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10 Teachable Moments at the Library

Show your child that the library is more than just books — it’s the starting point for all kinds of interesting investigations.

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Cognitive Skills
  1. Go on a scavenger hunt for information. Write down a specific subject (such as a certain type of insect), important figure (the gross domestic product of a country), or date (the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.), and challenge your child to find that piece of information in the shortest amount of time she can manage.
  2. Track the news. Grab a newspaper and a world map, and ask him to find the location of international stories. Extend the exercise by tracking the percentage of international coverage by country or continent.
  3. Investigate the past. Many libraries include local history or genealogy sections. Spark your child's curiosity about the world of the past by suggesting that she investigate a piece of town history.
  4. Set goals. Brainstorm goals such as "12 books before spring" or "100 pages each week." Then help him keep a reading list and celebrate achievements with a small celebration.
  5. Offer an opinion. Has your child just read a book she felt strongly about? Keep the momentum going! Learn how to write a great book review, and then encourage her to share what she's reading with other kids.
  6. Boost literacy. Everybody wins when your child volunteers to read to younger kids. Those children get the enormous gift of being read to, and your child sharpens his read-aloud skills.
  7. Experience the world. Is your child interested in far-off lands? Many libraries offer videos, magazines, and music from different countries in addition to books. Explore your library's collection, and get closer to a foreign locale.
  8. Dip into a book. Here's a quick exercise to keep the words flowing. Have your child select a book and randomly flip to any page. Without looking, have her point to a word. Ask her to come up with a sentence that includes that word in a meaningful way.
  9. Make a word list. While following the trail of an interesting subject or researching the answer to a nagging question, your child is sure to come across words that are unfamiliar. Encourage him to keep an ongoing list, with definitions.
  10. Take advantage of extras. Libraries often offer such engaging programs as reading clubs, book challenges, and other reading-inspired activities. Make a point to investigate what yours has to offer.

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