There's no shortage of stories in American households. The TV flickers, video games blast and boom, the Facebook newsfeed crawls - all provide stories, in a sense. But what's missing in nearly half the homes in the U.S.? Stories read aloud. At the Kansas City Public Library, we believe that developing a lifelong love of reading leads to educational, professional, and social advantages for individuals as well as communities. And to really take root, the seeds of that love for reading must be sown early in life.
That's why, as part of our Building a Community of Readers initiative, the Library is encouraging Kansas City families to gather 'round the bedtime story and join us for Family Read Aloud Month this November. The goal is to get 500 families to read aloud four or more hours (that's an hour a week) this month. Here's how it works:
- Read aloud with your family for one hour every week throughout November 2011.
- Keep track of your time spent reading on the Family Read Aloud Month reading log, available at any Library location in November.
- Return your completed reading log at any Library location in order to receive one free book and a free book tote bag.
As Director of Children's Services Helma Hawkins says, reading aloud has a lot of benefits. First and foremost, it's fun. "We want to promote reading aloud as a pleasurable experience," Hawkins says. "It brings the family closer together, gives them the opportunity to discuss issues, and it helps shape the family's cultural literacy." The program is open to families of all kinds and is not limited to those with small children. "A lot of parents think once a child can read for himself, why bother reading to him," Hawkins says. "But children can understand several levels above what they're able to read, so by reading to children, you're enhancing their vocabularies and expanding their world." Family Read Aloud month is part of the Building a Community of Readers Family Literacy Project, a series of programs designed to foster a love for reading among children in the community. Funded in part by a grant from the H&R Block Foundation, the Family Literacy Project also includes Reading Partners and Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library, programs that will begin later this year. In the meantime, reading logs, grade-level bookmarks (which feature suggested titles for various ages), book bags, and other promotional materials for Family Read Aloud Month will be available online and in the branches starting November 1. For more information, call Central Youth Services at 816.701.3441.
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