Fall is here and with it comes school bells, new clothes, and a backpack filled with school supplies. However, young children are often left out of all the excitement, because they’re too young to go to school. To provide young children with an exciting opportunity of their own, Bettendorf Public Library is having a Toddler/Preschool Reading Program that runs Oct. 1 through Oct. 27. This program is for children ages 5 or younger who have not started kindergarten. In order to complete the program, the child will need to be read 20 stories. This year’s theme is Reading is Magic and will coincide with magic-themed story times and magical creatures filling a wall in the Youth Services Department.
Bettendorf Public Library promotes reading to young children because listening to stories is an essential step in eventually learning to read. Before learning to read children need to know how books work: pages turn, English is read from left to right, and that those weird squiggly lines are letters. Young children learn these concepts as they are being read to by a caregiver. Parents and caregivers should not focus on providing formal instruction to children who have not started school; instead, they should focus on ensuring that reading with their child is a fun activity. The time spent reading together helps children develop a desire to read independently. Beyond reading motivation, listening to stories helps children learn new vocabulary words and helps the language portions of their brain make strong neural connections. Yes, reading to small children physically helps the development of their brains!
Bettendorf Public Library promotes literacy development year-round through a combination of programs. For newborns, infants, toddlers, and their caregivers there is Tales for Tots, a program designed to engage active children through short stories, finger plays, lap-sit activities, song, and play. Tales for Tots is offered Monday mornings at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Preschool story time for children ages 3 to 5 is offered Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings at 10. Preschool story time has more stories than Tales for Tots, but still gives children the opportunity to move by including songs, finger plays, and felt board activities. Child’s Play is for 2 to 6 year olds and is offered Saturday mornings and includes story time, arts and crafts, and music and dance. Children also have the opportunity to play with toys that promote imaginative play, such as dress-up clothes, plastic food and puppets.
The 1,000 Books before Kindergarten program also is available for parents and children. The program asks that a child be read at least 1,000 books before starting kindergarten. This can be done through either a booklet picked up at Bettendorf Public Library where parents will write the titles down or through an app that can be downloaded to a smart device.
No matter the child’s age, Bettendorf Public Library has the books and programs to support their reading development.