September 16th, 2014

Listen Up!

listeningOne of the most often asked questions by parents at the library is how to help their child be a stronger reader. Like books, struggling readers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and cultures. A child’s ability to read is a result of various factors, and may sometimes be influenced by a language barrier, medical condition, or learning disability.

Trained educators know that early intervention can make a world of difference for a child. Many techniques and strategies, some not involving letters or words at all, can dramatically increase a child’s ability to read. One technique is utilizing audio books.

Audio books are CD’s or other forms of digitized media, on which stories are recorded as a person (or sometimes a cast of readers) reads them. The reader’s voices of these books bring characters to life, and the readers adjust the tone, speed, and volume of their voices to dramatize the story to the fullest potential. Many adults love audio books. We listen to them on long commutes back and forth to work. We listen to them while we clean our houses.

Somewhere out there, though, there is a feeling that children must physically read books. That listening to them is somehow cheating; not beneficial. In most cases, that is just not true.
Listening to audio books is actually one technique that can make a dramatic difference in a child’s ability to read. Listening to an audio book, while reading the book simultaneously, is even better! Studies show that listening to a story being read, while reading along, improves comprehension and fluency.

This is where your local library steps in.

Did you know that the Cecil County Public Library has entire collections of audio books for children?  We have audio books for beginning readers, like the popular Bob Books series available as a CD Book, where the CD is packaged directly with the book. Cecil County Public Library offers several CD Book titles in our EZ Reader section, like titles from Cynthia Rylant’s series “Henry and Mudge,” or “Fox in Socks,” by Dr. Seuss.

Classic favorites by award-winning authors, as well as new titles, are available in our picture book area.  Maybe a child in your life would like reading along, while listening to, a book by Kevin Henkes or Patricia Polacco! More challenging CD Books are available in our chapter book areas. We encourage you to check out the book with the CD Book, and listen as you read. We carry a slew of popular titles and series in CD Book format, from Junie B. Jones and  Magic Tree House, to 39 Clues, Little House on the Prairie, and Harry Potter (just to name a few). Why not listen to a children’s book on your way to school or sports practice?

For technology-hungry families, have you considered downloading audiobooks? CCPL has thousands of titles, click here.
Whether you are looking for strategies to help a struggling reader, or just a new way to enjoy a great book, try out an audio book and let us know about your experience the next time you stop by!

What’s your favorite audiobook?


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September 8th, 2014

One Maryland, One Book – Join the Conversation

distanceCalling all readers across the state!

One Maryland One Book is the only statewide community reading program which brings people from all over the state and different walks of life together to discuss a book. This year’s selection, inspired by the “American Dream,” is “The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande. The author vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this “compelling….unvarnished, resonant” (Book Page) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries.

As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.

Not only has it been a pleasure to curl up on my front porch and read this book, I have also been inspired to read similar books, other memoirs that highlight immigrant journeys into America. “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford is one book that I picked up as a result of my new-found interest in immigration stories. Written by the leader of the Plymouth Colony, this book describes the journey of the pilgrims from 1608, across the Atlantic via the Mayflower, until 1647 when Plymouth had been settled.

While looking into this genre of literature, I have found books that range from the Mayflower, to Brooklyn, to the Wild West and each one touches on a different aspect of what it means to come to America. The Elkton Central Library currently has a display highlighting immigration stories, so come on in and check one out! And while you’re at it, sign up for one of our discussions of “The Distance Between Us.”

One Maryland, One Book copies are available at Cecil County Public Library branches and free to keep while supplies last. Pick up a book and join the Elkton Central Library book discussion Thursday, September 11 at 6:30 PM or the Perryville Branch Library on Thursday, September 25 at 7pm. Call your local branch to register.

One Maryland One Book, Maryland’s statewide reading and discussion program, is a program of the Maryland Humanities Council and is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Maryland State Department of Education, BG&E, Wells Fargo, and M&T.

What’s your favorite American Dream story?


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