The back-to-school ads are out, which means two things.

The end of summer is in sight, and you might be hearing “I’m bored” from your child.

Summer activities are mostly wrapped up, and you need to fill the long summer days with meaningful activities for your child.

If you are looking for something to do, how about a visit to our great library in Redwood Falls?

This really is a hidden gem.

Did you know you can check out a cake pan?

The true beauty of this facility is the countless number of books that can be checked out. The importance of reading with your child cannot be stressed enough.

Starting at birth, exposing them to black and white books helps with eye development and memory, and the contrasting colors helps to hold your baby’s attention. Board books are sturdy and built to survive the first few years of your child’s reading career. They can be in the toddler’s play area so they are readily available.

Placing board books on the ground, for a little one to crawl to, can encourage children to gravitate to books when they get older.

When reading picture books with your toddler or pre-reader, talk about what they see in the pictures. Asking what they think will happen next or what is happening in the picture to a great way to start developing comprehension skills.

Don’t forget to track the words with your finger. This shows your child that the words on the page are associated with the story you are reading them.

Just 20 minutes of reading a day for five days a week will expose your child to approximately 1.8 million new words in one year. Compare that to someone who reads five minutes per day, and within one year’s time there is a difference of over 1.5 million new words your child is exposed to.

Over the course of several years, that difference will have a major impact on your child’s potential success.

To quote one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

So the next time your hear those beautiful words, “I’m bored,” may I suggest you go to your nearest library.

In fact, if you put your library trip on your calendar, it will give your child something to look forward to and you might be more likely to make it each week. (Statistics taken from

– Paul van der Hagen is the principal at Reede Gray Elementary School