One of my children’s favorite activities was that weekly trip to the library and now it’s my grandchildren’s favorite too. They love to choose next week’s books, participate in crafts, storytime or other fun activities, play on the computer and meet their friends all made possible by their local library. Another of their favorite activities is the daily naptime and/or bedtime ritual of reading books of their choosing with mom or dad. We started library activities and reading to our kids while they were still in diapers and now our children are doing the same with their children. Our kids continued their love of reading and the weekly trip to the library all through their school years and which continues to this day because of the exposure they received as a child. Many times we would find them reading beneath the covers long after “lights out” was called.
Now I have the opportunity to accompany my grandchildren to the library and watch the smiles on theirs and all the children’s faces as they listen to the storyteller and watch her bring the story to life by various props and music as she engages them in the story. I think to myself how lucky these kids are to have a library where they can develop a love of reading and have fun activities that emphasize learning. I wish children on the Rez could have these same experiences.
There is an attempt to expose kids to reading, the main OLC library brings a book to read to the classroom monthly and Head Start teachers do read a book daily, but this still isn’t enough time spent with books. Because books are not readily accessible, mostly due to the cost, they don’t end up getting into the hands of kids when they’re young which is exactly the time they need them if they’re to develop good reading skills. Not being able to read well and understand what they’re reading makes school difficult for children as they age and progress into the upper grades. The work keeps getting more difficult and they’re not able to understand their lessons or even do effective research for their assignments which results in frustration and eventually dropping out of school. This is why Sew For Kids is so interested in providing books and activities to kids (starting while they’re in diapers) so they master reading and develop skills that will see them through their school years and beyond.
These are just a few of the benefits children will reap from this book project:
- Get parents and kids reading together and bonding and developing a love for books at an early age.
- Expose kids to books about various subjects so they’re learning to read and also learning about science, math, geography, music, poetry, etc.
- Allow kids to have their own home library where they have a choice of what to read. Children do have favorites as many of us know as we read the same book for the 100th time!
- Allows sharing of books among friends so kids have access to even more books.
- Builds up the Head Start library
- Teaches children to respect books and how to take care of them.
- Teaches children what a book is, that it has a cover, stories have a beginning, middle and an end, we read from top to bottom, left to right, pages are numbered and that a person wrote the book and drew the pictures.
- Helps develop comprehension skills as kids answer questions about the story, re-tell it in their own way or read it back to themselves.
- Helps kids relate stories to their own life experiences.
- Allows a book to be read over and over again which reinforces the learning experience.
- Teaches new words and thus expands their vocabulary
- Improves attention span and listening skills.
- Provides hours of entertainment.
- Shows that books can take on many forms, the story is in the book but can also be made into a play, movie, song or recited as a poem.
I’ve been searching for books, new and used, fiction and nonfiction for the project, and will come up with my themes based on the book’s subjects. I plan to include 3 books in each of the bags and will come up with some fun ideas for activities related to the book theme. There’s bound to be an assortment of topics kids will be exposed to as we’ll all have different books in our bags. Not only will children learn by participating in this project but their families will too when they bring the bags home and read and do the activities. If there are enough bags donated, teachers can use some of the excess in the classroom as teaching tools.
The literacy bag, in conjunction with the craft bag we hope to give each child, (theirs to keep) should provide plenty of learning opportunities. If you’re only interested in providing books for the classroom or to give out to children for their home library please send them to Lisa Grimes here. Let us know here at SFK, facebook or Yahoo group if you’re joining us in this project and if you can provide a craft and/or literacy or skills bag. Thanks to those of you that have already signed up for this important project. Check out our Pinterest site for ideas to include in your bags and the links below for sample pages to give you some ideas for themes.
Thanks for all your help!