Open a picture book, plop a toddler in your lap, and start reading out loud.
With each turn of the page, the youngster will soak up the meaning of new words, the rhythm of language and the joy of receiving the undivided attention of a big person.
The Timberland Regional Library will give families plenty of activities and ideas to make more of those moments happen in its annual Family Read Aloud program.
For the next seven weeks, the 10th annual program will feature a series of events connecting reading, early learning and family fun. The celebration encompasses two national events: Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Day on March 2, and children’s author Beverly Cleary’s birthday and D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Day on April 12.
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“Reading aloud together is one of the most important gifts that a parent can give a child,” Ellen Duffy, TRL Youth Services Coordinator, said in a news release. “Children learn best when they’re having fun and interacting with loving parents and other caring adults. Reading together nurtures family relationships and sends children a strong positive message about the value and fun of reading.”
Timberland’s program encourages families to read together in every room of the house. Eager readers can pick up a drawing from the library to mark their progress.
All ages are encouraged to participate, but the program focuses on families, child-care groups and classrooms with children from infancy through third grade. Research shows young children who are read to every day do better in school.
“It is in those early learning years that reading aloud has the most effect on the ability to read,” Timberland Library spokes- woman Leanne Ingle said. “We promote having fun with it rather than getting stressed and worried because your 6-year-old didn’t know that word.”
Families can pick up free Read Aloud kits at all Timberland libraries. Kits include:
• Free paperback copy of “Read to Your Bunny” by Rosemary Wells, compliments of the TRL Foundation.
• Original drawing of a house and its rooms to color.
• Stickers to place on the drawing as the family reads together in rooms of their own home.
• Program information and a reading log in English and Spanish.
• Read-Aloud House door hanger.
• List of books that are especially good for reading aloud.
• Entry form for a prize drawing.
Debby Abe: 253-597-8694
READ ALOUD EVENTS
Nearly every branch of the Timberland Regional Library system in Thurston and Mason counties will have Family Read Aloud events. For a complete list and tips on reading aloud to children, go to www.trl.org. Here are events:
• Saturday, Harmonica Pocket’s Dr. Seuss Birthday, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Music and theater with audience participation celebrates Seuss and some of his best-loved stories.
• April 6, Linda Severt’s “Juggletunes,” 11 a.m. to noon. Circus arts, puppets and music that inspire kids to read.
• April 8, Family Game Day, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. Play board and electronic games.
• Thursday, Harmonica Pocket’s Dr. Seuss Birthday, 10 to 10:50 a.m.
• March 24, Reading Magic with Jeff Evans, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Celebrate reading with magic and favorite story book characters.
• April 10, Beverly Cleary Birthday Party, 3 to 4 p.m. Celebrate with cake, hats, singing and book readings.
• Saturday, Harmonica Pocket’s Dr. Seuss Birthday, 11 to 11:45 a.m.
• March 20, Creative Conjuring with Jeff Evans, 1 to 1:45 p.m. Science stunts, wacky inventions and magical mayhem.
North Mason (Belfair), 360-275-3232:
• Thursday, Harmonica Pocket’s Dr. Seuss Birthday, 4 to 4:45 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Birthday Party, 11 to 11:40 a.m. and 4 to 4:40 p.m. Play games, listen to stories, and have fun celebrating Dr. Seuss.
• March 20, Creative Conjuring with Jeff Evans, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. (See Hoodsport, March 20).
• April 6, Henry Huggins has a Dog and Ribsy is his Name, 2 to 4 p.m. Dog-gone good art projects. Young children may need adult assistance.
Compiled by staff writer Debby Abe