Research continues to show that libraries can engender a love of reading and literacy in children. The authors of the publication, The Role of Public Libraries in Children’s Literacy Development: An Evaluation Report, highlight the role libraries play in developing literacy skills with this quote:
“A survey of recent literature reveals that libraries continue to play a major role in fostering literacy in our nation, particularly among those segments of the populations that need special assistance in developing literacy skills, such as preschool and elementary school children…One study found that children who had been exposed to a library preschool program showed a greater number of emergent literacy behaviors and prereading skills than did those in a control group…”
In order for libraries to have success in the development of literacy, parents and teachers need to be partners in the process. Parents should help engender a love of reading in children, especially from an early age. Making the library a source of reading material helps to make it possible for children to have a constant supply of books, magazines and other reading material. Many libraries now lend eBooks, which are popular with teens.
The Parents’ Role in Literacy Development
Parents play a vital role in developing literacy skills in their children. Apart from taking them to the library, the way parents portray the library, and the types of books they encourage their children to read are also important. Parents should also be sure to include both fiction and non-fiction books when selecting reading material for their children.
As a children’s librarian, when parents come to me for help with reading material, I sometimes recommend comics. For many children, especially boys who do not like reading, giving them comics is a great way to encourage them to read. In fact, I have seen many non-readers who got hooked on comics, and then moved on to other types of reading material.
Good Books to Encourage Kids to Read
Not all children love reading, so parents have to find ways to encourage a love of reading, which will lead to improved literacy. Even children who love to read need the right books to keep them reading. hen in doubt, enlist the help of a librarian.
The right choices will help children of all ages and reading levels to start enjoying reading. Some great titles for the reluctant readers are:
- Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief – This mix of adventure and the mythical will keep most kids enthralled.
- Dav Pilkey: The Adventures of Captain Underpants – One reason this book is great for reluctant readers is the comic book-like black and white images that accompany the pranks of two mischievous boys.
- Gordon Korman: The Island Trilogy series – A must-read adventure for any kid. Even reluctant readers will want to keep reading the story of these shipwrecked children on their island adventure.
Most boys gravitate towards action-packed stories and mysteries. Getting boys to read means that parents have to know which authors write specifically for boys. Some popular authors and books that will appeal to boys include:
- Simon Bartram: Man on the Moon – This wonderful book is geared towards boys aged three and up.
- JK Rowlings: Harry Potter books – No list of reading material for boys (and girls) is complete without including these.
- Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid – This six-book series about the “wimpy” boy Gregory will appeal to boys of varying ages.
- Louis Sachar: Holes – This book, about an innocent boy sent to a detention center, continues to entertain since its release in the 1990s, and will appeal to reluctant readers as well.
Great Books for Girls
Many authors have written books geared towards girls, but it is also interesting to note that many girls also gravitate to books for boys. Some of the more popular titles for girls are:
- Kay Thompson: Eloise – This book was originally published in 1940 and it continues to entertain girls the world over with antics of the titular character.
- Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games – Long before the movie, many girls were captivated by this book about Katniss Everdeen’s quest to survive.
- L. M. Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables – This heartwarming tale of 11 year-old orphan Anne will appeal to many girls.
How to Choose a Good Book for your Child
When choosing good books for your child, let the library and the librarian can become your partners in encouraging reading. They are aware of which new books are out. Based on lending patterns, they can help you choose the best books for your children. Librarians know which books are hits with kids, not only based on their frequency of use, but also by reading reviews.
Libraries are also a good source of reading material if you are unable to buy the books for your children. Some children are such voracious readers; not all parents can keep up, as purchasing books can be an expensive endeavor.
In addition, programs offered by the library, such as the story time, summer library programs and games, can be starting points to develop a love for libraries, books and reading. These programs are especially useful for preschool children who are just learning to read and developing literacy skills.
Parents should partner with their local library, and take advantage of all that the library has to offer to help build a love of reading in their child.
Celano, Donna and Neuman, Susan B. The Role of Public Libraries in Children’s Literacy Development: An Evaluation Report. (2001). Pennsylvania Library Association.
Farmer, Lesley and Stricevic, Ivanka. Using Research to Promote Literacy and Reading in Libraries: Guidelines for Librarians. (2011). International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
Lyman, Helen Huguenor. Literacy and the Nation’s Libraries. (1977). American Library Association.© Copyright 2013 Jessica Crooks, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Parenting