By Natasha Forrester Campbell
Hollywood Library youth librarian
One of the most frequently asked questions at the Hollywood Library’s Kids’ Desk (aside from where are the superhero books, where are the Pokemon books, and where is the bathroom) is a simple one: What can you recommend for a child that isn’t that excited about or skilled at reading? We’ve got tons of recommendations and lots of great books with high appeal, but there are a lot of ways besides books that you can help kids practice their reading. If you are looking for some stealth literacy opportunities, try one of these on for size:
Play board games! Whether it’s reading instruction manuals, following directions printed on game boards or cards, or playing word games like Codenames or Apples to Apples, sneaking in reading can be tons of fun. Check out neighborhood game stores to find some that your family enjoys, and put a note in your calendar for Hollywood Library’s celebration of International Games Week every autumn.
Cook together! Reading recipes can be an easy and delicious way to practice reading, learn math concepts like measuring, and kids might even develop the habit of fixing dinner once a week. How can the library help with that? We’ve got cookbooks for kids and adults! Start with call number 641.4 and work your way through many different types of cuisines and styles of eating.
Read comic books and graphic novels! Did you know that reading graphic novels can improve your child’s vocabulary? A high-interest format, illustrations that give context along with the text, and a tendency to use more rare or difficult words can all support a child in learning and retaining new vocabulary. If you’re intrigued, check out the Family Graphic Novel Book Groups for grades 2-3 and grades 4-5 hosted at Hollywood Library on the first Sunday of the month.
Enjoy family karaoke night! Our brains are hardwired to learn with music, and kids can read the words as they sing along to family-favorite songs. To help you with this one, Hollywood Library is hosting a Family-friendly Karaoke on Sunday, January 14, from 4-6pm (yes, you’ll be in the library AFTER HOURS!). We’ll provide snacks and a hot cocoa bar to fuel your singing, so join us for this fun event.
No matter whether you are sneaking in some literacy or wearing it loud and proud, Multnomah County Library is here to help. Visit multcolib.org/events for more information about our family-friendly karaoke on January 14, and for other events at your neighborhood libraries. And stop by anytime for reading recommendations and more.