Some Ideas for Reading and Library Time
We should not take it for granted that our grandkids are spending much time in libraries these days. With constantly changing education legislation, school library time is a likely candidate for being reduced or removed altogether from the daily schedule. And, with so much focus on technology, kids are spending much less time with actual books in their hands. Add in after-school activities and social commitments, and it may be difficult for their parents to find time to encourage pleasure reading. However, the benefits of regular reading stretch across all aspects of the curriculum and will greatly help your grandchild, regardless of what his or her academic strengths and weaknesses are.
As an involved grandparent, you can make a significant impression on your grandchild’s attitude toward books and reading. If you live far away, you and your grandchildren can start a book exchange where you mail favorites back and forth to each other. With smaller children, you can read over the phone to one another, or check out the same picture books from the library and both look at them while reading. For older grandchildren, you can check out the same young adult books that they do and read them separately. Then, have a conversation about what you liked and didn’t like, major plot points, interesting characters, and the overall meaning of the story. If you live in the same area with your grandchildren, take them to the library!
Local libraries are not only treasure troves of books, but also of engaging educational activities for young children. Your library probably has a story hour where an employee or volunteer reads several books with related themes, followed by a discussion or craft activity. Local libraries will often host performances for children, exposing them to theater or music of the world. They also hold fantastic used books sales where you can buy wonderful children’s titles for pocket change. If you are lucky, your library has a computer center just for kids where they can practice using a keyboard and mouse to play educational games.
One of the greatest benefits of going to the library is just that, going to the library. By making this a special activity, your grandchild will develop an appreciation for this place and a reverence for the row upon row of books inside. While they are still young, build upon the joy and excitement that comes with reading. Show them that reading is a treat, a pleasure, and empower them to pursue the knowledge and adventure that books hold. At some point in their school career, reading will start to become a chore. Continue to encourage them to read for pleasure and even make it a special thing that the two of you do together at home or in a designated place. Whether you realize it or not, your attitudes and habits are a major influence on your grandchildren. Make a mission to introduce and model the joys that reading can bring. The effect will be truly life-changing.