What to Pack
- Library card (if you don't have one, you can get one when you're there)
- Book wish list
- Book bag (or two!)
- Reading glasses (if necessary)
- Listening ears
- Explore online. Check your library's Web site for open hours and register as necessary for any special events or story hours.
- Provide meltdown insurance. Make sure your child is well-fed and well-rested before you go.
- Decide on your mission. Let your child help make a book wish list (a sneaky way to practice his writing/drawing skills). Does he want more books by Mo Willems? More Olivia books? More dinosaur or firefighter books? What's the latest Caldecott winner? What books did you love as a kid that you simply must share?
- Get the lay of the land. After you arrive, scout the perimeter with your little explorer. Can he find the various sections of the library—the baby books, the alphabet and number books, the picture books, the info books, the beginning readers, the poetry books, and the chapter books? Then go on a scavenger hunt for extras like mobiles, magazines, a goldfish tank, posters, arts and crafts tables, the toy corner, and essentials like bathrooms and a drinking fountain.
- Surf, search and find. Sit at the computer together and show your child how to find favorite topics or titles. Most programs allow you to hunt by title, author, subject and key words.
- Take a closer look. Dig out baby videos, photos and scrapbooks to enjoy with your snack.
- Ask the experts. Your children's librarian is a goldmine of information you'll want to tap. She'll ask about your child's interests and steer you to both best-sellers and sleeper hits.
- Investigate. Choose a book to read together, asking these questions along the way: Looking at the cover, what do you think this book is about? Where do you start reading on the page? Where do you go next? What do the pictures on each page tell you? Do you recognize any words in this book? What do you think is going to happen? Will you "read" it to me?
- Check 'em out. Empower your child by handing him the library card and putting him in charge at checkout time.
- Schedule your next visit. When you get home, help your child jot down the books' due dates on your calendar—the perfect date for a return visit.
- Read all about it. Check out Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, The Library by Sarah Stewart and Bats at the Library by Brian Lies.
Bonus Explorer Activity Boost sequencing and storytelling skills with this game. Cut out panels from a newspaper comic strip that has a clear visual plot. Have your child put the pictures in order and then tell you the story in his own words.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at Doratheexplorer.com.
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