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Question 1: I am raising my children to be bilingual. What can I do to make them strong readers?
Question 2: What types of books should I have available for my young reader? Do you have any specific book recommendations?
Question 3: I work in a public library and want to be sure that our resources are accessible to all our patrons, including those with disabilities. What resources should we make available and where can we find additional information about making libraries accessible

Question:

I am raising my children to be bilingual. What can I do to make them strong readers?

Answer:

As a parent, you play a critical role in helping your children develop into good readers! You may already be taking the most important first steps by exposing them to books and by reading books with them. By keeping books within easy reach (such as in a basket on the floor), they can explore them when interested. If you don’t already do so, you may want to consider making a quiet time with books part of your children's daily routine. For example, you can read stories together right before naps or bedtime or after a bath. If reading stories becomes a consistent part of their daily routine, they will most likely come to expect, enjoy, and be calmed by this relaxing and intimate time that you share.

The following articles will give you ideas on ways to promote literacy and to share the joy of reading together:

By giving your children positive experiences with books, you are instilling in them a genuine, lifelong passion for reading and learning — a priceless gift! Please use the following link to find numerous resources about English Language learners. Many of these articles address the concerns of teaching bilingual students in all the academic areas.


Question:

What types of books should I have available for my young reader? Do you have any specific book recommendations?

Answer:

To keep your child engaged with reading, you should keep a wide variety of books on hand, and make sure to include books on topics that interest him. In your book collection, keep books that your child currently enjoys so he can read them over and over again (repeat readings are great – they help kids feel comfortable with the story and begin "reading" it along with you!). You should also add new books regularly, and make them a little more advanced than his current collection. He will let you know – probably through a lack of interest – when a book is too difficult. Picture books are good because they allow you to point out words and help him begin to recognize letters and their associated sounds. Pictures also give clues to the story for young children who are just grappling with language–learning, but if he can follow the plot of a book without pictures, that's wonderful! The important thing is to go at his pace, but maintain a rich and varied literary environment.

For more information on reading to young children, check the following section of our site:

We also have a great list of recommended books for kids by theme, award winning books, etc. that you can order directly from amazon.com through our site.


Question:

I work in a public library and want to be sure that our resources are accessible to all our patrons, including those with disabilities. What resources should we make available and where can we find additional information about making libraries accessible

Answer:

Many public libraries have grappled with the same issues, so looking at how other librarians have worked to make their libraries accessible is a good start. Many libraries provide their patrons with online resource lists (on accessible websites), in addition to offering a wide variety of accessibility options within the library building. It may be helpful to get in touch with other librarians, either online or in person to ask how they met their patrons' accessibility needs. The American Library Association has a number of excellent resources available to assist librarians in thinking about and respecting the needs of their patrons with disabilities. The ALA also has several options for connecting with other librarians, from online forums to an island in Second Life.

Some accessibility options for your patrons may include providing helpful links on your library website, pointing users to both local and national disability groups. Within the library, it is important to make sure that media is accessible — books on tape, audio books, captioned videos, descriptive videos, magnifiers and large print books can all help ensure that a variety of media is accessible to many of your patrons. Many librarians also provide patrons with assistive software and hardware where needed. This may include reading and writing software, software capable of reading text aloud (text-to-speech), software that can enlarge text on the screen or Braille embossers for blind patrons. Check out the Montgomery County Public Library website for a good example of the types of tools you might offer. For further ideas, check out the ALA's disability-specific Tip Sheets on Learning Disabilities, Children with Disabilities, Autism & Spectrum Disorders, and many others.

"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio