The treasures of the Library of Congress provide countless ways for young people to discover the joy of reading. Try these activities with your family or your students:

Younger Children

  • Read to your child—or listen together to the works of a favorite author. Leaf through books from Children’s Book Selections or watch videos of lively story times featuring favorite children’s books here.
  • Look closely at pictures and symbols to enrich vocabulary and understanding. Ask your child which of the objects in and around homes a century ago named in The Children’s Object Book are still used today.
  • Read Denslow’s Humpty Dumpty, an extension of the familiar nursery rhyme. Invite your child to tell you the expanded story of another nursery rhyme.
  • A timeless book in verse, The Rocket Book narrates the passage of a rocket, lit by the janitor’s son, from the basement up through 20 floors of apartments. Even reluctant readers might get drawn in by the richly illustrated hilarity that ensues.
  • Read aloud from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, inviting your child to look closely at the detailed illustrations.

Older Children

  • Explore favorite chapter books including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Arabian Nights, A Christmas Carol and The Secret GardenEncourage your child to compare some of the stories to films or other adaptations based on the books. They might find surprises in these rare editions, including beautiful illustrations.
  • Listen with your child to a historic recording of a familiar fairy tale like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, then compare it to a “fractured” fairy tale—a version that changes one detail – the character, setting, plot, or point of view – of a traditional fairy tale, such as those in Perrault’s Fairy Tales. Check out this blog post for more about fractured fairy tales to inspire your child to create one!
  • Listen with your teenager to works by a favorite poet. Read this blog post for recorded audio selections appropriate for teenagers from the National Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature.
  • Browse the short poems inspired by inkblots or “shadow pictures” in the book, Gobolinks, then invite your child to try “Game of Gobolink,” an art project that can also be a writing game.
  • Visualize poetry with teenagers by reading The Raven with haunting art by Gustave Doré that interprets scenes from Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative poem. Prompt children of all ages to create their own visual or performed interpretation inspired by poetry.

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