Your local library is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. It contains an abundance of books which can be borrowed for free. Introduce your child to this hoard of reading riches and teach her to love the library.
If you don’t have a local library, a good online substitute is AbeBooks.com. And while it’s not free, there are tons of Abebooks.com coupons around that you use to make it virtually free.
First, get your child a library card. Be sure to get one for yourself and let your child see that you love the library too.
Most libraries have a children’s section. This contains a range of books for all ages; picture books for small children, beginners reading books, novels for ages 5-12 and teen fiction for ages 12 and up. Give your child a tour of the library shelves. Show him how the books are arranged in alphabetical order by author’s surname and let him find where his favorite writers are located.
Point out how reference and fact books are arranged by subject. Help her find the books about space travel, insects, fashion design, ancient Egyptians, deep sea exploration; whatever grabs her interest. Leave the choice to her. She might surprise you by being keen on a subject you didn’t know she liked.
When your child asks a question, make a note of it. Next time you visit the library, teach him to find the information in a book. Explain how the contents page and index are used. Show him how to search for a particular word, name or topic. Research skills are an important life tool which can build his confidence by enabling him to find answers by himself.
Teach your child how to ask the staff for help in finding a book. Once your child feels familiar with the surroundings and the staff, the library will seem a less intimidating place. She’ll be more likely to want to return.
Remember to be aware of the length of loan times to avoid any overdue fees. It’s also a good idea to teach your child library etiquette. Keep voices down and respect other library users.
Look out for events and programs in your library. Many libraries hold story telling sessions, summer reading programs, writing workshops or music, arts and crafts events. Take part in such an event and your child will regard the library as a fun place.
Make this trip a part of your weekly routine and you’ll soon have your child asking, “When are we going to the library?”