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Folkerts: Library fun for young ones

School is out for the summer, but many local libraries are gearing up once again for a busy and hot season. Librarians at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library recently visited District 101 elementary schools to talk about our science-themed Summer Reading Club, Fizz, Boom, READ!

Simply put, children through sixth grade can earn prizes for reading during the summer.

If you’re a parent of younger children, however, you might be thinking, “why would I sign up my baby, toddler, or preschooler for Summer Reading Club? He can’t even read!” 

Odds are that this is true, but the great thing about our Summer Reading Club is that your entire family can participate, no matter how young or old!

For those children who can’t yet read, caregivers or older siblings can read to them. Bedtime story, anyone? Children can also listen to stories on CD, Playaway, or electronically with TumbleBooks and downloadable eBooks.

Babies under age 2 can participate in the Summer Reading Club by doing activities such as playing with blocks or singing/listening to the alphabet song. As always, there are fun prizes for all age groups as well. 

Now you might be thinking, “I can read to my toddler, but she won’t sit still for more than two minutes. We can’t finish a book.”

This is also true for almost every parent and toddler. There is no requirement, however, to finish a book from cover to cover in one sitting. Read for a couple of minutes here and there, which is pretty easy if you keep books in several areas of your house, in your car, and in a diaper bag for when you’re out and about. Pick out favorite scenes from a book and talk about the pictures. Or, take a break from books and do a different activity for a while. 

Your child will gain benefits simply from having positive experiences with books. If you force her to sit still just to finish the book, chances are she won’t want anything to do with them in the future.

Need other free activities for your youngest children this summer? Our Read ‘n’ Rhyme Romp classes are for babies 3 to 23 months and their caregivers; Toddler Time is aimed at children 2 to 3 years old and caregivers. Both classes feature fun songs, books and interactive rhymes. New this summer is Baby Play – a drop-in class where caregivers and babies can play together, as well as pick up some ideas on getting ready to read. 

Class information is available on the Thomas Ford library’s website,, under the Events tab. 

We hope to see you all this summer – especially those who are being pushed in a stroller or just learning to walk on wobbly legs. The library is for them, too!

Dana Folkerts is a youth services librarian at Thomas Ford Memorial Library

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