Online digital children’s library

This morning I got a call from overseas from someone asking for help with a curriculum for preschool age children.  Not being a huge fan of canned curriculum, I told her she could look online but shared my perspective that: a) there’s no such thing as a standardized curriculum – it varies from country to country, state to state, and even county to county; b) it’s important to be aware of readiness and to ‘prime the pump’, so to speak.

I then asked her about what her specific concern was, and she told me that her young daughter (age 5) had trouble with the concept of sequencing in a story and was currently working with a speech therapist on this.  I said that a child the age of that age was on the continuum of normal in absorbing this understanding.  So, I continued, as long as the mother continued reading with her, the daughter would naturally pick it up without it being taught as a remedial skill.

And then the mother told me that was a problem, that she doesn’t read to her!  Well, obviously that’s a huge part of why the child can’t follow storylines – she doesn’t have experience in sequencing stories!   I explained to the mother that it’s unfair to say a child has a learning disability when they’re placed in an environment that they have no context to relate to or understand.  It often happens that parents treat their child for their symptoms instead of looking at where the root issue is; this is an example of a child being diagnosed with a learning disability when the problem is the home learning environment.  (I could go on and on with examples of this – it’s really upsetting when I see children labeled with their symptoms and then medicated or treated as if the child is the problem, etc, without anyone looking at what’s going on at home or making the changes that would make a difference for the child.) 

Anyway, I suggested that the mother begin regularly reading with her daughter, and she told me they didn’t really own many books in their native language.  I explained that could use/adapt what they have; kids don’t mind having the same book daily!  However, here’s a great free resource has children’s books to read online in 73 languages for anyone who wants to increase the books they have available to read to their children – it’s the International Children’s Digital Library.  Even if you have a great library near home, this can be a great way to access books in foreign languages!


5 thoughts on “Online digital children’s library

  1. Thanks so much for the great encouragement and reminders to do what I know is right that I get from reading your blog entries. I just started homeschooling my children (ages 6 1/2, 5 and 3 1/2) and I am still trying to figure out what I am doing and what is the best way to go about teaching them. So I am encouraged to keep reading to my kids and not to get impatient or frustrated with my 6 yr old that he’s not reading comfortably on his own yet but to keep reading to him.

    1. Six year olds are really in the middle of the wide spectrum of normal ages to learn to read – I’d say the spectrum is about 4 – 9, with kids learning earlier or later still being normal but less common. So your son still has plenty of time – of our first six children, all learned to read on their own between the ages of 5 and 8, with most of them learning at 6 or 7.

      Keep reading to your kids even after they can read to themselves! It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect, and then a child doesn’t fear that he’ll miss the closeness of reading time once he reads independently, but most parents stop reading much once their children are reading on their own.

  2. Thanks for that link! At 6 weeks DD doesn’t seem that interested yet when we read to her, but we enjoy it, and once she’s caught on that’ll be a useful addition I’m sure! (Plus we found a translation of Mother Goose into Latin and Ancient Greek, which my DH likes.)

    1. Congratulations on your new baby girl!

      I’m glad the site was helpful – there’s lots to access that can be used in a variety of ways by kids (and adults!) of all ages!

  3. I love your site. I’ve been reading to both of my kids since they were born, and plan to do so until they leave for college. My mom and I read many classic books together (one chapter a night) when I was in high school, and I treasure those memories.

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