Thursday is Family Literacy Day – a day to really celebrate children and adults reading and learning together!
Lots of studies have shown that reading aloud with your child is an excellent way to both encourage and support literacy and school success. Family life is a busy, busy time but one excellent way to carve out moments together is by reading with your child before bed.
Here’s a few good pre-school children’s book ideas, perfect for bedtime.
First, a little music to set the mood. One of the gentlest children’s music I’ve heard in while is part of a book/CD compilation. Peter Yarrow’s “Sleepytime Songs” has all the classics: Puff, the Magic Dragon, Kumbaya, Brahm’s Lullaby, and more. Lovely, soft songs for sleeping.
A good title for slowing down for the day is “Goodnight, Me” by Andrew Daddo. Softly hued illustrations show a baby orangutan and his mother lovingly saying goodnight. Just the thing for coaxing an active toddler to sleep.
Based on a Balinese folktale and retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, “Go to Sleep Gecko” tells the story of how Gecko comes to learn how there are some things in this world you just have to put up with. MacDonald is an exquisite storyteller and author of many books, for both children and adults.
What can happen to your book when you accidently fall asleep reading? That’s a question Robie H. Harris tackles in her hilarious “Maybe a Bear Ate It”. Or was it a stegosaurus that stomped on it? This one might be a teeny bit scary for the really young ones, I saw some pretty wide eyes at our pajama storytime. But it has a happy ending after all!
Now “Cornelius P. Mud, Are you Ready for Bed” by Barney Saltzberg is just right for the younger set. Momma Pig asks her son if he is ready for bed. Large, bright illustrations work well with the text and eventually, Cornelius is indeed ready for bed.
A true bedtime classic is the story, and generations of children have heard it, of a small rabbit who says goodnight to everything in his room. My daughters loved Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon” and can still quote the opening page from memory: “In the great green room, There was a telephone, And a red balloon, And a picture of …” A very gentle, soothing story.
All of these titles are currently available in the Hope Library. And don’t ever stop reading aloud! Children love to hear stories that might be beyond their reading ability. Stories like the Harry Potter tales, the C.S. Lewis books, or “The Borrowers” – just a few titles that come to mind.
By the way, borrowing from your library is always, always, every single time, free for everyone. And the really good news this month is that there are no longer overdue charges on children’s materials borrowed on children’s cards! So come in and check out some children’s books today. Let us catch you reading!
On a personal note, I have been here at the library and part of this great community for a year now. It’s been a good year, a year of learning and doing, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the library in this coming year – it’s going to be great!
Deb Ireland is the managing librarian at the Hope Library.