Start 'Em Reading Early

Start 'Em Reading Early

     The other day in the library I heard a mother tell her child, "Honey, we have that book at home, let's get something different." As a mother of four children, I remember reading the same favorites over and over. I could probably still recite "Mr. Brown Can Moo", and my youngest is 14-years-old. I confess we even checked out "Llama Llama Mad at Mama" from the library more than once, when we had our own copy on the shelf at home.

     Kids love to read the same book over and over. Studies show that children get several benefits from rereading books. Repetition increases their vocabulary. It also helps them anticipate the story and then understand what happens. Children also like the familiarity of known characters, which is why they enjoy books in a series like Pete the Cat, and Nancy Drew.

     Parents may get tired of re-reading children's books, but adults like familiar characters too. James Patterson published 22 adult books in 2021, many of them in one series or another. Adult patrons put their names on hold for new releases by authors like C.J. Box and Diana Gabaldon who write book series. Good authors create memorable characters for readers of all ages.

     Rereading books to children has several advantages, but reading lots of books to your kids benefits them as well.

     Studies have also shown that reading five books a day to pre-kindergarten children gives them a huge advantage. Reading books helps children with reading and vocabulary development. Five books a day before kindergarten turns into around 1000 books. Nobody wants to read the same book 1000 times, and nobody can afford to buy their child 1000 books. 

      Somewhere between reading the same book a zillion times and buying 1000 books is where the library comes in. The Gering Library has 300 board books and over 2100 picture books. These books are just right for this age group. Kids of this age enjoy nonfiction books too. We have a large selection of books about animals, trucks, sports and other topics that interest young children.

      Once children start reading on their own, they need access to early reader books that have 8-10 words on a page. This helps them to build on what they learn at school. At this stage, they like to challenge themselves with different books as well as reread favorites.  Miss Christie, the Youth Services Librarian at Gering Public Library, just got a box full of early reader books. They are on the display waiting to be checked out.

      Two of the new early reader books are, "Donkey Hodie Helps an Elephant" by Adam Rudman & David Rudman and "Follow That Dog" based on the Netflix series Chico Bon Bon.

      I confess, as an adult, I have read my favorite book more than eight times. The first few re-reads I understood jokes that had gone over my head in my earlier reads. In later rereads I concentrated more on character development. I understand the comfort of re-reading a favorite. I am also very grateful for the huge selection of adult books I can read once and then return to the library.