This weekend the Central Library will be hosting the Pacific Science Center’s Super Cool Science Show (Saturday, October 20, at 2 p.m.) where liquid nitrogen will take center stage in a variety of fun demonstrations. What does an exciting science show have to do with literacy and your new reader? A lot, actually, I’m glad you asked.
For one, it’s very hard to read words when you don’t know the meanings. Science education introduces kids to a wide variety of vocabulary words about the world around them. A second reason is motivation. Children are naturally curious and when they realize that reading can lead them to the answers they want to know, they will be more motivated to push through the hard parts of learning how to read.
You also may ask…does nonfiction count? It seems like every reading list is made up of tons of great fiction titles. Teacher, parents, and librarians (me included) sometimes forget that some of the most engaging stories out there are the ones that are completely true. Not every child wants to read about Ramona, or gets excited about Captain Underpants. They may prefer reading about how to care for a pet, how snow forms in the sky, or the life of an astronaut. Fiction is great at providing a narrative storyline (important for comprehension skills) and at teaching social-emotional skills. But many nonfiction titles provide one or both of these in addition to compelling facts. So in short, yes, nonfiction absolutely counts. (P.S. Anything that gets kids reading counts.) That includes reading articles in magazines, or following a set of instructions.
If you have children ages 7 to 9, consider signing them up for the Slime and Science series at the West Seattle Branch in November on Thursday evenings from 4 to 5 p.m. A librarian will engage kids with a number of fun science activities.
In the meantime, we hope to see lots of new readers, ages 5 and up, and their families at our show this weekend. We’ll have a big display of nonfiction books and magazines, on a variety of subjects, written specifically for new readers available for check out.
Upcoming programs for new readers at the Central Library:
- Comics Count! Creating Graphic Novels on Saturday, October 27, at 2 p.m.
- Build a Bob Book with Lynn Kertell on Saturday, November 3, at 2 p.m.
If you drive, keep in mind that we have inexpensive parking in the Library garage (enter on Spring Street, between Fourth and Fifth). It’s just $6 for all-day parking on weekends.