Give A Child A Book


How to get kids engaged with reading, tips from the experts

Posted at 11:32 AM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 20:12:35-04

Books can make a big difference in children's lives, and from August 29 to September 9, KSBY is highlighting that difference as part of our If You Give a Child a Book Campaign. But even when you get books in the hands of children, getting them engaged can be a whole separate problem.

With a world full of distractions and devices pulling kids' attention away from books, getting them engaged in a book can be tricky. The team at the San Luis Obispo County Library understands the importance of reading.

"Kids who read, research shows, tend to be more successful in life." said Erica Thatcher, engagement director for the library system. "Reading is great for opening minds and absorbing new information and creating empathy."

The benefits are undeniable but that may not be the most convincing argument to get a little one to pick up a book. Thatcher explained, "I think a good way to make reading special is to kind of introduce a variety of formats."

Chapter books, nonfiction, audiobooks, graphic novels, and group reading programs can all spark interest and keep kids interested.

Susana Lewis leads a bilingual story time at the San Luis Obispo County Library. She dips into her bag of tricks to get kids engaged.

"This is my secret weapon — the bubble gun," she showed us. "Yeah, it's pretty cool. So these three things are my secrets, and I mean, and kids love it."

She also makes use of egg shakers and colored scarves to get kids engaged, but you don't need anything special — items found around the house do just as well.

Simple items you have at home can make a big difference, plus we all have another trick up our sleeves. Thatcher explained, "I think people don't realize that they all have special character voices that they can make when they're reading to kids. We all have a high voice. We all have a low voice, and then we have a medium voice and we have a quiet voice. So those are things that parents and grownups can do with their kids to kind of make stories come alive."

Lewis added, "Getting them talking about the book, not necessarily having to read it all, helps. It helps them understand what a story is and what a book is. And eventually, you know, they kind of get into that groove of like, oh, let's pick up this book. Well, you hope that they pick up the book and start wanting to read it."

It only takes a single book to get kids excited to read. KSBY, in partnership with The Scripps Howard Foundation, is "Giving light. Changing lives" for children in need nationwide through its "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign.

For our third year at KSBY, we have partnered with two Title I schools in Santa Maria, one in Oceano and another in San Miguel, to help provide the books they need for their students.

The campaign begins Monday, Aug. 29, and lasts through Friday, Sept. 9. The Scripps Howard Foundation will be matching donations, so make sure to donate early to ensure your pledge is being doubled!

Employees here at KSBY began the campaign internally in early August to help support the children at the four local elementary schools, and in total raised $3,066.

Now, we are taking this campaign out into the community, with the goal of raising $40,000 worth of books for local students in need. To donate, click here. Or text KSBY to 50155. Message and data rates may apply. A $5 donation is all it takes to give a book to a child who needs it most.

Arellanes Elementary School, Bonita Elementary, Oceano Elementary and Lillian Larson Elementary will be a part of our "Big Book Giveaway" in January as we partner with Scholastic to turn all of the community donations into books for these students.