Category Archives: reading

Play at the library

Trending at libraries this fall: a closer tie between play and literacy.

During the past few years, libraries have become re-imagined digital centers, but a new emphasis is to intentionally grow readers from the bottom up.

As fall schedules gear up, look for storytimes geared to 18-36 month olds. Activities will probably include puppets, flannel board, finger plays and more.


Be selfish, for once

Instead of simply encouraging your child to finish his assigned summer reading list, be selfish, for once: pick up his book and read aloud to your child.

There’s something wonderfully fulfilling and satisfying about the process.

When reading aloud to a child, we know we’re doing something right. That’s a plus. But it’s personally rewarding, too, to snuggle up and share a good read.

So escape the pile of wet swim towels dumped on the floor and lemonade spilled on the counter: grab your child and his book and start reading to him.

Audiobooks downage

Instead of clicking on a screen, boost literacy: turn on an audiobook.

Some research has shown significant increases in both comprehension and recall after using audiobooks.

Listening to children’s stories is a favorite activity for families with smart speakers.

Research doesn’t connect smart speakers to good readers, but every student can benefit by polishing literacy skills before school begins.

The return of vintage books

Surprised to see familiar books on your child’s summer reading list?

Classics like Make Way for Ducklings, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and On Top of Spaghetti are some of the vintage picture books that were popular when today’s parents were young children.

The nostalgia afterglow is continuing this summer, as reflected in the picture books that another generation of parents and children are enjoying together.

Exciting (really!) libraries

Look for more school-library partnerships, as checking out books to meet summer reading requirements will be merely one of many options.

Library directors have made intentional efforts to link with summer learning initiatives. Mobile media centers and STEM-focused “maker spaces” will be popular with kids and parents. Librarians are especially trying to engage entire families in digital literacy programs.

Educators and librarians hope the result will be to inspire a lifelong love of learning. I echo that hope.

Summer reading lists: a new reality

After horrific school shootings and incidents of violence during this past school year, elementary and junior high summer reading lists include at least title with a theme of survival.

Some books are set in catastrophic events that really happened; others are fiction, but most showcase personal resilience and strength.

Middle graders are especially attracted to these adventures. Whether tied to a specific historical event, the environment, a character or person, stories on lists this summer might have a new reflection of realism. What a sad commentary on the times in which we live.

Forgive, forget and read

An amazing number of treasures are uncovered each spring, as students clean out backpacks, desks and clothes drawers to mark the end of the school year.

Last fall, the three major public library systems in New York City offered a single day of unconditional amnesty to everyone age 17 and under who had late fees. What a benefit, for students whose accounts had been blocked because they hadn’t paid the fees.

I was hoping other library systems might offer a similar program of unconditional amnesty to mark the end of the school year. Reading lists will be coming home soon, and it would be wonderful to forgive and forget, so students could dig into books this summer.