With all of the technology available today, the feeling of an actual book in one’s hands may have been all but forgotten to some. It’s not, however, a thing of the past. Learning to read and an appreciation for books has never been more important. There are so many ways to encourage youngsters to read and cultivate a lifelong love for books. Connecticut offers some great reading programs and endless resources for books on a budget, making it easy for kids of all ages to get their read on.
101 W. Putnam Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06830
It’s never too early to engage a child in reading and it is never too late to encourage reading for recreation. The Greenwich Library offers programs year round for kids of all ages. From story and fun time for babies under 12 months to book clubs in age brackets up to the sixth grade with bilingual and crafting programs thrown in for good measure, it would be difficult not to find something to spark any child’s imagination. The Summer Reading Program runs from mid June through early August and will keep your youngsters reading and engaged through a variety of activities.
Southbury Public Library
100 Poverty Road
Southbury, CT 06488
Offering a number of age-appropriate reading programs, story times and even a weekly evening event which encourages jammies and a child’s favorite stuffed animal, the Southbury Public Library is a place where kids can cultivate or discover a love for books and reading. Story times include craft making for younger children and there are monthly book discussions for school-aged children. Summer reading programs begin in June and require sign up. The Junior Friends of the Southbury Public Library is a group open to volunteers in the 4th to 12th grade and involves children taking part in internal library activities within the Children’s and Teen’s departments as well as community outreach programs.
Norfield Congregational Church Fair
64 Norfield Road
Weston, CT 06883
Date: June 8 from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
Books are an invaluable resource for children, but like everything else today, the prices can be prohibitive for the budget conscious. Used book sales offer many gently read choices and can include the most popular kids’ stories from the bestseller lists of today as well as many of the classics. Plan for a day of fun for the whole family at the annual Norfield Congregational Church Fair where there are vendors, games, food tables, a huge tag sale and a book tent. Here you can teach your children to hunt for reading treasures where they are a fraction of the original cost. Make it a day to remember.
Summer Book Sale Pequot Library
720 Pequot Ave.
Southport, CT 06890
Date: July 26 through July 30
The Pequot Library summer book sale is a large-scale event spanning five days and targets all types of readers from the collector to the causal. Books are double the marked price on the first day of the sale and $5 per bagful on the last with regular- and half-price days in between. Children of all ages are sure to find reading material that will delight their minds, satisfy their thirst to read and be gentle on their parents’ wallets, making it easy to encourage youngsters to stock up. Books are arranged in clearly marked categories in outside tents for ease of navigating over 100,000 volumes.
Reach Out and Read Connecticut
If your child is a prolific reader and has books to spare, consider donating any extras to a program that encourages youngsters to discover the joys of reading for themselves. Reach Out and Read Connecticut, in partnership with a number of the state’s doctors, clinics and hospitals, distributes books to young children through a service that encourages families to read and grow together. In an effort to better prepare children to succeed in school, this literacy outreach in some cases provides a child with his or her very first book through a “prescription” to read for 20 minutes every day. As part of the the mission, gently used children’s books are also on hand in providers’ waiting rooms to entice young patients to read while they are waiting. Teaching your own kids the importance of helping others is as valuable a lesson as the books will be to the next children who enjoy them.
Theodora DeBarbieri is an animal advocate, columnist and local TV show host residing in Connecticut. She is owned by a number of dogs, cats and birds. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.