Librarians are some of the key people that help develop students into great readers. Their strategies range from creating an inviting environment to encourage reading, offering a diverse book collection to cover a wide variety of interests, or offering reading incentive programs with prizes, board games, and scavenger hunts. These are just a few ways to encourage reading with students. Many able readers are happy to participate in reading related activities and select their own books to advance their reading skills. These ideas may work well for those students that have already developed a love for reading but may not be the best for the struggling readers.
The challenge for struggling readers is how to make reading enjoyable and engaging. The librarian is uniquely placed to help students find the best book for the student’s needs, at the right time and at the right reading level. In lower grade levels, pairing text with a book character doll is a popular option. MerryMaker dolls are high-quality dolls based on some of the very best children’s books. These plush characters can be used in a variety of ways to engage readers. Lower leveled reading students are not self-conscious about stumbling over words when reading and reading aloud is a great way to slow down those speedy readers to help with comprehension. Not only will the display of the dolls make a library space colorful, fun and inviting, they can also make great reading buddies for students or can be used as a compliment when reading a book aloud to a group helping bring the story to life.
MerryMaker dolls can be used as an eye-catching way to draw attention to a title. Students that do not feel comfortable reading aloud can read to the character to help build their confidence. Reading aloud promotes language development and early literacy skills. Reading material out loud can also be an effective strategy to remember things. When reading out loud, we form auditory links in our memory pathways. When you read silently, the visual part of your brain’s memory is activated. But when you read and speak out loud, your brain’s visual, as well as its auditory memory are both activated.
Susannah Richards, Professor, Department of Education from Eastern Connecticut University said, “Looking for a literary mascot for your library, classroom or family? MerryMakers has dozens of characters from young readers’ favorite stories. The high-quality MerryMakers plush are fabulous for supporting and extending literacy beyond the book. I love to bring stories alive with a plush from the story.”
Vivian Dorris, Librarian at Lacassas Elementary School, uses them to display with the corresponding book in the library. She also uses them as she reads the book. The dolls engage the students, they get more excited and she lets a student sit with her and hold the character as she reads.
Lisa Hobbs, an Elementary School Librarian in California said “MerryMakers dolls help make my library a fun and inviting space. They are seriously cute and make great reading buddies for the kids. Our big Pete the Cat goes to school events like our walk-a-thon and little Pete welcomes visitors in the school office. MerryMakers dolls are a fantastic addition to our school…we love them!”
Bound to Stay Bound offers over 40 MerryMakers dolls ranging in size from 8” in height to 28” in height. New dolls are being added each Spring and Fall season to Bound to Stay Bound’s inventory. Many popular book characters are in inventory such as Dog Man, Dog Man’s Petey, Dragons Love Tacos, Bad Kitty, Biscuit, Fly Guy, Froggy, Lilly, Little Elliott, Olivia, Pete the Cat and more! Visit BTSB.com for a complete listing of MerryMaker dolls.