Like most families, we have our favorite holiday traditions. We decorate our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and, every year, my husband watches Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. When I was young, my father always read C. Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” to my brother and I. When my son was born, I couldn’t wait to uphold the tradition and searched for the just the right version that offered beautiful, detailed illustrations with a classic-looking Santa. I hope your family has a favorite holiday read aloud. If “The Night Before Christmas” isn’t for you here are a couple of other suggestions; of course there are many more possibilities to enjoy as well.
My niece is a tactile learner and uses touch to explore her world. That doesn’t work so well in an art museum or when there’s an unknown sticky substance nearby, but it’s ideal for cooking! She especially enjoys stirring, whisking and manning the salad spinner. Her enthusiasm can be challenging for adults trying to “get things done” but she pitches in whenever possible. This year, engage children in the holiday cooking and they will feel proud to have part in the celebration. Here are some cookbooks to inspire and help make cooking as a family easy and fun!
If you're the caregiver for a school age child, then STEM is probably already a household word. An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM is a focused initiative in the nation's schools and ties in closely with the library's educational mission. Its origins lie with Congress’ America Competes Act, aptly named because when it comes to these subject areas, the consensus has been that our students are not prepared to do the STEM-related jobs we will need filled in the near future.
The library is an invaluable homework help resource even in the Google age. Need a tutor? We provide Literati Public which offers live online tutors in all subjects for all ages. Writing a research paper? Librarians have favorite internet search engines too, but don’t forget specialized online research tools that you can access with your library card; some even provide full-text journal articles. Studying a foreign language or getting ready for an important test? We have online resources for those homework needs too!
Every summer, area school and public librarians are faced with a challenge; find twenty of the best books for middle schoolers that have been published in the last twelve months. We’ve been meeting every two weeks since June, reading and discussing thirty-eight titles. Last week, we chose the twenty books that we believe teens will enjoy and that offer the best discussion possibilities. Besides the fact that we love books and reading why go to all of this trouble? For our Cafe Book program of course! During the school year, seventh and eighth grade students from fourteen area middle schools will read from among these titles and vote on those they feel merit a Cafe Book Top Teen Pick award. The other eighteen are still great teen reads; here are a few of my favorites that didn’t make the cut.
Each February, hardworking area kindergarten teachers connect their students to our kindergarten library card campaign. Our goal is for every child to have the opportunity to explore the wonderful world of books, classes, and events available to them at the public library. With the teachers' help, students can easily register for a public library card and take an important step toward lifelong reading and learning.
Connecting with kindergartners in this way would be impossible to do without the teachers. This year, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Library, one teacher at each branch was randomly selected to receive a Friends' book bag filled with wonderful books for their classroom.
Kindergarten students can join in the fun, too! Any time between now and May 31st, bring your child to any branch. Tell someone at the Children's Desk that he or she is in kindergarten to receive a free prize.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Kindergarten Library Card Campaign teacher prizes!
Some books just aren’t meant to be read alone by an adult sitting quietly on her couch with no children in sight; naming no names of course. They demand an audience so that the actions aren’t just read, but performed, and so that the words aren’t just said, but shouted! You don’t need a room full of children to enjoy books at this level, this is the kind of fun that can be had even if there are just two of you!
Recently at the library, it’s all about George. In preparation for our current Rappahannock Reads title, “George Washington, Spymaster” by Thomas B. Allen each branch has cardboard cutouts of the big man himself just waiting for you to take a selfie. If you aspire to be more like George, then your family can enjoy our scavenger hunt and claim your prize--a George Washington mask!
It is vital for early elementary aged children to read introductory chapter books that they enjoy. Reading is fun, but when you’re just learning sometimes you need encouragement that the hard work is worth it! Even if your young person isn’t ready to tackle the following books independently, they are great read alouds that you both will enjoy while reinforcing the message that--you guessed it--reading is fun!