Raise your hand if you are a little intimidated by the library? You think…what exactly is in there? Will my kids be too loud? I’m not a reader, why would I go there? If you work from home and have kids, you are missing out! Going to the library is one of those strategies that once you start, you won’t ever take it out of your bag of tricks.
We put the library on our weekly schedule for the summer. I usually bring some work and camp out in the kid’s section while the kids look for books. A lot of libraries have play areas for younger kids as well. There are a handful of libraries in our local ‘system’ so we rotate which one we go to every week. It is a FREE outing (minus the $10 I seem to have in fines every week??).
Here is what the library offers, and how it can help you to get more work done at home.
Creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months. (Harris, Louis. An Assessment of the Impact of First Book’s Northeast Program. January 2003)
The library does not just offer chapter books. There are books on every hobby or topic that your child may be interested in. And these are no black and white 1970’s manuals, they are beautifully photographed, cartooned, and designed to captured your child’s interest.
Graphic Novels are a great option for out of school reading. They give kids a break from traditional chapter books, but still keep your kids reading. These are especially great for reluctant readers.
How it helps you:
- Buys you some time at the library to work nearby (if kids are old enough to look for books without help).
- Kids are occupied when you get home with new books and movies.
I don’t think most moms truly appreciate the beauty of a child’s audio book. You can play them in a portable cd player on long car rides, or use them at bedtime. Older kids still love to be read to, and (as long as it isn’t a scary book) it is a great thing to listen to as you fall asleep. We listened to Harry Potter on cd on a trip to Florida one year. One word of caution on the MP3 player ‘Playaways’ you can check out. We ‘misplaced’ one and it was $64 to replace. Ouch!
How it helps you:
- Helps make long car rides more pleasant.
- Makes bedtime easier.
- Kids can listen to the first book in a series to get a foundation for the characters and plot, and then move on to read the remaining books in the series.
- Do I dare say it? They are wearing headphones…
There are loads of children’s movies at your local library that are FREE to checkout. They even have old series like Little House on the Prairie or Full House! We checkout a family movie each week for our ‘dinner and a movie’ tradition on Friday nights.
How it help you:
- I really don’t think I need to explain how movies can help you get more done, right?
We set a limit on checkouts each week for each family member (simply due to being able to find them all on check-in day– hence our usual fines). 5 total items, only one can be a movie.
I allow kids to checkout any type of book that they want (as long as it is age appropriate). If they want ‘fluff’ books or picture books, so be it. As a former teacher, I see the value in reading for enjoyment during the summer or out of school. They are still learning, and reinforcing their reading skills. The U.S. Department of Education found that, generally, the more students read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores (1 http://www.nea.org/grants/facts-about-childrens-literacy.html).
If your kids need some encouragement or to try something new, I have made up a Reading Scavenger Hunt. You can choose your own rewards or have the kids help give suggestions. If you don’t want to offer rewards, just cut off the bottom part of the page.
Click the picture below to grab a free printable scavenger hunt!
I will say, for tweens and teens, rewards are a great way to encourage them to put down their phones.
Some reward ideas:
- Rent a movie
- Get one thing at the dollar store
- Playdate with a friend
- Go out for ice cream
- Play a game with mom or dad
- Stay up 30 minutes later
- Extra computer time
- Dinner at your favorite restaurant
- Park Playtime
- $5-10 gift cards to Starbucks, Target, or Game Stop
What do your kids checkout at the library? How do you use the library as a business resource?