A few months ago, Gorgeous Millie, the teacher led play group that my daughter and I attend in Austin, Tx, sent out a blog post on book clubs for kids. In it, Allison Metz (PhD in early childhood development) touts the benefits and give suggestions for making one work.
I’m a stay at home mom now, but I taught elementary school for several years before having my daughter, and I have a strong interest in early literacy. Our house is full of books, and my 2-year-old daughter loves to have my husband and I read to her, or simply flip through a favorite book on her own, yet the idea of a book club for kids her age never occurred to me.Here’s what Allison has to say on the topic:
"Book clubs are ideal for children as young as 2.5 to 3 years old. Participating in book clubs at a young age increases emerging literacy skills, creates a life-long love of learning, provides opportunities for social development with peers, and, depending upon the other activities the book club provides, can increase fine motor skills and enhance creative thinking. Extra added benefits are the adult bonds formed by parent participants and the opportunity to spend some special time with our children."
I was immediately sold and within a few hours of reading the post, one of the moms from the group sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in starting our own toddler book club. Several of us jumped at the suggestion and our group was born!
I highly recommend reading the post as there are also several great tips for making the group developmentally appropriate.A few suggestions of my own:
- Make a point to purchase and read the book several times in advance of the meet up. Your child will be familiar with it and likely more interested in the reading and activities than if they have never seen it before. I hosted our first get together and my daughter was thrilled to see her mother reading the book (that she had come to love) to the group.
- As you would expect, a toddler book club is nothing like a book club for adults or even older children. It’s really more like a story time, except with a book they already know, and in an intimate setting, with a smaller group of children. Be okay with the fact that attention spans are short and that children might come in and out of the activities at different times.
- Once you have a particular book in mind, do a search for activities to go along with it. Many times, publishers, teachers, or even other parents have come up with great ideas and materials and posted them online.
- The most important aspect of the club is to foster a love of reading, so keep it fun!
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Our group decided that once a month is doable for us and committed to that.
Our most recent book was “I Want My Hat Back”, by Jon Klassen. We were all encouraged to wear our own hats had a great time sharing our love of reading and socializing!
Jennifer Rustgi, Kid Culture Austin
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