My husband Ira and I were both fortunate to grow up in book loving homes. When we had our son, Levi, in 2014 we knew we wanted to foster a love for reading and books at an early age. Being in a rural area I wasn’t sure how many programs we would have access to locally, but I was delighted to discover an abundance right here in Albert County.
We have also made use of the Talk to Me and Read to Me early language services programs offered by the Anglophone East School District. When I was pregnant we attended a Communication Begins at Birth course they offer, and we started Levi as an infant with the Babies in the Library program. We also participated in the Parent-child Mother Goose program which was a wonderful program full of songs, rhymes, and reading. Levi had a free consultation session as well, with a speech-language pathologist through these programs.
Visiting the library is also something we do regularly, and we have participated in story time groups, special activities, and reading events. Levi loved filling out his March break Bingo card last year, as well as joining in the Canada 150 Summer Reading program. This fall Levi was old enough to begin the Literacy Express program in Hillsborough, and he has been very much enjoying the literacy activities and play time with friends. It’s very common for him to ask to stop at the library when we are out and about. The library is a special place for him, and we’ve visited them all in the greater Moncton area!
One more fairly new option that is offered by our New Brunswick Library system that we take advantage of, is the Books-by-Mail (BBM) service. We no longer have the Bookmobile option in the Riverside area, so because of our geographical location in relation to our closest library, we are eligible. I filled out a profile online for myself and Levi, and have books selected for us each month based on our preferences. They arrive monthly in the mail box. When we are finished with the books, we simply drop the bag back in the mail to be returned to Moncton. This is such a useful service, especially in these winter months when we don’t get out as much! It’s always exciting to see what books they choose for us.
Reading has become a daily enjoyment for Levi. We play games, read books, sing songs, recite rhymes, and tell silly stories, throughout our day. Bedtime is not complete without our reading and story time routine. Levi is famous for, “Just one more book, please Mom!” as I’m trying to get him to sleep. We try to incorporate fun literacy activities and use expressive language in our everyday lives as much as we can. One fun reading activity I integrated into the month of December was an advent book pile. I wrapped holiday and winter theme books so Levi could open a new one every day before Christmas. I used books we already had, and also picked some up second hand to have enough. It went over very well and was a little something extra special each night, building up the anticipation to Christmas!
I would encourage you to get involved in these beneficial, free programs offered in our area. They are here for us to use, and are wonderful to grow readers with strong relationships to books. Our family has enjoyed all the programs and services we have participated in, and we will continue to make use of any we can. Happy reading!
By Erica Muise