The reading we experience and exposure we have to books as a child shapes our lives in ways so powerful, it really is unlike any other reading we may do in our lives. To become a lover of books is to become a lifelong learner. It has the potential to open doors to new worlds. The trick is that, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” –Kate DiCamillo, children’s author and 2 time Newbery Award winner

There is endless research out there on the benefits of early childhood literacy. Reading with children is proven to support cognitive development, improve language skills, increase concentration, it prepares them for academic success, and cultivates imagination and creativity. While all this is true, just because a child is read to, doesn’t automatically ensure they will embrace a love of reading later on. The “gift” is actually in spending time together, talking and listening to each other over silly, sad or exciting parts of a story, the discovery of something new together, the appreciation of the illustrations, the reading and re-reading of favorite books that instills the love of reading. “It presents books as a source of pleasant, valuable and exciting experiences.” says Jim Trelease, author of the bestseller, The Read-Aloud Handbook.

It is with this in mind that the Learning Tree Farm strives to create an environment where books are the spark of inspiration for exploration and discovery. Whether it’s as a story time that enriches our Club Chickadee, the driving force behind our Stories Alive field trips, the whole point of our up and coming Storybook Trails, or just a quiet moment of enjoyment during Summer Day Camp, we hope to create those kinds of positive experiences for our young visitors that allow them to connect with a story. And if we have aided in a child’s growth towards becoming a lover of books, in even some small way, we have succeeded indeed. For our love of literacy and of learning is a gift we cannot wait to share!