Books and Bananas

November is National Family Literacy Month:

Studies show that children who read with a caregiver typically gain literacy skills quicker - reading with a family member allows children to ask questions, learn the meaning of new words, and strengthen their understanding of different texts. Studies also show that reading benefits children’s writing skills, memory capacity, and attention span, meaning that tons of different skills are being targeted when you get comfy with a good book!   

In case you haven't heard about this neat program, families should take advantage of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This program is made possible by the United Way of Central Kansas. This is an opportunity to receive free books for children 0 to 5. See the website to learn more and get registered.

LES will be celebrating National Family Literacy Month through our Books and Bananas event on November 21st. We are inviting family and friends into the classroom to read a book or two with students and enjoy a banana for breakfast. We will give students the chance to get to the classroom and then have guests arrive to LES at 8:10am to read books until 8:30am. We look forward to you joining us on November 21st.

Here are 9 other ways to celebrate Literacy Month at home:

1. Visit your local library with your family.  In addition to books, find out about all the programming your library has to offer.  You'd be surprise that many offer classes, workshops, movie nights, reading groups, and more for all ages on a vast variety of topics. 

2.  Join and participate in a book club or start a book club.  Make it fun and get creative with your book club meeting by having activities or serve food related to the books your group is reading. 

3.  Try reading in a different format.  If you are use to printed books, try reading via audiobooks or digital books.  Many public libraries and universities have books that patrons can borrow digitally.  You can download audiobooks and digital books to any smart device such as a phone, tablet, or laptop for free. 

4.  Create a book exchange in your neighborhood.  Simply set up a small container (some folks have used large birdhouses or mailboxes) to house the books and protect them from the elements and a sign that reads, "Take a book, leave a book," for your neighbors to share books. (We have one at our LES Library.)

5.  Donate books.  Everyone has a least a few books that they have read and that are now lying on a shelf someplace in their home waiting for eager eyes to read them again.  Consider donating your gently used books to a local charity. Save the environment by also recycling damaged books rather than tossing them in the garbage.

6. Share the love and joy of reading.  Volunteer to read to patients in the hospital, to children in preschool, or to the elderly in a nursing facility.  It costs nothing to be kind and to share your time with those who could use your smile and an open book.  (We are always looking for volunteers to read with or have our students read to at LES.)

7.  Write a note.  Writing is a major part of literacy.  Consider writing notes of appreciation, thanks, or love to the special people in your life.  The recipient of such note will appreciate the time and effort you took to hand-write it along with the sentiments you expressed.

8.  Discuss what you've read.  Whenever we experience something good, we talk about it.  Talk about the books that excite you to people around you at work, at home, on the train, or anywhere.  Share what was interesting, provocative, or amusing.  Your excitement will be contagious and cause your listener to want to read as well.  

9.  Read, read, and read some more.  Read about any and everything that interests you.  No matter what it may be, read for the enjoyment of reading. 

We hope that you continue to work with your children on literacy even after this month.