After-school Program in Lower Manhattan: Book Nook

Meet Rina P. Collins, Founder, Book Nook

February 7, 2024

Rina, please tell us more about you.

I have a passion for literacy and this is my mission. I started Book Nook as there’s a misconception on how to learn to read. It all starts with the love of books.

What special enrichment does Book Nook offer? How are classes structured?

Book Nook is the first of its kind – a dedicated program just for literacy. During the school year, we offer classes one day a week for ninety minutes and the class size is limited to five kids. In summer, we offer 3 or 5 days a week for 2.5 hours per session for up to ten kids. We make sure children are within six months of each other in age when structuring classes as learning ability can vary greatly. Our curriculum prepares kids for school and associates learning with fun. We also offer Little Prep, a two-day a week program, a grown-up and me class that transitions from babyhood to toddlerhood.

When did you open a location in Tribeca and why? What age is ideal to get started and up to what age do you offer classes?

The neighborhood is changing with lots of families with young children. We have more than two thousand books in this location alone! We cater to children of all ages – starting with mommy and me classes for infants to toddlers and drop-off classes for older children up to age seven. In January, we will be introducing our Book Club for ages 8 -12. 

What are your favorite books for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school-level children?

Babies: I love all board books for babies. I started reading chicka chicka boom boom to my son when he was three months old and LOVED it. Any touch and feel books are a great start into handling books.

Toddlers: Little Blue Truck, Eric Carle classics, The Goodnight Train

Preschoolers: Frog and Toad, In My Heart, The Day the Crayons Quit

Elementary: Anything Roald Dahl, The Giving Tree, Charlotte’s Web

It is so hard to choose, there are SO many wonderful stories out there.

Is there a relationship between early reading and success in school?

One hundred percent! The more you read to children, the more knowledge they will take in. Knowledge is important in all aspects of life and learning. Reading develops language and comprehension - you are setting your child up for success. 

What reading skill sets should a Pre-schooler vs. Kindergartner vs. First-grader have?

Preschool: At age four children can: recognize their names, understand beginning sounds, Uppercase letter recognition, determining rhyme and similar words and retell stories

Kindergarten: At age five children can: Write and read simple words, recognize words within stories, master letter recognition, and phonics, retell stories in detail, and know how to break down beginning, middle and end sounds of a word. 

1st Grade: At age six children can: read familiar stories, decode new words in books, understanding of some punctuation and capitalization in sentences, and master handwriting. 

As an expert in linguistics and early learning, can you offer three tips to parents on how to instill a lifelong love of reading?

  1. Continue reading even if your little one doesn’t seem interested 
  2. Make more books accessible and swap out books throughout your home
  3. Read daily, it can be books, magazine, menus, etc. Children will learn how to decode new words.

At what age in your opinion should children be reading on an electronic device?

We need to keep the magic of reading books alive! Reading books slows down time when you are immersed in it. I am not against e-readers but I do believe the benefits of sitting and reading together, turning pages, the excitement of what comes next cannot be replicated without a book in your hand.

Related articles:

Enrichment Classes, Directory

Educational Directors of Lower Manhattan

Principals of Lower Manhattan

List of Preschools in Lower Manhattan

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