Love Your Library

Libraries are a vital and often underutilized feature of our society. We are so lucky to have free resources and social activities at our fingertips.

Teddy and Harry looking at books.
Teddy and Harry looking at books.

A Community

A library is no longer a place to tiptoe quietly inside and meekly check out a book. A library is now a centre for the community, providing a space for people to come together, learn new skills and have free access to a number of resources. This includes books, C.D’s and internet access.

Some may argue that any information you or your child wish to search for can be found at home on the internet. And you would be right! However, visiting the library can develop a different set of skills, as children physically look through books to find out information.

Visiting our local library is part of our week as we walk along the canal and into town. Teddy searches the shelves for any sports related books and Harry still loves to look through the picture books. For me, our local library is a place to enjoy spending time with my children as we read and re-read stories together.

Harry checking out the book selection.
Harry checking out the book selection.

Inspired By Books

As we approach the beginning of a new topic, we go to the library and find all the books related to this. Whether this be introducing the children to artists like Van Gogh, or finding out more about different types of animals and their habitats, our journey begins at the library. We are able to take out 20 children’s books from the library for three weeks which is ample time to delve into the books we have chosen. This is a great way for us to begin exploring new themes and I can gauge where the children’s interests lay.

Books are a great way for us to explore new themes. It helps me to gauge where the children’s interests lay.

When we first began exploring the topic of castles, it was the different defence tactics which appealed to Teddy. So, our first hands-on activity was to design and build a cardboard castle with a drawbridge, battlements, towers and arrow slits. This set the scene for all our other hands-on activities in this topic and provided a fantastic opportunity for the boys to incorporate imaginative play, inviting a number of dinosaurs to live in the castle.

Teddy looking at for more football books.
Teddy looking at for more football books.

Developing Literacy Skills

All children will develop their literacy skills at different times for a variety of reasons. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ strategy to learning to read and write. For me, the most important element is providing my children with the space and opportunity to enjoy books.

Our local library helps to provide this as Teddy and Harry can look for books which interest them, inspiring their enthusiasm to read. This may not always be books I would have chosen; however, I recognise that they need to feel excited about what they are reading.

Listening to others read is also valuable. If your child chooses a book which above their literacy level, listening can be an effective way of developing comprehension and vocabulary.

5 Ways To Use Your Local Library

Here are 5 ways you can use your local library:

  1. Set an example - Model reading by checking out books for yourself to read.
  2. Routine - Include visiting the library as part of your weekly, or even bi-weekly routine.
  3. Encourage independence - Empower your children by allowing them to choose books which interest them. They can even check these out themselves using their own library cards.
  4. Sumer Reading Challenge – libraries across England provide this challenge for primary aged children to promote reading alongside craft activities. Ask your librarian about this programme and other schemes.
  5. Library activities – Many libraries provide children’s activities such as Lego club and coding club. This is an enjoyable way to spend time in the library without.

Discover Related Topics

Checking out library books at the beginning of all these topics really helped to introduce Teddy and Harry to the theme.

Year 2
Castles (Free)

Teddy at a local castle ruin.

Year 2
Flying Machines

The boys flying parachutes.

Year 1
Vincent van Gogh

Set up of random paint materials.

Year 1
Seasons (Free)

Going on a winter walk.