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COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Library ready to help get kids back to school

By Lita Barrie, special to the News

These summer days have flown by so quickly; it’s hard to believe that it’s already time to start thinking about back to school. As we soak up the last few weeks of summer fun and summer reading, anticipation is building as students of all ages get ready to head back to school.
If you have a child at home who’s getting ready to go to school for the very first time, we still have some spaces left in our “Get Ready for Kindergarten” program. This free program includes lots of hands-on, literacy-based activities to help kids get ready for school and have an idea of what to expect in kindergarten.
Another great way to get ready to for the big day is to check out some picture books from your local branch or the library’s eBook collection. Reading a picture book about kindergarten is a great conversation starter to help your child talk about their excitement, their questions and even their worries about the first day of school.
Here’s a few fun ones to get you started: Kindergarten, here I come! by David Steinberg; Mom! It’s my first day of Kindergarten by Hyewon Yum; Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt; Kindergarten Countdown by Anna Jay Hayes; and Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis.
For kids and teens going back to school – either happily or reluctantly – make sure your family’s fall routine includes reading. The British Institute of Education released a study last September that confirmed what has long been suspected: kids and teens who read for pleasure perform better at school.
Reading for pleasure is particularly important between the ages of 10 and 16. There’s so much to choose from, so if you child isn’t sure what they like to read, drop by your local library branch to explore fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels. You can also check out the library’s digital collections for eBooks, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks and more.
A great place to start for a reluctant reader can be some of the hot movie releases that started as popular books like Fault in our Stars, Divergent and Maze Runner.
Help make reading for fun part of your child’s back-to-school routine. Visit your local Hamilton Public Library branch in person or online at hpl.ca to find out more.
Lita Barrie is Director of Youth Services and Digital Technology at Hamilton Public Library.
If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800 ext. 335.

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