Even though I’m not teaching school these days, but rather staying home with my own kids, as summer approaches I still find myself worrying about reading.
“Huh?” you ask.
Yes, you read that correctly: I worry about reading over the summer. It’s not uncommon that children who make extraordinary gains in reading ability over a school year actually drop down several levels after a summer away from school.
That’s because they aren’t reading enough at home.
No matter a child’s age, parents and caregivers should be reading to or with them every day! Even toddlers… even babies…
So, what’s a parent to do when the classroom library shuts down for the summer? One great thing about living in Fairfax County is the expansive public library system. Children can have their very own library card and devour books as fast as their little brains can take them in.
And best of all, the library is free!
That’s all good if you have school-aged children who (hopefully) behave in libraries, but, say your child is little and sees a yellow duckling in a book and immediately starts waddling about the room, quacking loudly? Little kids enjoy books in a more active (and loud) way than adults do. When the children’s section is not very separate, it’s a strain on parents to read comfortably with their kids.
Unfortunately this is often why parents avoid the library.
Patrick Henry Library in Vienna, is right off the main drag of Maple Avenue, near the cross section of Center Street. I love this library because the children’s section is far away from the serious quiet folk (a whole foyer of separation). The librarians take pride in decorating with seasonal bulletin boards, book character puppets, and colorful carpets. There are comfy spaces to cozy up with your children and read a good book (or two… or twenty…). It is a great space for summer reading time.
The story times at Patrick Henry are wonderful too. Each one we’ve attended has been led by a librarian or teacher as opposed to a volunteer. This results in questioning and activities that develop reading readiness and skills, which makes this teacher mommy happy. Don’t think that means these story times aren’t fun though!
At a recent Superhero Story Time, my son dressed in a cape and “learned to fly.” We left with a printout of superhero song lyrics and a superhero book list, all leveled for preschoolers.
I love this library because of the children’s section.
Interactive and engaging story times like that are hard to come by. Patrick Henry offers weekly story times for various age groups, including babies, and numerous other literacy activities for kids. Check their website for updated event schedules, and pencil (or better yet, pen) them on your summer calendar.
Fairfax County Public Libraries is also sponsoring the 2014 Summer Reading Program for preschoolers through high-schoolers, beginning June 20th. Children earn a coupon book full of great prizes including free and discounted items. That’s a great incentive for your children to read, read, read over the summer so I can stop worrying!