Education starts way before you ever set foot in the door of a school. Parents who read to their children give their children a big advantage over those who don’t. The seeds of literacy are planted at an early age. Children who read together with a relative are usually at or above grade level when entering school.
You can show little kids how to sound out unfamiliar words or associate meaning connected to pictures in books. Slightly older kids can start to guess at the meaning of a word by looking for context clues. Kids of all ages can make connections between books and their own lives or tell how they are different from the characters in the book.
The point is to get kids reading, but do it as a family activity. Kids also watch to see if the grownups in their lives like to read. If they see you reading, they are more likely to want to read as well.
However, not all families have access to a lot of books at home. That’s where the free services from the Seattle Public Library comes in handy. Adults and kids of all ages can come in and sign up for a library card. After that, the whole world opens up. They can check out books such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” or “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
Also, not everyone realizes that there are library branches all over the city. Each one offers unique classes, and they have “read-alouds.” There are 27 branches in Seattle and even a mobile library for those who cannot get to the library.
If you think “read-alouds” are just for kids, consider the fact that they have adult authors come and read as well. For example, on October 1st, journalist and author of “Fast Food Nation” will come to the Central Library to read from his new book “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety.”
Because the library is so concerned with creating equal access for all, they started the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) which helps those with disabilities or special needs gain access to library materials. They offer adaptive equipment for those who are blind or deaf.
So, there is no excuse, for kids or adults, not to pick out a book and start reading.