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News in Youth Services

Monday, March 7, 2016

Foster a Love of Reading

Some of my best memories revolve around bedtime.  No, not because in a few minutes the house would be quiet and I would have time to catch up on laundry and other chores that one always falls behind in.  I loved this time because it gave me the opportunity to curl up in bed with my children and read some of their favorite stories (I swear I can recite Dr. Seuss' The Foot Book and Green Eggs and Ham in my sleep) or the latest Magic Tree House installment by Mary Pope Osborne.

There have been several recent studies about parents reading aloud to their students and frankly, I think the findings are frightening. Thirty-four percent of parents report that they have never read a bedtime story to their child.  Other parents simply stopped reading to their children once they became independent readers.  The same study found that 84% of students enjoyed being read aloud to, while 68% described it as a special time with their parents (Weale, 2015). Yikes!  I read with my children up until the end of middle school and I learned so much about my them in that safe and comfortable bedroom setting (plus you get to read some awesome young adult novels).  Even in high school, they would say, "Mom, you have to read this book!"  It was music to my ears!

So I'm here to persuade you to find time to read or listen to stories with your children.  The library offers family story times on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings.  Miss Nancy is such an energetic storyteller that  you are going to want to attend each week.  Miss Liz, Miss Kara, Miss Leann, Mrs. A and I are all here to make great recommendations for fun bedtime stories or great chapter book series for families to share (I totally love the Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry for third grade and up).  There are also audio books you can listen to in the car or at the dinner table with your children (Miss Liz is an expert in this area).  When reading together as a family, it really is fun to hear children's predictions on what is going to happen next or "One more chapter please!"  Plus studies show that the more a child is exposed to literature, the better they do in school.  Another big win!

Photograph:  Alamy
We live in the age of technology, so even if you are stuck late at work one night or are out of town, Skype or FaceTime are magical ways where you can connect with your children to tell them a quick bedtime story.  Or grandma and grandpa can do the honors once a week.  There are many creative ways to keep storytelling alive in your family. 

Author Frank Cottrell Boyce, is passionate advocate for preserving the bedtime story. “Great ideas come from people who are able to bring their whole selves – emotional as well as rational, memory as well as logic – to bear on problems. Bedtime stories give reading an emotional depth. Why would you ever stop? This is something people have done since the days of sitting around campfires. To stop doing it now is to break the great chain of our being.”

So don't break the chain, instead add another link.  Make the Roselle Library a frequent stop and check out our great assortment of books.  Let us help make you and your child a lifelong storyteller!

Good books to read
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Kropp,L. G.  (2015).  Keep bedtime stories alive.  School Library Journal, p. 20.

Weale, S.  (2015).  Bedtime story is key to literacy, says children's writer Cottrell Boyce.  The   
      Guardin.  Retrieved from:

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