Read with Me: Promoting Lifelong Reading

At the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, we take the phrase “lifelong reader” seriously. And when it comes to spreading our love for books and other media, the library starts ‘em young.

Babies in the Read with Me program receive a cute, free t-shirt to celebrate their first library card (must be 0-18months). Parents get a booklet on how to get the most out of reading to a pre-reader. Bring your baby by the desk in the Kids Library and ask for a Read with Me library card application today – or save a few minutes by printing one off at home.

Janet Richardson, who regularly attends Preschool Storytime with her granddaughter, started coming to the library in 7th grade. Now she’s instilling a love of library in her granddaughter. “She’s coming to the library now. It’s amazing.”

Janet’s granddaughter, Temple, who was 2 when they first started coming to storytime, is now 5. This summer, the two spent some quality time at the library developing Temple’s reading skills before she heads off to kindergarten.

Thanks to the early literacy skills Temple learned during library storytimes, Janet can get through their favorite Elephant Gerald and Piggie books without losing her granddaughter’s attention.

“She’s learned to follow a story,” she said. “She learns a lot from the library. She loves coming into the library.”

The library can be used in other ways that improve quality of life. For example, Janet used library resources to help with that all-important aspect of parenting: potty training.

“I recommend it to everyone. It’s good to bring the kids here. They have lots of programs that don’t cost anything and with the economy it’s nice to have that,” Janet said.

Programs like our educational and interactive storytimes are, for many, the gateway to becoming a reader for life. The events nurture children’s social skills and gives them a chance to be read to by someone different. It helps transform children from being passive about reading to enthusiastic about reading, said Melissa Patterson, Patterson Family Childcare and Preschool Program.

“When others show the joy of reading, it makes them want to read too,” Melissa said.

The library fosters a love of reading among its youngest customers with programs like I Love Stories, a special edition of storytime held as part of Kansas Reads to Preschoolers week. Circle Nov. 13 and 14 on your calendar and await our engaging recital of this year’s selected title, Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn.

Our Kansas Reads to Preschoolers events focus on creating an educational and entertaining experience for children 2-5 years old and their parents or childcare providers. It’s free, but registration is required. To register for the I Love Stories, call 580-4565.

A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.