I’ve found our local libraries to be perhaps the best one-stop free resource to educating our children. We’re very fortunate to have many libraries. Here are 10 tips for using your local library to educate your child. Many of these tips come from a hand-out I picked up at our local library; however, I have added some my thoughts as well.
1. Let your child get a library card and teach them responsibility when using it. You might only want to allow them to take out one or two books at a time in the beginning. My boys were around five and seven (or a little younger) when we allowed them to get cards.
2. Be an example! Let your child see you read.
3. Read to your child aloud. You can help expand their vocabulary this way because they hear you pronouncing new words.
4. Go online and locate all of your local libraries and schedule regular times to visit them. Our county library system has a website where we can search for what we want, find which library its at and place a “hold” on it reserving it for us to pick up later.
5. Create or designate a reading place for your child in your home. Make it fun by giving them their own chair, floor mat, or maybe a bean bag to sit in. Designate a small bookshelf to keep their own books on nearby. With a little imagination (and some paint or posters), you could even paint a tree on the wall behind their chair or hang up pictures or posters to personalize the space even more!
6. Ask your local librarian for suggestions. They know the library and can help you find what you’re looking for. Our library has “kindergarten readiness packs” you can borrow to help your preschooler prepare for kindergarten. If you’re homeschooling, you might be interested in my 3 easy tips for creating a unit study.
7. Attend programs offered at your library. We are very fortunate to have so many programs or activities available to us. One of our favorites has been the Little Explorers programs. You can expand on these opportunities by borrowing relevant videos or books on the subject to take home for continual learning.
8. Show your child how to use the computer. Our library has kid-friendly games and you might not be too surprised to see how quickly a young child learns to use a “mouse.”
9. Does your library sell used books and magazines? Ours does and there are great deals to be had. You can cheaply build your own at-home library this way. (See tip #5.)
10. Be sure to look for ways to give encouragement and praise to your child as they learn how to read. Even the smallest of efforts and accomplishments may seem burdensome to a child, so help them along.