Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for my local libraries. Here’s a new series of posts for me: all the reasons why I love the library. The first five in this post are pretty obvious – but they’ll get more interesting, I promise!
For the last two years, I have done most of my reading on my Kindle Fire. You can read about how much I love my Kindle Fire here. While I love print books, it has just been handier and safer to use an e-reader with a baby/toddler around. I find that the Amazon books are fairly priced, plus, if you watch for deals and use your Christmas gift cards correctly, you can watch your spending. Even so, if I had purchased every one of the 50+ books I read last year, I would have probably spent between $500 – $600. So when I found out that I could get digital books for free from my library with the use of the OverDrive App, I was excited to try it out.
If this sounds interesting to you, check with your library to see if they are part of the OverDrive system, and then download the app. The app is available for many different devices: phones, tablets, e-readers, and computers. You can find it here. You need your library card number and password to sign in once the app is on your device. Then you can start browsing for books.
Just like the library, you sometimes have to wait your turn for a book. Even so, you can place holds and create a wish list to remember what books you’re interested in next. I usually have 8 – 10 books on hold at any given time. Sometimes it’s just a few days to wait, and sometimes it takes months. I read some of the biggest books of the year with the help of this app: The Light Between Oceans, The Girl on the Train, The Girls, The Dinner, The Nest, Red Queen, and Winter. Along with e-books, you can also rent audio books and videos. You choose either 7, 14, or 21 days for your rentals and then the content disappears from your device when the time is up.
OverDrive is easy to use and a great app for book lovers. I highly recommend it.
What bookish apps would you recommend?
We love visiting the library! This week, we went to two different libraries. We had to visit a second library in order to find R.L. Stine and Marc Brown’s new book, The Little Shop of Monsters, which I blogged about recently. The illustrations are fun and even though R.L. Stine wrote it, it’s not very scary. We also picked out some fun board books and this awesome book with a hole in it, played with some kids, and bought a cute book bag. We are lucky to have such great libraries around us.
I have been working at a tutoring center for about six months, and I’m constantly amazed at how our brains work. How do we ever learn to speak? And to read? And why is it so easy for some people and a challenge for others? Somehow we learn that vowels make long sounds and short sounds. When put in different combinations with consonants, there are different patterns and rules for pronouncing words. Did I really understand that if an “e” is at the end of a four letter word with the CVCV pattern, than the first vowel becomes a long vowel? I barely understand it now, so how did I know that when I was five years old?! It’s pretty extraordinary what we’re capable of learning. I decided to sit down and take a look at my own reading development.
Looking back, I know that my parents were instrumental in my education. We had books at our house and I know that my mom read to me on our tan-colored, corduroy sofa (she even did voices). I have a Raggedy Ann & Andy book with the corner chewed off because this was apparently my favorite book as a toddler! We had a copy of the classic Pat the Bunny, board books, and picture books. I also had plenty of relatives who were book lovers, so I was frequently gifted books and encouraged to read. In kindergarten, I recall taking home the plastic bags with handles that held books inside them. By the time I was in first grade, I knew that I was a good reader. I remember being in the high-level reading group in school—I’m sure the teacher played this off as randomly selected groups, but we knew we were the strongest readers in the class.
My next reading memory comes a few years later. In fourth grade, our class did a Laura Ingalls Wilder unit. The class was going to read the first book in the Little House on the Prairie series, Little House in the Big Woods, but I had already read the entire nine-book collection of novels. This meant I went on to read The Rocky Ridge Years books, which continue to follow Laura, Almanzo, and their daughter Rose. Christmas and birthday gifts often consisted of gift cards to bookstores. Visiting Barnes & Noble was a special treat for me, and my parents always let me pick out a book or two when we were in a town with a B&N. We also frequently utilized our local library, where I checked out lots of Nancy Drew books. I still have my first library card where my mom wrote my name on the back since I was so little.
After thinking about my reading history a bit more, I decided to create a list of books that were important in my life and growth as a reader from the time I was in elementary school all the way up through college. I tried my best to select the ages I read certain books, although my memories of reading in elementary school are a bit hazy.
Now I pose the question to you: How did you learn to read? What books, authors, and series were instrumental in your growth as a person and reader? Can you relate to the list of books I compiled?