Young readers learn from both fact, fiction

For young children, the real world is a magical place. The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is as awe-inspiring as a well-written, fantastical story about unicorns. In both cases, children have the opportunity to learn about the world around them and how they fit in it. Both fiction (imaginary) and non-fiction (informational) books and media have an important place in the life of a child.

Growing Readers: Children's books open up windows to another world

Children’s books are powerful. On the surface they entertain with laugh-out-loud humor, magical adventures, and puzzling mysteries. They feed curiosity with fascinating information about an unending array of topics like animals, machines, places and more.

On a more subtle level, thoughtfully crafted words and stylistic images amuse and inform while also teaching children how a story works, what letters are named, and what words sound like; some of the basic literacy skills children will use as developing readers and writers.

'Tis the season for giving the gift of literacy to young children

The holiday gift giving season is here and many parents have contacted me asking for book recommendations. Gifting books is a great idea. It shows children that books, and reading, have value. Books and stories can feed children’s natural curiosity, stimulate imaginations, develop language skills, grow vocabulary and foster empathy.

Are you looking for a book to give to a young child? Try one of these favorites.

• “A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals” by Lucy Ruth Cummins (3+)

• “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts (5+)

Library sparks lifelong love of learning in children by introducing opportunities

During a recent visit to the Homer Public Library, a Paul Banks kindergarten class took over the children’s room. Many in the group were already familiar with the space thanks to storytimes and regular visits with family members to check out books or DVDs. For others, this visit was not just fun, but also a vital introduction to the many opportunities that the library offers.

On your mark, get set, read!

Each month, this column will feature tips on how to include everyday literacy in your family’s daily routine using five familiar practices: reading, talking, playing, singing, and writing together!

Each article will include book and digital media recommendations as well as activities you can try at home.

Reading with children, even before they can talk, is important. In each family, and with each child, reading aloud may happen differently, but researchers confirm it is essential for growing readers.