Catherine Roche: Give the gift of reading to your child


Catherine Roche is the director of Braswell Memorial Library.


Braswell Memorial Library

Sunday, December 2, 2018

It’s the holiday season and the absolute very best gift that you can give to the young children in your life is to read with them.

That’s it — read every day. Read the same book over and over if that’s the one they like. Read a chapter book, one chapter a night, if you just can’t read that favorite book one more time. Read anything that might strike their fancy. Show children that reading is important for them and that they are important to you.

Reading with children is easy, fun and rewarding, and it doesn’t have to cost a cent. Start by getting your library card. The library is stocked with children’s books for every interest and reading level. All the public libraries in Nash County cooperate on a one-card system so your card gains you access to materials from Rocky Mount, Nashville, Middlesex, Bailey, Spring Hope and Whitakers. No need to drive out for a visit because the library courier makes deliveries twice a week. Select your location and the library will let you know when your book is available to pick up.

Once you have your card, check out some books. Library staff members can help you find new books that you haven’t had a chance to share and they are glad to hunt up titles on a particular topic for your child. You can check out as many as 100 books, but pay attention to the due date so you don’t get an overdue fine. Books check out for two weeks and you can renew them twice. Renew your books in person, by phone or online.

Use your library card is to check out Tumblebooks. Next time you go online, surf over to braswell-library.org and click on the children’s tab. Bring up Tumblebooks and type in your library card number. Tumblebooks will animate the illustrations and even read the books out loud. You can always turn off the audio feature and read the book to your child yourself. Better yet, turn off the audio and let your child read to you. Even if they haven’t learned to read, children love to tell you the story of books they enjoy.

While you’re on the website, click on NC Kids Digital. NC Kids Digital is a collection of over 105,000 books for children up to fourth grade. You will also find over 32,000 audiobooks. You can access books on your computer or download to your phone or tablet. Best of all, digital books never create a fine. All you need to do to get access is choose your library and enter your library card number.

Bring your child to storytime. At Braswell Library, Mother Goose Story Time for children up to 3 years old is at 10:30 a.m. on Mondays. Preschool Storytime for children age 3 to 5 years is held at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays. There are also lots of programs for older children and families. Storytime programs give you and your child the opportunity to socialize, share some great books and have fun.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a program that will mail books directly to your home for free. Children up to 5 years old in both Nash and Edgecombe Counties are eligible to participate. The Down East Partnership for Children is the coordinating agent for this initiative. You can sign up on their website at www.depc.org or ask at the library to get started.

It’s never too early to start reading to babies. Sign up for the 1,000 Books before Kindergarten Challenge at the library. Don’t let the idea of 1,000 books scare you. If you only read one picture book a day, you’ll be at 1,000 books in less than three years. Reading two books a day would get you to the goal in 16 months. Read 10 books a week and you’ll make the goal in two years. You can count every book you read every time. So yes, reading “Thomas the Train” 50 time counts 50 times. Digital books and audiobooks count, too. Stop by the library to get a reading log and start keeping track. You will be surprised by how soon you reach 1,000.

Reading to children is one of the strongest indicators of kindergarten readiness and reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Time spent reading together is the gift that the children you love will remember for a lifetime.