Reading for Fun — and Not Just Classwork — During COVID
When school is in session, it can be easy to get wrapped up in homework assignments, exams, and, during COVID distancing, endless Zoom calls for virtual classes. It’s a very stressful time. For many students, the joy of reading and the fun that comes from reading outside of school work could get lost. We want to remind parents and caregivers that the public library and school library offer students of any age or reading ability the books, ebooks, audiobooks, and videos that can help stressed-out kids and teens get through the new school normal.
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Discovery Through Reading
One thing libraries offer is a vast variety of reading material — from adventure stories to cooking and how-to books to comics and graphic novels. A sure way to tap into a student’s passion for reading is by exposing them to various methods of discovery. Let your student explore what interests them through the form that speaks to them. Let them pick up a fun magazine now and then or check out a book of their interest, for example like building computers or the history of their favorite program or toys.
Schools are great at structuring your student’s learning process and ensuring they are learning materials at an appropriate place. But the public or school library is there to support independent discovery. Your librarians are a guide to this process and can help you help your students in whatever way your child needs. Sometimes, that just means getting to dive into some fun reading material. There is nothing better than using free time at the end of a long school day to engage in reading materials they actually enjoy. By creating positive experiences through reading that encourage students to pursue their own passions, they’ll be more likely to pick up books to browse willingly.
Providing the Right Environment
Students need a relaxing space to unwind at the end of their day of classes. Whether your student is a kindergartener who’s been stuck in one spot all day or a junior in high school trying to get through their AP science course, they will need space away from home. With classes being conducted virtually through the internet, students are spending more time at home than ever. This is great for social distancing and quarantine, but not as great for providing mental breaks as well as separating the aspects of their home and school life.
Indoor library spaces are limited during this time to protect the health and safety of the public. But, you can always look in outdoor spaces your local libraries offer. Many places have outdoor tables and chairs set up that were already in place before the pandemic. Others will offer modern and comfortable patio seating that can still be utilized. Some even have green spaces right outside their doors with lawns that can be filled with appropriately distanced blankets or personal seating that you bring yourself. Introduce these environments to your students to give them time away from “school” in places that are completely devoted to them and their needs and interests.
Beyond the Books-Library Programming that Connects to Your Student
Librarians work hard to curate educational and entertaining programming events that relate to their patrons and help them learn, unwind, and enjoy. Libraries have always been dedicated to providing learning and entertainment resources to their patrons. This is why folks across all kinds of communities feel so connected with their local library.
During COVID, a lot of our life has transitioned to virtual platforms. Like you, libraries have adapted to this era of online engagement and put extra effort into making sure they are still reaching their community with creative programming solutions. There are still plenty of options available for students to use for relaxation whether through virtual game nights or fun workshops they are interested in. By associating libraries to be a place of unstructured activity or learning options outside of their classroom, students are able to bring up positive experiences with libraries and, by relation, reading and books.
The Friend Your Student Needs During COVID-19
Going to school and growing into the person they want to be is a lot for students to handle. Being under lockdown and physically isolated from their friends and teachers does not help. Libraries are a great resource for helping students feel refreshed after an entire day of class. Libraries have always been there to offer a place of peace and discovery to their communities. It’s more important than ever to remember that these institutions can be the place of solace your student may need to get through these tough times. Whether offering plenty of books that take their minds off reality or simply a place to escape, libraries can help students during remote learning.