Even without the sweltering heat as a clue, the staff at the Pflugerville Public Library would be able to tell that summer has arrived by the cleared-out shelves of early reader books and graphic novels. It warms our little literary hearts to see families filling the Kids Room as they search for their next book. While books are certainly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a library, we have so many additional resources that will keep kids and teens learning all summer long.
Here are our Top 10 learning resources available to use for free with your library card.
10. Scholastic Teachables: Download fun educational worksheets and activities for young learners from Pre-K through sixth grade. Don’t have a printer at home? You can print black & white copies at the library for only 10¢ per page.
9. World Book Online: Do you remember when you used an actual physical encyclopedia to research mitosis for your science fair project? All that great information is available online from World Book, now with videos, stories, games and more.
8. Mango Languages: Learn a new language with interactive online lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Over 70 languages are offered, from Arabic to Yiddish.
7. Creativebug: You provide the supplies, and we’ll provide award-winning online arts & crafts videos taught by professional designers and artists. Creativebug has great options for both beginners and more advanced creators of all ages.
6. Maker Kits: Try out new hobbies this summer by checking out one our Maker Kits. Learn to play the keyboard, ukulele or guitar. Get techie with a Raspberry Pi or a Makey Makey kit. Crafty folks can try out soap making, brush lettering or loom beading. There are so many options!
5. LOTE Online for Kids & MakeMake: This is actually two separate ebook services, but both are great options to support readers that speak languages other than English. LOTE provides over 1,400 digital storybooks in almost 50 languages. MakeMake offers interactive, Spanish-language picture books.
4. Comics Plus: Our newest ebook service provides on-demand access to popular comics, manga and graphic novels like "Big Nate," "Cells at Work," and "Goldie Vance." In addition to being a wildly popular format for readers of all ages, graphic novels support visual literacy, introduce great vocabulary and promote reading comprehension. Download the Library Pass app to get started.
3. Brainfuse HelpNow: While the live, virtual tutoring available every day in English and Spanish from HelpNow is a popular feature during the school year, summer is a great time to explore SkillSurfer lessons. Review key concepts and skills with multimedia learning modules available in every subject.
2. Beanstack Summer Reading Challenge: Encourage kids and teens to read daily by joining the Blue, Red, Yellow, or Green team for our Summer Reading Challenge. Beanstack is an online system that helps track reading for the entire family. At the end of the summer, we will decorate the library in the winning team color.
1. Library Staff: And of course, our favorite learning resource at the library is the staff. We are here to help with reference questions, book recommendations, computer help and more. Helping our guests find the information they need is one of the best parts of our job. Stop by in person, give us a call at 512-990-6375, or visit our website at library.pflugervilletx.gov. We even have a new chat option available when you log into the library catalog. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Amanda Cawthon is a youth services librarian at the Pflugerville Public Library.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Pflugerville librarian: Summer learning at the library