By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director
The library can be an intimidating place to children with learning disabilities. Libraries are synonymous with books, reading, learning—things that can be challenging for a child with a learning disability. In fact, the mere thought of making a visit to the library to check out a book can be instantly overwhelming and stress-inducing. If a child has a learning disability, it may affect aspects of that child’s experience, including ways that child listens, speaks, thinks, reads, writes, spells, or computes math. What, then, does the Glen Ellyn Public Library have to help parents and caregivers with children with learning disabilities?
Audio books: Listening to a book being read aloud is an enjoyable experience for any child, but it can be especially helpful for children with learning disabilities. For some readers, the process of listening to a book, as opposed to reading it, can significantly help improve their comprehension and retention. The Youth Department offers books on CD, as well as playaway formats for children who are auditory learners to listen along to their favorite story.
Digital Books: In a similar way, the process of reading an interactive digital book can make the experience of reading a positive one for a child with learning disabilities. The Library subscribes to several online resources, such as Tumblebooks and BookFlix, which are excellent for children with learning disabilities. These online resources have a “Read Along” feature which highlights each word as its being read out loud for the listener. With your GEPL library card, you have access to these resources 24/7 from your home computer or your mobile device. Be sure to check it out!
Storytime: Storytime is not just for babies here in Glen Ellyn! It’s a language-rich environment that supports and encourages children to be lifelong readers. We in the Youth Department are excited about books and hope to share our enthusiasm with children and families that attend. Whether it’s through song, movement, dance, or even flannel board stories, we often adapt stories in a variety of ways to be welcoming to all learners. We also show a brief film at the end of each Family Storytime, which are animated shorts of beloved picture books. In January after the Youth Remodel project is complete, the Youth Department looks forward to bringing back our ever-popular schedule of storytimes for children of all ages. Be sure to check in at GEPL’s Storytime page for more information about our winter session of storytimes and consider bringing your child to this shared reading experience.
Friendly Staff: Children, regardless if they have a learning disability or not, pick up attitudes and perceptions about reading from the adults in their lives. One thing that Youth Department staff can do is be a friendly, non-judgmental face in your child’s life that encourages their own interests and gets to know them. We want to help your child love books as much as we do, so don’t hesitate to ask us if we can help you and your child find the next good book to read. We have lots of suggestions and a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books to choose from!