Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Love Reading: Find Reading Resources on a Budget

   All right, I said I would do these three posts. I'm gonna do it! A lot of this post will be oriented around the local library. I know some people may be in rural areas or their closest library may be small, old, or underfunded. I'm assuming if you are reading this that you have internet access too. I'll do my best to cover all the bases on this topic because I think it's very important for everyone to have access to literature. There are so many free or very cheap resources out there! There is absolutely no need to spend a fortune at Barnes & Noble on new books.

For starters here is a list of awesome online resources:

  • Scholastic has a wealth of free information for parents as well as free printable activities and coloring pages for kids of all ages. Go here for their information on age-based language and reading development. And click here for a number of book lists and reading challenge plans.
  •  The International Children's Digital Library and We Give Books are free websites "stocked" with hundreds of books that you and your kids can read online.
  • The Veggie Tales (I love them!) website has digital books with fantastic moral stories.
  • There is an incredible assortment of free educational material on almost any topic you can imagine (Biology, Civics, Weather, etc) for PreK up to 12th grade on the PBS LearningMedia website.  There are videos, learning modules, and printable labs and worksheets.
  • Crayola also has a ton of free printable pages. You can find anything from basic letters and numbers to Presidents of the United States
  • Jump Start has several resources available for new readers. You'll find a lot of school curriculum possibilities here from spelling to public speaking. There are worksheets and short stories as well. 
  • Go here on to search for local book fairs and related events in your area. 
  • World Book Online and have kid's encyclopedias.  
  • Don't forget to look through Amazon's Kindle eBooks, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Apple's iBooks websites or apps for very cheap or free digital books.
     More than likely, your public library has a website. Google it or call them up and ask.  This is going to be your best bet for local resources, reading material you can borrow, and free or cheap programs for your kids. Even our modest library has an incredible selection of books, audio books, DVDs, and research media. Many libraries have story times and art activities for different age groups throughout the week. They may host summer reading contests for kids that anyone in the community can participate in. Here is another example of a sweet reading program at the Rogers Public Library (it involves a dog!). If you need help finding a library in your area go here.

    To find low priced books for your own collection go to Goodwill or other local thrift shops; spend one Saturday looking through yard sales; search Craigslist and your local Freecycle group or create an ad with specific requests; call the library or public schools or check the newspaper for information about local book fairs and festivals. Through these avenues you should be able to find lots of books for under one dollar.

   This Noob Mom's Tips:

     1.) I have found it really easy to do simple things like pointing out letters and sounding out words on signs (and the numbers, colors, shapes, etc) while we're out and about. It's not anything extra in that we don't have to make time for it. I don't have to buy anything. It really turns into quite the game. Now, Bitty Bug (3.5) will even point out signs and colors of things as we drive down the road. She's beginning to recognize familiar logos and signs. This is great since it makes those connections with the words and sounds!
     2.) Don't be afraid to read or explain things that are slightly beyond their capability. Adding words into your vocabulary within the context of things they all ready know can be an effortless way to help them learn. The more I think about approaching my kid's reading and writing as if they are learning a brand new language the simpler it seems. It can take a couple years for an adult studying avidly to become fluent in a second language depending on the language itself and the context of their learning. That perspective has helped think about this in a new way.

     In the end, the highest expenses you may have will be printer ink, any fees for a library membership, and possibly a few extra bucks in gas if you go to the library often or go in search for new books. Budget accordingly and you'll find it is very easy to access a lot of literature for nearly nothing!

    Don't forget to have fun reading with your littles. Reading is not only the key to escaping into whole new worlds but also to being capable of learning about almost anything we can imagine!
And for your convenience (and mine) here are the links to the first two posts of this little series:

Love Reading: Teaching Kids to Respect Literature

Love Reading: Printed Books vs. Electronic Books


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