Library reading programs are great first steps in a lifetime love of reading. Even programs for tots involving songs, stories, and rhymes help build reading readiness and early literacy skills, and they show parents how to help get their child ready for reading.
Most libraries across the GTA have regular reading programs for preschool and school-age kids. Here are some of our favourites. Most are free, some are drop-in, and some require pre-registration.
Reading is better when you do it together! This program gives students in Grades 1 to 6 individualized reading and homework help, building confidence and motivation by playing fun, learning-based games. Leading to Reading is offered at many branches of the Toronto Public Library, but most libraries around the GTA have some type of one-on-one reading buddies program.
Kids are encouraged to read all summer long through the free TD Summer Reading Club, available at more than 2,000 libraries across Canada. Kids get an activity kit where they log the books they’ve read and affix the stickers they’ve earned. They can win prizes and attend related drop-in programs at local libraries. Registration is required and opens each June.
How do you read for quick answers? How do you read for information? For older readers working more complex literacy skills, the eight-class Reading Skills program offered at two branches of the Markham Public Library teaches kids age 7 to 9 reading comprehension strategies and how to engage in written language. Reading Buddies is a free, eight-session program at six locations where kids practice reading one-on-one with a dedicated “buddy”.
In this joint initiative from Burlington Public Library and the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program, kids in grades 1 to 4 practice reading stories aloud to trained therapy dogs. Furry friends are excellent, non-judgmental listeners, creating a safe space for kids to build confidence in reading and improve their literacy skills.
The Book Clubs for Kids, for Grades 7 and 8, meet once a month to talk about a predetermined title. Curiosity Club is for younger kids (separate sessions for Grades 1/2, 3/4, 5/6) and includes a book club element (kids should pick up the book to be discussed in advance) but also STEM activities, crafts, and games. Activities are different each month.
For book-lovers who are strong readers and enjoy discussing books and doing book-related activities, the Whitby Library offers book clubs for kids at its Central Library location. Book Pirates Book Club is for kids in grades 4 and 5, and Page Turners Book Club is for kids in grades 6, 7, and 8. Registration is required.
Need reading help? Browse the Help! We’ve Got Kids local directory for Tutoring Services for Kids in Toronto & the GTA.