Meghan Bowman, library programmer.

Meghan Bowman, library programmer.

Young readers finding their own special place at Sylvan Lake library

Have you heard that we love books? We especially enjoy watching our community’s young readers grow. We sit on the sidelines as children go from having their parents read to them to reading on their own. We get to experience young readers finding the genres they love or favourite authors and series.

We have several families where we have been part of their lives from their board book days. When it comes to reading, one of these families experienced a few roadblocks in the navigation of going through the stages of reading. As children move into chapter books, where do they start? It can be overwhelming to decide which books to choose and locating them on the shelves of the junior section was difficult. It has simmered in our minds exactly how we are to guide our young readers onto the next stages.

When Camrose Public Library shared that they were introducing an early chapter book collection, we knew that this was what our young readers were needing. We adapted their guidelines to fit our community and our early chapter book section was born. With our flooring being replaced, some of our collections and shelving were shuffled around. We took this as a fantastic opportunity for us to introduce patrons to our new collection.

Some of the qualifications for moving books into the early chapter book section include number of pages, length of the sentences, white space as you flip through the pages and pictures mixed in with the text. Our goal is to continue to encourage and enhance the joy of reading that our new readers are beginning to experience.

To help our patrons, the early chapter books are located before the juvenile fiction section. This helps with the natural progression of the novice reader, as they go from picture books, to beginner readers, to early chapter books, then onto the juvenile fiction. Due to the physical size of these books, sometimes they get overshadowed or passed by our readers because they seem to know they are there, lost within the more daunting, bigger books. Many of these books are series and they can get attached to their favourite characters while finding their confidence and independence.

We realized that the position of the collection was successful when my daughter, who is just learning to read but wanted a chapter book, knew, “This is my section.” She gravitates to it consistently when she is in the library picking up books for herself to read. Our family, who originally felt lost on navigating their young reader through the books, felt excited that we now had a space for the newer generations of readers.

Young readers deserve to find their joy as they progress through the stages of reading. Seeing the next wave of young readers come into the library to experience their own adventures as they discover reading brings us great happiness. We remember some of our first chapter books, the joy that we got from finishing it on our own. We look forward to seeing more families with their new readers come into the library and fall in love with books too.


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