DONNA’S DAY: Don’t leave without a library card | Community life

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I’m not a financial analyst, but one thing I know for sure is that money is flying out of my wallet. Today’s bill of $75 to fill the tank of our family car and even more to fill the refrigerator was a clear sign that costs were rising before my eyes.

But wait! There is one place where the sticker price remains the same: FREE. Grab your kids and hop on your bikes today to visit your neighborhood library, the best deal in town. Request free library cards to find out how you can fill the summer months with engaging reading and literacy activities. It’s a business you can’t afford not to invest in, where dividends matter more than dollars and cents.

This summer’s theme at our local public library – “Look What’s Cooking in Your Library” – got me thinking about some of my favorite food-related children’s books and literacy ideas. Check out this menu of hands-on reading and writing activities you can organize as a family this summer to keep your mind sharp. And remember my advice: there is no tab!

• Canned Reading: Start the day with canned reading and surprise each other with the new vocabulary words you learn. Read the ingredients and nutritional information listed on the side panels of cereal boxes or the serving tips on the back of a box of frozen waffles.

• Read on the go: Place a book between the sandwiches and fries in your picnic basket. When you read “The Most Perfect Spot” by Diane Goode, ants and mosquitoes in your place won’t seem so bothersome.

• Eat and read: Who doesn’t love savory spaghetti on Friday night and a platter of pancakes on Saturday morning? Bake these family favorites with your young children, then end the day with classic picture book titles like Tomie dePaola’s “Strega Nona” and “Pancakes, Pancakes!” by Eric Carl.

• Play with food words: enjoy word games around the dinner table. See how many expressions you can think of that use food themes, then talk about them. For example: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, “Go bananas”, “Sour grapes”, “Bring home the bacon”, “Icing on the cake”, “That’s how the cookie s ‘crumbles’, etc.

• Grandparent Connection Tip: Share memories of a family recipe with your grandchild. WRITE a grocery list for ingredients and buy them together; then READ the instructions aloud as you prepare the dish.

EXTRA TIP: Keep a basket by your door to store library books and to store your library cards.

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