Your familyís weekly library visit

        Parents sometimes tell me that they have only a limited time to work with their children at home. They want to know what one thing they can do to help make a difference in their kidsí school success.

        I recommend one activity that has the potential to make a tremendous difference: Make it a family practice to visit your local library once a week and have each child check out as many books as he can carry.

        The Palo Alto City Library allows each child and adult to take out up to seventy items at one time, so you may not want to take home the maximum allowable. But you could decide among your family members to take out six, ten, or a dozen items each week. Part of the key in establishing this family ritual is to be consistent about going every week.

        During the week, there will be plenty of time to read and re-read these books. You can expect that your family will have the following benefits from this activity:

  • There will always be something for the kids to read.
  • Reading will become a preferred activity in the house.
  • By practicing reading, it will improve.
  • Increased reading will lead to improved writing.
  • The stories and topics of the books will influence conversations in the family.

        This can mean a shift from talking about things that need to be done around the house (nagging) to the stories and subjects of the books that family members are reading.

  • Older children will practice their reading skills by reading to younger siblings.
  • When the kids ask questions that you cannot answer, you can suggest that they find a book that addresses the question during your next trip to the library.
  • Children will develop favorite authors, characters, and genres of books.
  • You and your children will enjoy your time together - both in the library and at home reading.
  • Childrenís confidence and attitude about learning will improve as they have the weekly opportunity to choose books that are meaningful to them.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson