Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week

Manhattan Public Library is participating in the 2012 Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week, November 11-17, by giving out free books to child care providers in the Manhattan area. The books are funded by our Friends group, the Manhattan Library Association, and delivered to more than 130 daycares with help from the Riley County Health Department Smart Start Program.

This is the eighth year the state of Kansas has declared a special week to highlight the benefits of early literacy. The goal of Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week is for each preschooler (ages 0-5) in the state to have the chosen book read aloud to them.  But the larger mission is for parents, caregivers, teachers, aunts, uncles, and everyone around young children to recognize the importance of reading aloud to their kids every day.  Every moment you spend reading to your child is time well spent.

I was fortunate to be part of a committee of early childhood educators and children’s librarians that chose the picture book for this year’s project, Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn. It is a simple story of a young girl who visits the library with her dad and checks out enough books to read a different one each day of the week.

McQuinn’s illustrations show Lola spending time with both of her parents and with friends, reading books and playing all day.  Lola has an amazing imagination, and she uses stories as a springboard for her creativity.  She pretends to be the various characters from her books, from a fairy to a farmer to a tiger.  Lola stars in some other cute picture books that also revolve around the importance of books.  Lola at the Library and Lola Reads to Leo (the new little brother) are excellent read-alouds.

Lola Loves Stories works great with toddlers because it is not too long, the pictures are colorful and inviting, and the story is straightforward.  It is also fun to read with older children and then use each page of Lola’s story to lead into a new activity.  You can focus on dramatic play and set up a café or tea party, as Lola does on Tuesday.  Later, Lola and her dad are fixing her toy house with tools. Children love building with blocks or pretending to fix things with toy tools.  Showing a child how to use real tools and then allowing him to hammer wood pieces together or use a screwdriver, sandpaper or pliers is an exciting project with adult assistance.  More related activities can be found online with a Lola activity guide and a “tool kit” of ideas especially for early childhood educators.

Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week is a time to highlight the public library. Your child is never too small or too active to bring to the library. We want you to come and enjoy our space.  Daycares or classes can schedule field trips to the library for their own special storytime and tour of the room.  Families can have a great time just hanging out together in the Children’s Room looking at books, using computers, and playing with puzzles, games, puppets, magnets and interactive toys.  Our children’s books and media collections include more than 40,000 items, which you can borrow with a free library card. The library has board books for babies and books on CD for listening in the car.  In addition to many special events year round, our librarians present 10-12 storytimes each week, and this week we will give away a free copy of Lola Loves Stories to each child who attends a storytime.  We hope to see you there!

Published in The Mercury, Nov. 11, 2012

Posted in: Children's Dept, Mercury Column

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