestion for active kids.

* Alternative reading material counts! Comic books, magazines, ebooks, books on CD… all better than mind-numbing video games.

* Buy your child a book, wrap it up, and hide in in their bed as a bedtime surprise. It’s not a school night, so sure you can stay up and read for a while longer!

* If you’re really serious about breaking some rules for a good cause, include a flashlight with the book you give your child. They’ll figure out pretty quickly that it’s fun to “fool your parents” into thinking you’re sleeping, when you’re really reading in bed with a flashlight. (Of course, you’re one step ahead of them.)



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Set up summer reading rewards

Stats show that kids who read throughout the summer have a great kick-start to school in September.

And kids who don’t, typically start the school year a bit behind.

With the school year ending, now’s the time to plan your child’s summer reading and writing projects.

Does your library have a summer reading program? Ours does; it’s usually a large poster with about a dozen stickers you can earn over the summer by reading a book and then telling the librarian what you read.

The stickers are motivating because they “add” to the picture on the poster when you stick them on it. It’s also nice for kids to have the undivided attention of the librarian while they’re telling her about the books they’ve read.

This would be a pretty simple project to do at home. Instead of a poster, it’s a big picture you or your child draws on bristol board – and a flat of stickers that have some kind of theme.

You could also arrange the stickers in a “reading reward chart” configuration. Each sticker represents a book the child has read and when he’s read five (or 10) books he gets a reward of some kind.

It’s important to put the poster or chart up on the child’s wall so it’s constantly motivating for him.

I don’t know about you, but when my son was small I counted books that we’d read together as well as ones he’d read himself. Both types of reading are equally important and valuable, I think.

Related posts:

Here’s a link to the Summer Reading Club. This year’s theme is “Destination Jungle” and the image with this post is this year’s poster.

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Summer reading program

Is your child collecting library stickers?

The other day, my son and I went to the library to report four books and get stickers for his poster. (The stickers are the rewards in the library’s summer reading program.)

Unfortunately, the librarian would only give my son one sticker. He said we’d have to come in each day for the rest, one at a time.

I understand why he said that, but I think it can be a deterrent to reading. If a kid knows that he’s going to have to work that hard for a sticker, he’s going to stop reading after one book. Why read more than one a day?

Today, though, a different librarian gave me a whole sheet of stickers, and my son can report the books to me at home. I’m thrilled, because he was really balking at going in to report to the librarian – and yet he wanted his reward.

I really love this summer reading program, especially now that there was a bit of flexibility to it. Every kid is different, and I’m all for tailoring reading plans to suit the child.

While I was at the library, I picked up the Walt Disney soundtrack to Alice in Wonderland (which we just finished reading) and I’m going to rent the Disney video as well.

Now we’re reading The Phantom Tollbooth. I started out reading it to him, but he’s taken over the job and is reading it to himself every night. I will try to track down the video to that, as well.

The library’s program also lets kids write out their book report, or just draw a picture about it. If you haven’t yet signed up for a summer reading program in your area, go online and see what there is. It’s not too late – and anyway, you could just turn it into a summer-slash-fall reading program.

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Summer reading tips

How’s your summer going?

Have the kids been reading? It’s mid-summer; now’s the time to encourage them to pick up a book. You know the research – kids who don’t read during the summer experience a big slip when they get back to school in September. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen this year.

The kids have done some camp, they’ve done some cottage, they’ve done some staying up late and watching extra TV, going to movies. C’mon, it’s time to get those kids reading.

In many libraries, you can sign your children up for a summer reading program. You child gets a big poster for his wall, and every time he reads a book the librarian gives him a sticker.

The wonderful part for you is that you get to overhear him telling the librarian about the book he’s read. Or, since my son didn’t want to tell the librarian, he told me – outlined the entire plot of The Wizard of Oz the whole way to the library. It was a special moment that I’ll remember for a long time.

So c’mon – no excuses! Turn off the TV. Let them get mad at you. And then let them stumble across the pile of interesting books you’ve just happened to put on their bed.

For some excellent summer reading tips, take a look at this article.

And here’s information about the Toronto library’s summer reading program. You don’t even need a library card to sign up – just walk in. And you get a great booklet with games, mazes and stories.

I know they’d rather be playing on the Wii. I know they’re going to be mad at you (at first). But it’s time. It’s tiiiiime. Check the categories on this blog for fun activities and books that will make reading less like punishment and more like fun. Like, maybe you can read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together and then watch the movie? That’s fun!
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Avoiding library fines

Libraries don’t have to cost a lot of money.

Here are some tips:
1) Renew your books online. When your deadline is approaching, go online using your library card, and hit “renew” for all your books. It buys you some time.

2) If your books are overdue, renew them online anyway. It stops the bleeding until you can get to the library.

3) Use your child’s card. Library fines are a lot cheaper for children than adults. So take out materials on a child’s card whenever possible.

4) Have a separate basket for library books. Our son’s is at the foot of his bed. Library books automatically go in there, so we’re never scrambling to find them amongst his other books.

5) Post the due-date tape near the front door. The library gives you a printout with your due dates. Hang it where you’ll see it often.

You did get your child a library card, didn’t you? If not, take him to the library and help him get his own card. When he checks out his first book, I guarantee you a parenting moment you’ll never forget.

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Why I love the library: Part I

There are so many great ways to enjoy the library.

This post is the first of many, as I share with you a love of libraries. Being enthusiastic about libraries rubs off on children, and the library can become a place where kids feel comfortable and empowered.

When my son was about three years old, I was, like many new mothers, exhausted. I wanted to go to the library, but how? My son didn’t want to go (and I didn’t need a war on my hands), and I knew that it would just end up being work for me, as I reshelved the books he got down – never mind finding time to browse.

Here’s how I solved it. The library has computers! And they have a half-hour time limit. So I would tell my son, “Let’s go to the library.” (Screaming, whining.) “You can use the computer for a little while.” (Zoooom! – coat on, shoes on.)

He always understood that when the computer shut off, that was it, time to go – I never gave him “another” half-hour. During that 30 minutes, I could browse the children’s books to my heart’s content. He would go on the very kid-friendly and educational TVO website. The added bonus was that he got to use a computer – but not mine.

And after the library computer shut off, I would let him pick out some books, and we would check them out together. He got familiar with the people and the layout of the library, and began to understand how it all worked and to feel like it could be his place, too.

We also do a ton of other things at the library, so there’s not much danger of my son seeing the library only as his “computer arcade.” Still, I respect other parents’ views on computers and not allowing their kids to use them until they’re older. I’m just saying this was something that worked for me. I welcome your comments!

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