Adults tend to take libraries and library cards for granted. But for young children, a library card is their
first grown-up identification card.
It can be a big deal for kids to sign the back of the card in their own handwriting and to use the card to
check out items, just like adults do. You can make getting a library card and going to the library a special part of your child's
week – an exciting excursion into the world of free books.
This "Literacy Launcher" idea is just one of the basic,
straightforward ways you can promote literacy and make a difference in your community.
A free ticket to learning
According to reading expert Phyllis Hunter, "A visit to the library before the age of six is a life-changing
event. Research shows that children who visit the library before they enter school begin to think of themselves as readers
and begin to think positively about books."
The American Library Association has designated September as Library Card Sign-Up Month. But any time of the year is the right time to make frequent library treks with the neighborhood kids or a preschool or daycare class. It helps to
have a friendly librarian pay special attention to the children in your group. Ask him or her to congratulate the kids on
getting their own library cards.
You'll want the librarian to point out where to find the children's book section, magazines, videos,
audio tapes, CDs, and access to the Internet. While you're there, let the kids find books that match their own interests, whether it's
dinosaurs, trains, or animals. And make note of when special programs will be held, such as preschool story hours, reading clubs,
or puppet shows.
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Maybe you have other ideas for how to encourage reading in your community. If so, send
them to email@example.com.