Spring is thankfully just around the corner, which means that El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), which occurs annually on April 30th, is quickly approaching! This nationally recognized initiative, commonly referred to as Día, focuses on the importance of literacy for all children from all cultural backgrounds. One common goal of Día programming is, “to recognize and respect culture, heritage and language as powerful tools for strengthening families and communities”. A great way to align programming with this goal as April nears it is by starting a Día Family Book Club in your community.
The Día Family Book Club is a reading program that brings together children and families through shared reading of contemporary, culturally diverse children’s literature. The program not only provides wonderful opportunity for families to share stories and learn together, it helps teach teamwork, respect of other cultures and fosters important literacy skills. Of course, I hope a love of reading is also encouraged and blossoms from book club participation.
The best part of the Día Family Book Club is that there is an amazing toolkit created by fellow library professionals for you to download and use, all for free! You can download this 12 page booklet full of useful tips, reproducible activities, worksheets and best practices here. Still not sure if you have the time or resources to start a Día Book Club? The planning is already done for you! With various complete lesson plans available on the Día website, and more on their way, it couldn’t be any easier to start your very own club. The curriculum is conveniently divided into two age groups for easier planning. Examples of book choices include My Mother’s Sari by Sandhya Rao for the 4-8 age group and Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle for the 8-12 age group. In addition, you will find a wealth of practical information provided in the toolkit such as activities that families can do at home. Finally, the Día Family Book Club creates ample opportunity for teacher involvement, school-public library partnerships and bi-lingual learning. Surely starting a Día Book Club would be to provide “powerful tools for strengthening families and communities” at your library.
Don’t forget to register your Día program in the 2014 National Día Program Registry. We want to hear about the stellar ideas you have implemented at your library. Your registration will also contribute to a national database that highlights the broad range of Día programming across the country. An extra perk to registering early is that you will receive free Día bookmarks and stickers, perfect goodies to hand out at your first Día Family Book Club meeting.
Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, Oh and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at email@example.com.