Read for Fun

Read for Fun

by Tracy Briseño

I challenge you. I challenge you to read for fun this summer. Just for you. Whatever you want. I encourage you to do it visibly where your kids or neighborhood kids can see you. It sets a powerful example. But mostly, I encourage you to read for your own enjoyment or interest. Just to be clear – I embrace a WIDE view of reading. Read the newspaper, read an e-book, listen to an audiobook, crack open your favorite magazine, read a picture book for fun (no kids required!) or dive into a book you’ve always wanted to try. Just read.

We know that reading for fun is important for kids. It increases their fluency and their vocabulary. It helps them to view reading as an enjoyable activity, which impacts how motivated they will be to read when they have less choice. It exposes them to people and situations that are outside of their lived experience. It can also reflect their experiences showing them that others have the same challenges as they do. I would like to encourage the adults here to think about how reading for fun is important for them as well. Does reading provide an escape from stressors? Does it provide an opportunity to introvert and shut out the world, or an opportunity for connection and engagement? Do you read with a friend or a family member, sharing books back and forth? Do you read late at night preparing for sleep, early in the morning before anyone else is awake, or during a lazy afternoon?

I will be honest that my TBR (to be read) pile is extensive. I jump back and forth from fiction to non-fiction, topic to topic based on what else is capturing my attention. Sometimes browsing the whole library for your next read can be overwhelming so I’m going to tell you some of my favorite ways to find new titles. 

Visit the Bookmobile. The Bookmobile has a curated collection of around 2,000 items on board for all ages. Bookmobile staff are always on the lookout for new and interesting-looking titles to showcase on the Bookmobile. What that means for me is that anytime I’m on board, I always find a few likely options that look interesting and engaging.

The library has several other ways to browse smaller selections of likely titles. In the library check out the new section, displays, the staff picks area, the quick picks, or the book club collection. All are fabulous titles carefully selected by library staff. Extra bonus: book club books check out for six weeks, and you don’t have to be in a book club to check them out! You can also check the library’s Page One newsletter to see what titles are being discussed in library book clubs for other suggestions.

Ask a library staff person. We all LOVE to talk about books. Everybody has their favorite sections and genres so asking multiple staff people for suggestions will get you a broad selection of possible new great books. You can also ask online by using our Personalized Picks form and you will get an individually curated list of options. I always end up with many new options when I am in a reading rut and ask for suggestions.

Follow your interests. Did you just embark on a photo scanning journey with family photos? Maybe check out some family history or genealogy items. Are you jumping into gardening? You might check out some books about enhancing your garden, increasing native Iowa plants, growing vegetables or spices, or eco-friendly tips and tricks. Missing Betty White? We have several books authored by her, as well as biographies of other wonderful actors and actresses like Carol Burnett, Julie Andrews, and Dick Van Dyke. Personally, I highly recommend the books about the history of Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

The library is ready and waiting to help you find your next awesome read. And, you can also count them in the summer reading program starting June 1 and earn prizes!