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.
Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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