We are so thankful for our sponsors at Jefferson County Public Library for providing this wonderful opportunity to experience their Raise a Reader program firsthand!
My four year old daughter has been expressing more interest in reading over the past few weeks, so when I heard about the Raise a Reader program through the Jefferson County Public Library, I hopped on the opportunity to attend.
I went in thinking that there would be some type of story time activity (a favorite of ours) and maybe a booth or two with some information on how to check out books and helpful tips on how to get your child to read. I was wrong — there was SO much more! From the variety of activity stations to a bean-bag toss alphabet game to informational booths about local businesses, there was something for everyone!
Entering a world of imagination
After a quick glance around the room my daughter set her sights on the ‘Tickle Monster’ table to begin our afternoon. This story is all about repurposing the parts of a monster to make him less scary – his horn becomes the moon, etc. At this table they simply had two cupcake tins and plastic balls in each of the cupcakes to jump start their imagination. My daughter and her friend instantly started playing pretend with us, stimulating their mind for reading, without even knowing it.
Side note: We actually learned at this event that Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau won the 2016 CLEL Bell Award Book for PLAY. The book encourages children to engage directly with the story as they deconstruct the monster and repurpose his parts. Make sure to add this to your library list!
Model play encourages reading
Skipping along to the next station, we were introduced to model play, and how verbal instructions can greatly encourage reading and creativity. At this particular table, we found a bin full of cut up sponges. The kids learned to build a tower and make patterns with the sponges. We did this by showing our children and working through the instructions together, verbally. Modeling is such an effective way to teach something new!
Our final adventure was a visit to the ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm’ table. (I apologize now if this song is stuck in your head the next 10 minutes). The children cut and glued shapes onto a paper lunch bag to make a makeshift farm, and then there were little animal cutouts inside. The kiddos took turns picking animals out of the bag and then making the noises. The oinks, moos, clucks, and neighs were a joy to hear as you moved around the room.
An afternoon of smiles
The best part of the day, according to my daughter, was the adorable kid sized tote bag that we received for being one of the first 300 guests through the door. It was packed with a snack (important to a four year old) and some other key information about reading. Bonus, it’s the perfect size to carry home library books! I loved watching her smile and seeing her big brown eyes widen in amazement as she learned so many new things. The diversity of activities, which I couldn’t even begin to cover them all, were what made this event such a success!
We couldn’t leave without checking out a book, completing the ABC puzzle, and reading three more books. The activities that we were introduced to through this wonderful program, combined with reading afterwards, was just what my daughter needed to get even more excited about reading at home. She left the library with the biggest smile on her face.
I encourage you to attend one of the Raise a Reader fairs going on now through October 15th at various Jefferson County Public Library locations. Not only is it a FUN way to spend a Saturday with your family, but there are some great tips to get your children excited about reading and introduce them to the wonderful world of books!