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May 12, 2021

Reading Beyond the Page! Unique Library Collections Just for Kids

By Jessica Rehbaum, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Fostering a child’s literacy development while feeding their curiosity can be a hard task. The secret is to mix traditional and innovative methods. Hillsborough County Public Library system is here to help keep you and your child excited about learning through a variety of unique items. Most people only associate the library with books and DVDs, but the library also offers educational games and models, Playaway Launchpads, Wonderbooks and Vox Books for you to borrow.

The Library’s educational games & models collection features educational games, scientific equipment and models and tools that promote science, technology, early learning and creative thinking. These items are available at the John F. Germany and Seffner-Mango Branch Libraries. Hillsborough County residents can check out items like telescopes, microscopes with slides, robotic kits and anatomy models. You can borrow these items for 21 days. They can be picked up and returned to the John F. Germany or Seffner-Mango Branch Libraries. Start exploring this collection at HCPLC.org/Books.

Launchpads are tablets preloaded with educational games and activities. We offer launchpads for ages 5-10. The tablets are arranged by a theme, so some may be geared towards early literacy or math while others may be STEM, science or critical thinking. These devices are not connected to the internet and do not require Wi-Fi for use. Children can safely use these tablets, which are contained in a shock-absorbing case. You can borrow up to three of these devices at a time and keep them for 14 days using an adult library card.

Wonderbooks are print books with built-in audio. You can read to your child while they follow along in the text. The audio is recorded by professional narrators and even contains a feature in which the narrator will ask a few questions about the book. You can use these questions to start a conversation about the book and engage the child’s critical thinking skills and vocabulary accumulation.  Wonderbooks are available in early chapter, easy reader and bilingual formats. Borrow these for 21 days. http://bit.ly/HCPLCReadAlongChapterBooks

Vox Books are similar to Wonderbooks in that they are books with a built-in audiobook. They offer easy fiction and nonfiction picture book titles with easy bilingual selections as well. You can also borrow these for 21 days. Explore suggested Fiction titles at http://bit.ly/HCPLCReadAlongFiction and Nonfiction titles at http://bit.ly/HCPLCReadAlongNonFiction.

With the library’s eBooks collection, kids can read no matter where they are. Digital read along titles are convenient and can serve kids with many different types of learning differences. Check out these digital read along titles at http://bit.ly/HCPLCReadAlongs

Browse these items on the public library’s website www.HCPLC.org this summer and beyond for new and fun ways to keep your child engaged in learning.

*photos provided by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Originally published in May 2021

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