Educational games

The public library

Books, activities, DVDs: to taste the pleasures of reading, the library is second to none. Municipal libraries offer much more than just books. There are also magazines, CDs and DVDs for children that can be borrowed free of charge. Some libraries also offer games to play on-site or at home. Of course, toddlers and first-time readers will also find books specially designed for them.

Why bring a child to the library?

A library is a special place for a child. A library is a special place for a child. It allows them to open up to the world of books.

When parents show an interest in books and the library, children are more likely to be curious about reading. This curiosity can greatly influence their motivation to learn to read and, later, to read on their own.

It is possible to take a child to the library even as a baby. Even at a very young age, children can see and choose books that interest them. Also, bringing home books they have chosen is a good way to help them develop a positive relationship with books and to give them a taste for reading.

The library also helps the child to better target his or her reading tastes. They can try different types of books without it costing a penny. When the child doesn’t like a book he or she has borrowed, simply return it to the library and choose another.

Similarly, when children learn to read at school, the library allows them to borrow books that interest them and that correspond to their reading level. This can then encourage them to read. A child who is motivated to read without having to read is more likely to read more often and to improve his or her reading.

How do you prepare a child for a library outing?

No matter where you live in Quebec, you can subscribe your child to the Espace Jeunes of the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales of Québec free of charge. They will be able to borrow digital books and access certain websites reserved for subscribers (e.g., encyclopedias, dictionaries, educational videos, etc.). Subscriptions can be made online.

Before going to the library, you can prepare your child so that everything goes well, especially if it’s his first visit. Here’s what you can tell him.

  • Tell your child why you want to take him/her to the library and what you can do there (e.g. discover new books and borrow some).
  • Describe to your child what he or she will see there (e.g., many shelves full of books, many people walking quietly between the shelves and others reading, everyone present speaking quietly).
  • Explain how they should behave in the library (e.g., whisper, walk close to you, stay calm) and why.

If your child is less than 2 years old, you can also explain how the library works with simple words. If your child is under 2 years old, you can also explain the library in simple words, but wait until you are there to do so, because it will be easier for him to understand what you are explaining.

What to do in the library?

Here are some ideas to make your visits to the library even more interesting for your child.

  • Go to the children’s section. Your toddler will discover a multitude of books adapted to his age.
  • Browse the shelves with your child to get him/her interested in books. Let him decide when you stop to look at books that catch his attention.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the librarian for advice. Don’t be afraid to ask the librarian for advice. He or she can guide you to books on topics that interest your child. You can also ask the librarian where you can find gamebooks, such as “Seek and Find,” which are usually popular with children.
  • Explore with your toddler the many magazines designed to open up new horizons for children. Some have fun activities (e.g., games, crafts, riddles) that you might want to do at home. The many subjects covered (animals, arts, machines, etc.) are all opportunities for discovery and learning. Besides, many children enjoy following the adventures of the comic book characters found in each issue.
  • Look for audiobooks, CDs, or DVDs that you can listen to or watch at home to enjoy a story differently. A new voice that tells a story and moving images that highlight an emotion or discovery, all of which can enrich your toddler’s experience in a fun way. You can usually borrow these resources for free.
  • Plan time to read in the library, not just to borrow books. Your child may want to look at books somewhere other than at home. Children’s corners in libraries are often attractive. In rainy or hot weather, don’t hesitate to change the air and go to the library with your child to read.
  • If your child is very interested, take him or her on a tour of the entire library, even the adult sections. If your child is very interested, have him/her visit the entire library, even the adult sections. He/she will probably be surprised to see so many books. They may also find it fun to whisper with you during the tour.

Activities offered by many libraries

Several libraries offer activities designed to awaken toddlers to the pleasure of reading and writing. They are usually free and are great family outings. Here are a few of them:

  • Attend storytime with your toddler. The people who lead these activities know many tricks to get children interested in reading. For example, they tell them about the title and author of the book, they tell the story by changing voices and intonation, etc. They also tell them about the title and author of the book. After listening to a story with your child, you can talk about it later. Not only does this prolong the fun, but it gives your toddler a chance to practice organizing and telling a story. For more information on activities and schedules, ask at the children’s desk in your library.
  • If your library offers this service, borrow a game, and play with your child on-site or at home. If your library offers this service, borrow a game, and play with your child at the library or home. This will help your child have a positive memory of the library, especially if he or she doesn’t like books at the moment.
  • Find out about other activities offered by your library (e.g., craft workshops, themed activities, conferences for parents, children’s film screenings, etc.).
Une naissance, un livre
If you have a child aged 1 year or less, you can take advantage of the Une Naissance, un livre program. All you have to do is subscribe to it at your library. You will then receive a baby reader’s kit containing a book, Birth and Growth reading cards, and other surprises.

Things to remember

  • A library is a special place for a child. It can give him a taste for exploring books.
  • By borrowing books on different subjects from the library, the child gradually discovers his or her taste for reading.
  • The library is not only a place to stop for a few minutes to borrow books, it is also a place where different activities can be done.

Resources and References

Note: Hypertext links to other sites are not updated on an ongoing basis. It is therefore possible that a link may become untraceable. In such a case, use the search tools to find the desired information.

  • BAKER, Linda, and Deborah SCHER. “Beginning Reader’s Motivation for Reading about Parental Beliefs and Home Reading Experiences. Reading Psychology 23(4), 239-269 (2002).
  • BIBLIOTHÈQUE ET ARCHIVES NATIONALES DU QUÉBEC. Catalogue des bibliothèques du Québec. www.
  • MORGAN, Paul L., and Douglas FUCHS. “Is There a Bidirectional Relationship between Children’s Reading Skills and Reading Motivation? », Exceptional Childrenvol .73, No.o2, 2007, pp. 165-183.