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January 2014

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

Do you have a kid or know a kid who hates to read, lacks the confidence to read, or thinks there are better things to do besides reading? Well, you are not alone. Almost daily, folks ask me for suggestions to help their reluctant readers. So, I thought this would be a worthy topic for an on-going series for the JCPL Kid's blog. 

To start things off, I find it most helpful to have a conversation about reading with reluctant readers by asking them a few questions. These questions will help you better understand why your child is reluctant to read and will help you (and your librarian) find materials to spark an interest in your reluctant reader.

#1. Have you read a book that you really liked? If so, what was it?

#2. What kinds of stories do you like? You don't have to think about books, you can also think about your favorite movies or tv shows.

#3. What kinds of things are you interested in? Do you have any hobbies? Play any sports? Collect anything?

And #4 (the BIGGIE). What comes to mind when you think about reading? What are your feelings about it?

Asking this last one can help you gain a tremendous amount of insight into why you child is reluctant to read. Perhaps they think they are not good at it. Maybe they haven't found a book they like or they find most books to be too long. Most often I hear "because it's not fun." This demonstrates why questions  1 - 3 are also very important. The key to getting any kid to read is to make it FUN. Starting with materials that support your child's interests can make reading a fun event rather than a task to be tackled.  As librarians, we want to help you help your reluctant reader discover that reading is in fact fun. So try asking your reluctant reader these questions and then come to the library where we will be more than glad to help you find a match.

In the coming months I will share with you more ideas on how to help your kid become an eager reader instead of a reluctant one. In the meantime remember READING IS FUN!

by: 
Sarah, Golden Library

If you're a parent or caregiver and you've got a shiny gadget (think iPad, Smartphone or eReader) chances are your child is interested in using it too! According to a study by Common Sense Media, Seventy-two percent of children age 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos, or using apps.

Even among very young children, mobile device use is high: More than a third of children under the age of 2 use mobile media. Specifically, the study found that 38 percent of kids under age 2 have used tablets or smartphones.

As families incorporate more digital technologies into their lives, I get a lot of questions here at the library about which apps are best for kids. So, I've decided to do a monthly appvisory series here on the blog. If you're looking for great free apps for the kids, I've got you covered!

Today's app is a digital version of a classic game: Simon! :)

Like the classic Simon game, this app increases concentration, improves memory and works reflex and motor skills. Suitable for ages 4 and up.

Challenge your child to a Simon competition and work out your grey matter, too! :) 

Download Simon app for Android devices

Download Simon app for iDevices

Stay tuned for next month's app! :)

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

If you’ve ever had a conversation about Star Wars with me, I apologize for making you late to dinner, or missing a meeting, or just putting you to sleep. My love of Star Wars knows no bounds. There is even a shelf in my house for my Lego Star Wars collection to prove my dedication to Mr. Lucas’s creation. Anyway, while boring a dear friend recently with my hobby, she mistakenly made me aware of Wookieepedia. And now I share it with you! This site is filled with fun and useful (wink wink) information for the Star Wars enthusiast in your house. Read biographies of your favorite characters and those lesser known to the novice. Or learn more about locations, creatures, and vehicles mentioned in the movies, books, and comic books. A kid (or adult) could spend days on this site! So, have fun exploring with your young jedi and may the force be with you.

 

by: 
Marcy, Arvada

It's that time of year again...time for flowers and chocolate and making 32 original valentine's for your child's classmates!

If you are running short on ideas this year, check out this cool video from Family Fun that shows you how to make adorable little mice out of hershey kisses. In fact, I thought these little guys were SO cute that we are going to be making them at the Arvada Library on Saturday February 8th from 11am to 1pm as part of Old Town Arvada's 13th annual Chocolate Affair. During this celebration of all things chocolate, you and the kids can do a chocolate scavanger hunt or sample the chocolatey delights at the DNote. You can even enter the brownie baking contest! Be sure to drop by the library for our chocolate themed storytime and activities from 11am-1pm.

 

by: 
Sarah, Golden Library

I love to play “pretend” games with kids, repurposing everyday objects for the purpose of creating new experiences. The capacity to use one’s imagination has increasingly been recognized as a vital skill that is honed in childhood. Time spent in imaginary play as a child translates into an adult capable of visionary thinking (like Steve Jobs!) 

Structured activities like music lessons and sports are valuable to children, but don’t forget to “schedule in” some time for your kids to spend powering simple objects with imaginary fuel.

Here’s an easy game that you can play at home with your kids to get those imaginations fired up: 

All you need is a scarf for each of you (any cloth or dish towel will also do.) Crumple the scarf up between your hands and tell your child that you are going to change this scarf into different objects with the power of your imagination. Encourage your child to scrunch up their scarf and follow along:

First, tell your child that the scarf has become a picnic blanket. Lay the scarf out on the ground and sit on top of it. Pretend to eat a picnic.

Next, scrunch up the scarf between your hands again. Tell your child that the scarf has now become a magic flying cape. Tie on the scarf as a cape and zoom around the room!

Scrunch that scarf up between your hands again for another transition. This time, tell your child that the scarf has now become a washcloth and it’s time for a bath. Pretend to fill up the bathtub, get inside and wash with your washcloth! Don’t forget to towel dry afterwards!

Scrunch up the scarf one last time and turn it into a blanket. Now it's time to act out getting pajamas on, brushing teeth and curling up under the blanket to sleep!

You can easily play many variations on this game at home using the most basic of objects. Next time, try playing the same game with a box or a stick as a prop!

Do you have any other great examples of pretend games that you already play at home? Please share them with us!

by: 
Mary, Kids and Families Outreach

Welcome to a new regular feature here on the JCPL Kids' Blog: the Ready to Read Reminder! Parents and caregivers, you know that learning to read begins at birth. Young children's brains are developing all the connections they need to be successful readers and we, the adults in their lives, can help them build those connections by doing simple things at home (or in the car, at the library, at daycare...wherever!). In this feature I'd like to share with you some of those simple ideas - many of which you may already be doing (but didn't necessarily know how they help a child get ready to read) - that help build the foundation for reading.

For this, our first post, I'd like to give you 5 words to remember. Just 5. Remember these 5 words, and that you should engage in these activities with your young child often, and you'll be an expert at helping your child get ready to read!

Here the are....(are you ready?)...drumroll please....

READ

TALK

SING

WRITE

PLAY

 

You can remember those 5 words, right? Of course you can. In future posts I'll elaborate on each of these words and why these activites are important, share with you some really cool stuff I've learned about babies brains and how reading develops, as well as give you some fun, simple activity ideas that help grow a reader.

And remember, the library is a GREAT place to visit with a growing reader! We've got  storytimes for all ages (even babies!) that are designed to help build early literacy skills, thousands of great books for kids of all ages to explore, and a literacy-rich environment with opportunities for learning and play! Our trained staff, too, is ready and willing to answer your questions and help you find the best books and media to take home! 

Stay tuned for next month's post! Just a reminder...

[photo via seandreilinger]