This weekend I took my daughter, who is nearly three, to the library. It had actually been a while since we'd been the library together, and I noticed a three things that increased Baby Bookworm's excitement in reading:
- Self-Selection. Being able to pick her own books dramatically increased her excitement in reading said books. The few books that I picked out, we haven't read yet. The books that she picked out? We've read several of them 5 or 6 times already. We read her top picks (the favorite was Soup Day by Melissa Iwai) in the library, as soon as we got home, after nap, before dinner, etc. Her selection process was pretty random, but apparently empowering.
- New Books and Authors. Just having new books by new authors also increased her excitement in being read to. I've been guilty of not visiting the library very often because we have SO many books in our house already. But I must say that we spent more time reading yesterday than we have spent in ages. There's something about having new books in the house, books that we will only have for a limited time, that increased Baby Bookworm's excitement in reading. New authors, too. She is now crazy about Rachel Isadora's books, especially The Pirates of Bedford Street and Uh-oh!.
- Familiar Characters. Seeing familiar characters drew her attention. She spotted the early reader A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton, and scooped it right up. We have all three Bear and Mouse picture books (see two reviews here), and for her, seeing a book about Bear that she hadn't read was like finding a friend unexpectedly waiting at the library. Of course this recognition of familiar characters can be a bit of a mixed bag, as some of the characters that are familiar because of television shows do not inspire the highest-quality books. But for us, with a child who doesn't really watch television shows, this seeking out of familiar characters worked out great.
These particular benefits of going to the library may be obvious to all of you. They should have been obvious to me. One of my Ten Tips for Growing Bookworms series (written before I had a child) was Visit Libraries and Bookstores. And of course there are other benefits of going to the library, too (storytime is good for socialization, the whole environment reinforces the importance of books, etc).
In our case, I think that the large quantity of picture books that we already have in our home has made me a bit lazy about packing up the child and taking her to the library (I mean, we have plenty of picture books here that we haven't read to her yet). This weekend's library visit has inspired me to reprioritize a bit. Yay for libraries!
This post © 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.