How to help your children grow up to be readers

A New York Times article headlined “How to Raise a Reader” by Pamela Paul and Marcia Russo offers easy and practical tips on how you can make sure your young children grow up loving to read: 

  1. Mix it up.  When children start to pick out words, allow them to read to you some of the time.  But don’t make it a test.  Help them by pointing to words you know they will recognize. 
  2. Don’t abruptly withdraw your reading services.  Being read to is part of your bond and you don’t want your child to think that becoming an independent reader jeopardizes that special time together.  Continue reading aloud picture book favorites and start on more sophisticated books they can’t yet read on their own.
  3. Every child learns to read at a personal pace.  There is no correct age for independent reading and no special formula to get every child to read by a certain age.  If you focus on raising a reader, it will happen.
  4. Don’t make reading work.  Reading at home should fun.  Don’t put pressure on your child to meet particular targets.
  5. Check in with the teacher but don’t get nervous if your child is not reading at the same level as his or her peers.  Late readers often grow up to be better, more enthusiastic readers.  On the other hand, if you or your child’s teacher suspect a reading challenge like dyslexia, get a formal evaluation.

And here’s a tip from your library staff:  Every week these Library News columns describe free fun activities for kids of all ages to encourage their love of books.  We hope you’ll take advantage of them.  To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your family, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month.  There are two versions – youth and adults.

New free literacy program for babies

An exciting new free Colorado-based literacy program that helps families and caregivers build their babies’ vocabulary is now underway in Archuleta County, thanks to a partnership involving your library, AmeriCorps and the San Juan BOCES.

You need to sign up for this special program, called LENA, in order to be enrolled in the workshops that will provide you with personalized information and ideas to help your child.  Please contact Michelle Salmeron-Ramierez at 970-585-4293 or nichelle@unitedway-swco.org.  The program is available in English and Spanish. It was created for babies from new-born to age three, and will help you use talking to build your child’s brain.

Library foundation

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library Foundation to help support the services and programs provided by your Ruby Sisson Library.  Mail checks to P.O. Box 2045, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or call Cindi Galabota at 970-264-2209.  Thank you!

Library operations update

Here is the current status under COVID Level Orange:

  • 30 patrons may be in the building at a time.
  • Open Thursdays from 1 p.m.- 7 p.m. with 1-2 p.m. reserved for seniors and higher risk populations. 
  • Other hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with 9 a.m.-10 a.m. for seniors and higher risk populations. Saturdays: 10 a.m-2 p.m.  Sundays: closed.
  • Accepting meeting room reservations only for individuals or members of the same household, with library programs having first dibs on the rooms. 
  • Hand sanitizers are available and there will be frequent cleanings inside the building throughout the day.  Please practice social distancing and wear facial coverings while you are in the building.  If you don’t have a mask, we are happy to give one to you.
  • Ten computers are available. Staff will clean and disinfect the computers between uses.
  • One early literacy computer is available for youngsters Monday-Saturday.
  • Curbside service continues Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. except for Thursdays when it’s from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  Phone 264-2209 when you are in the parking lot so staff can bring the items out for you.  If you put a hold on something, please wait for your usual alert (email, phone call or text) before coming to pick it up.  
  • You can place holds on items from other libraries.  They are in different stages of open, so items may take longer than usual.  
  • We’re happy to provide tech help in person or over the phone for our online resources.

Special note

“We want people to always feel welcome in the library, and to experience a very friendly vibe when they visit,” said Meg Wempe, library director.  “But we need to remind everyone that, similar to other public indoor spaces in Colorado, we must follow the executive order that requires people aged 11 or older to wear a covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask, we are pleased to assist you outside the building through our curbside service.”

Calling all teens…

If you enjoy reading books, learning new skills and helping your community, we hope sixth-12th graders will sign up to volunteer at your library.  You’ll write book reviews, make artwork for the teen area, help plan new programs, judge our pumpkin decorating contest, prepare crafts for kids’ programs and help keep the library organized.  Please stop by the library or apply online.

Literary Ladies tomorrow

This free book club meets on the fourth Friday of every month from 10:15 a.m. – noon via Zoom. Tomorrow, Friday, January 22, the ladies will discuss “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng.  Pick up a copy at your library. The Zoom meeting ID for this event is 838 1714 5986 and the passcode is 81147.

LEGO challenge Saturday

Join us on January 23 at 10 a.m. for a free all-ages LEGO challenge via an image posted on Facebook and the library website.  Use your own pieces to create something that will fit the challenge. If you don’t have LEGOS, we have a few grab bags available at the library.

Knitting takeaways

Pick up free knitting takeaways at the library entrance during open hours to take for your in-home enjoyment.  We’ll have patterns craft ideas, instructions and some limited supplies available.

New writing challenge

On January 4 we posted a writing challenge on the library’s Facebook page, and there will be a new one coming next Monday, January 25.  We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating.  This is a free all-ages activity.

After-school program

In response to COVID, we have revamped our free after-school program into STEAM enrichment kits, STEAM standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, for ages five and up.  Registration is required at 970-264-2209.  Pick up your kit and then bring your completed projects back to the library to be displayed in the last week of the month.

DIY craft takeaway for kids

Drop by your library for free DIY crafts takeaways for youngsters age 10 and older during open hours.  Pick up a packet outside the library.      

In-person gaming

Free in-person gaming is suspended due to COVID safety concerns.

Storywalk for kids

Weather permitting, every other Thursday Josie posts signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up towards the Elementary School detailing a new free Storywalk for kids.  The January 14-27 theme is family traditions. After you finish the walk, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library. 

Tech Time

Make a 15- to 30-minute appointment for one of three free in-person slots available noon-1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Brad will help one person (or one couple) at a time resolve issues with your computer, smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices. 


Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. by appointment.  Please register so we can keep it to a small group in our limited open spaces.  No walk-ins, please. 

Dungeons & Dragons

Join us Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. for Dungeons & Dragons free for teens and young adults on Google Meet.  Contact claire@pagosalibrary.org to learn how to join. If you don’t have internet access, contact us anyway – we may be able to accommodate you in the library. 

Children’s programs on Facebook

Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., join us on the library’s Facebook page for free children’s programs.  Wednesday storytimes are on Facebook Live, so you can interact with Josie.  Saturday’s Discovery Times with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more are prerecorded.   

Adult education

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) accelerated GED course takes place in person where Mark helps with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.  Contact the library and Mark will work with you to schedule a date and time to meet.

Books on CD

“Out of the Storm” by B.J. Daniels is book one of the new Buckhorn, Montana series.  “Our Darkest Hour” by Jennifer Robson follows a young Jewish woman who must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife to escape the Holocaust.  “American Traitor” by Brad Taylor is a Pike Logan adventure.  “The Wrong Family” by Tarryn Fisher is a thriller.  “Hush-Hush” by Stuart Woods is a Stone Barrington mystery.  “The Lost Boys” by Faye Kellerman is a Decker/Lazarus thriller. ”Better Luck Next Time” by Julia Claiborne Johnson is set at a Reno divorce ranch in the 1930s.


“The Invisible Rainbow” by Arthur Firstenberg is a history of electricity and its effects on our health and the planet.  “The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life” by Dr. Terry Wahls and Eve Adamson contains more than 150 paleo recipes to help treat chronic autoimmune conditions.  “Tombstone” by Tom Clavin explores the Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  “Nose Dive” by Harold McGee is a field guide to the world’s smells.

Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

We have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and audio books for all ages – children, tweens, teens and adults – in cloudLibrary.  The items in cloudLibrary are purchased separately from physical items, so the books available are different – and it continues to use the consortium’s contributions as well as those that we bought.  That is why you need to select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use.  Please email or phone us at 970-264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


For their generous monetary donations we thank Susan and Terry Arrington. Please put your material donations into the dropbox at the library – not at City Market, which is reserved for returns.  Donations undergo the same rigorous three-day quarantine process as returns.  

 Quotable Quote

“People employ their creativity in different ways.  Some people write.  Some people knit.  Some people make music.  But it all has to do with our human capacity for invention and for seeing things from different points of view.” – Margaret Atwood, Canadian novelist, poet, teacher, environmental activist and literary critic.

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