May is National Get Caught Reading Month! Build your library now so you can hit the ground running as soon as May 1 rolls around. During National Get Caught Reading Month, the goal is just that — to get caught reading! Everywhere and anywhere.
You can make reading easily assciessible to all in your home by placing books and/or magazines in every room in the house and even in the car. Adults and older kids can “get caught” reading to small children who have yet to master reading (however, they can also enjoy looking through familiar books on their own!). Everyone in your home can get involved.
Pick up that bestseller you have been wanting to read or revisit an old favorite — or pick up a classic that has somehow slipped by you. Just read! Encourage your kids to do the same. Have older kids? Do a family book club where you all read the same books and discuss them together around the dinner table. Set aside some time each day where everyone steps back, unplugs, gets lost in a book, and expands their minds. This is a stressful time, so the excuse to slow down, be quiet, and take some time to do something enjoyable is incredibly important! You can even make reading social by establishing a virtual book club with friends or family who live outside your home and meet via video chat. Reading together is a wonderful way to stay connected while staying apart, and for some, social connection is self-care and a way to ease stress.
To get started, you can of course choose from books you already have in your home. However, if you are looking for something outside of your immediate reach, there are many options you can choose whether you want a physical book in your hands or if you like the experience of an e-reader with a full library that fits right at your fingertips. All of these can be done safely with social distancing in mind!
Order Books Online
You can order from any number of online retailers who sell books and have them delivered straight to your home safely and contactless. Order everything you need at once and ask your family for any special requests to get everyone excited for the month ahead dedicated to more reading!
If you don’t want to wait for delivery, you can order books online that are in stock at your local store and have them in your hands in just a few hours with curbside pickup. Stores like WalMart and Target offer this type of service and can load the books (and other essentials you might need!) directly in your car with zero contact.
Do a Social Distancing Book Exchange
Call up some friends and see what books they have that you don’t that you might be interested in reading. You likely have something on your shelf that interests them as well. Put the books in a bag and place outside for your friends to pick up and swap out with a bag of books from their home. After the swap has been made, you can even get in some much needed socialization by peeking out your front door to say hello to your friend standing by their car at a significant distance away. Even without a hug, it is still nice to see them in person without a screen. Before reading your exchanged books, you can take extra precautions and santize the covers with a disinfecting wipe.
Visit a Free Little Library
By visiting a Free Little Library, you may find something you didn’t even know you wanted to read. It’s a great way to discover something new. Often times, you can find books appropriate for multiple age levels, so you just may have the whole family covered. Here are some best practices for using a Free Little Library while social distancing. Don’t know where to find a Free Little Library near you? Use this map!
Take an Online Trip to Your Local Library
Visit your local library’s website. Not only do they offer a plethora of options for e-reading, but many are also posting virtual storytimes for the little ones in your home who can’t yet read independently. Here are links to local library systems within GSSEF’s service area:
Download Free E-Books
Project Gutenberg offers more than 60,000 free e-books to download with absolutely no strings attached. They are mostly older titles out of copyright, which gives you ample opportunity to read just about any literary classic you can think of. You can also download from Open Library which offers kids and adult books across many genres. Download free kids books on the International Children’s Digital Library’s website. For tweens and teens, Riveted offers free downloads of YA (young adult) books on a time-limited basis. Do you already have an Amazon Prime membership? Hundreds of book titles are now available for free for all ages on Prime Reading.
If you just don’t want the story to end and want to know what happens next in your favorite book, fan fiction makes for a fun read! Continue your favorites written by fans like you at FanFiction.net and even keep up with the gang from Harry Potter. All for free.
If you want to read something brand new, it will be difficult or even unlikely to find it for free. There are countless options to purchase e-books, but some of the most popular are:
Something Just for the Littlest Ones in the Family
There are so many options for the youngest family members to enjoy reading — whether with you or independently. You can search for virtually any children’s book title on YouTube along with the words “read aloud” and someone has made a video reading that book. You can also have celebrities read your child a book on StoryOnline or visit #SaveWithStories on Instagram. GSSEF Troop 11641 even made a video of Girl Scouts reading kids books as a way to help parents out during the pandemic.
National Get Caught Reading Month in May provides a great excuse for every family member of all ages to take a break from the TV and be transported to escape reality and be swept off to a new land while isolating, and allow our imaginations to soar — all thanks to books.