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Andy Miller, Bettendorf Public Library

The Bettendorf Public Library invites all parents with children age 5 and under who have not started kindergarten to join us for this year’s Toddler/Preschool Reading Program: Read with a Porpoise.

Yes, it is supposed to be porpoise.

The program runs from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, and to complete the program children need to listen to 20 stories. Because the program is “Read with a Porpoise,” aquatic mammals will be decorating the Youth Services area. Although shark-lovers will be happy to know that despite not being porpoises, a few sharks will be swimming around too.

Everyone wants their child to succeed in school, and one of the best ways to do that is by reading to them. Reading to children helps them learn how books work. Turning pages, reading from left to right, letter identification and letter sounds are all learned while a child listens to a book being read. Parents just need to ensure that they are making the reading an exciting, enjoyable experience so that the child grows up realizing that reading is fun.

Bettendorf Public Library also invites parents and their children to attend our youth programming that helps children develop pre-literacy skills and a love of reading. Two different storytimes offered at the Bettendorf Public Library are the Tales for Tots programs and Preschool Storytimes.

Tales for Tots is offered Monday mornings at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m., while Preschool Storytime is offered Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings at 10 a.m. These programs consist of stories, songs, finger plays and lap-sit activities that demonstrate to children a joy of reading and help develop pre-literacy skills.

We also offer a Yoga and Stories program on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. that has yoga instructors reading a story while guiding participants through calming yoga poses. A bit of stretching and a good book is a fantastic way to prepare for bed.

Our last weekly program is Child’s Play on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Child’s Play has a short storytime followed by time to interact and create with toys designed to encourage imaginative play.

In addition to the Toddler/Preschool Reading Program, Bettendorf Public Library also has the “1000 Books before Kindergarten” program available for children ages 0 to 5 who have not started kindergarten. This program can be signed up for anytime before the child begins kindergarten.

The goal is for children to listen to 1000 stories before starting kindergarten — so the earlier they sign up the better. Children receive a small reward for every 100 books they complete. Parents can register their child by stopping by the Youth Service’s Desk to pick up a booklet.

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Andy Miller is youth services librarian assistant for the Bettendorf Public Library.

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