Ok here we go with the rest of my thoughts on toddlers and books. (Part one is here). It’s been two months but I’ve been distracted and having a hard time pulling my thoughts together. Finally, I decided to just publish what I have and let the rest go.
How do I make the most of my time at the library
You may remember that among other questions about toddlers and books, Lucy asked about how to find good books at the library while also minding the wandering children.
First, does your library have a web page? Mine does. With my library card and a pin number, I can log on and browse their collection from the comfort of my living room. I can also place books on hold not only from my library’s collection but from any of the libraries in the network. And I can place interlibrary loan requests from any library in the state. The library emails me or calls me when they come in and I have a week to pick them up.
So when we go to the library for our weekly story time, I can spend the time riding herd on my three kiddos and keeping them out of trouble. Then when we go to check out there is a pile of books waiting for me behind the desk which I have pre-selected. (Oh and can I mention how much I love our librarians? They know us by sight, know all the kids’ names, even Ben’s, and usually pull my hold books out before I even present my library card.)
Another thing I do is I generally let both of the girls amass a huge pile of books on a table and then right before we go I triage and grab a few that look most likely. Because there were so many in the pile, they don’t notice and don’t remember the ones that get left behind.
So I suppose that then begs the question: What books do I reserve?
I get my ideas for picture books to reserve from so many sources, it’s hard to list them all but here goes….
I have quite a few favorite bloggers who frequently write about books they have enjoyed.
Love2learn.net is always a favorite resource of mine (I’m a sometime contributor but I love all the reviewers there). You can subscribe to their RSS and be informed any time a new review is posted. And then there is Ana’s picture book of the week at the Love2Learn blog.
The lovely Sarah of This Heavenly Life, whose girls are about Bella’s and Sophie’s ages, has a regular feature highlighting their favorite library picks—and she’s got a Mr. Linky so other moms can join in with their own blog posts.
I love trolling Elizabeth Foss’s sidebars and scooping up suggestions from her seasonal book baskets.
Likewise Melissa Wiley, who always has her finger on the pulse of the kid lit world. I’ve spent so much time scouring her blog archives looking at her excellent suggestions.
I recently discovered Little Lamb Books, a treasure trove or reviews by Margaret Perry, who seems to be a kindred spirit, a lover of books. She doesn’t have children of her own; but she has very discriminating taste and an eye for beauty and also adds very helpful disclaimers about questionable content.
Cay Gibson’s Cajun Cottage is a wonderful bookish place. (And I love her Picture Perfect Childhood and Catholic Mosaic books as resources for finding more, more and more picture books.)
Finally, Amy Welborn at Charlotte Was Both occasionally writes about picture books she gets for her boys. She’s been rather quiet of late; but maybe once they finish moving into their new house I can hope for more posts about books.
One final thought on choosing picture books: Don’t feel that your child has to understand every word of the books you read to him. Or even most of them. I think its a great mistake parents and even some teachers make, thinking that children will be lost when confronted with a bunch words they don’t know. In fact, young children enjoy the sound of language, especially the sound of your voice, you the beloved parent, and often don’t care so very much about the content of what you are reading. Just think of nursery rhymes, which are almost all nonsense.
It isn’t hard to tell when what you are reading is too much for a young child. She grow bored and wanders away or start demanding that you turn the pages (or she turns the pages for herself). How much text can be on a page before a child will lose interest varies from child to child and even can vary depending on a child’s mood or how tired she is. For Sophie right now it’s about two longish sentences. Bella can handle an entire page of text so long as there is a picture to look at. (Or in the case of Pooh, there needn’t even be a picture.)
For example, Bella loves having Dom read her articles out of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics (when she’s sitting on the toilet—we keep them in the bathroom magazine basket)
So don’t decide what books to read to your child based on your child’s speaking vocabulary or even their comprehension. Just read to him and he will eventually learn the words from context as he grows.
Also, going back to the topic of favorite board books, Elizabeth Foss has a post up about her sweet little Sarah Annie’s current favorite board books. Looks like some good ones.
So are there any good bloggers I’ve missed who write about children’s books? Any other tips on taking toddlers to the library?