We're back! Yay!
And we hope you'll join us for storytime!
You may have heard that Golden storytimes require registration now - and that's true - but we've streamlined the process to make it easy for you. Here's how:
Registration opens one week in advance for all storytimes. You can register online, in-person at the library, or by calling us at 303-235-5275. If you pre-register, your space will be reserved for you - just check in at the registration table in the children's area to claim your spot.
If you're hesitant about registering because you're just not sure how your morning will go - fear not! If you don't come, and people are waiting 5 minutes after storytime begins - we'll give them your spot. No worries.
If you don't pre-register - please join us anyway! Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Since we've reopened, we have usually had space for drop-ins. However, if storytime happens to be full, the library is still a really fun place to be. You can snuggle with a good book, cook a meal in the play kitchen or get a head start on the storytime craft!
I have a confession to make. I've had the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox app ($1.99 Apple/Android) on every device I've owned since I first discovered it several years ago. It's so simple, so fun, and so rewarding that even though my kids first started playing with it when they were each about 18 months old, they still play at 5 and 3. Here's why:
It's varied: there are 7 different mini tasks - counting, letter recognition, matching, colors, puzzles, shapes and sizes. A sweaty-palmed 2 year old may have trouble with the puzzles at first, but that same child in a few short months will be waving your expensive phone/tablet around in triumph.
It's repetitive: yes, this is also one of its drawbacks, but young children thrive on repetition. It provides opportunity to both practice emerging skills, and gain mastery of the concepts presented in the game. Before she'd perfected the art of the swipe, my daughter would simply hand me the phone when she reached a task she couldn't complete. I would help her do what was asked, and she would take over again. We both win.
It's fun: I mean, it has a little Memory game in it. The monkey does flips when you pack its lunch! Flips! And then you get to choose stickers that dance around because they're so excited that you're such an amazing genius. Or your kid is. Whomever. I also sort of like the calypso/calliope music...for a little while.
Since they've discovered YouTube, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is no longer the go-to app on any of our family devices anymore. But if we're out at a restaurant, or stuck in a doctor's office, or really anywhere there might be a long wait and no wifi, we are playing this game and loving it. I downloaded the app when it was featured for free, but if you have young kids and smartphones, this may be the best $1.99 you ever spend.
If your kids, like mine, have pretty much mastered these skills, you may want to try Monkey MathSchool Sunshine. It's got 9 more mini-games that teach sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting. My 5 year old son loves the connect-the-dots to help the baby turtle find the ocean.
I didn't know until right now that they'd also developed a reading game. I'll bet you can guess what I'll be using our next app store credit for...
Colorado summers are so beautiful and children enjoy being outside. So, let's take our books outside and read under the shade of a tree. What if we enhanced this outdoor reading by adding an activity that will help our early readers retell the story?
Retelling a story is an early literacy skill that builds their reading comprehension confidence. This confidence will keep kids excited and motivated to keep reading. This outdoor storytime won't require much.
Here is what you will need:
- A blanket to sit on
- A book of your choice
- Some crayons or a set of paints, brushes, and cup of water
- Something hard to color on such as a piece of cardboard, and;
- A few sheets of blank paper.
Once you've found the perfect shady spot in your yard, explain to your children that they can draw the story as you read it. They may need 3-5 sheets of paper in order to continue drawing throughout the entire story.
After you finish reading the book, ask your child this question: "Tell me about your picture". Asking them to tell you about their picture will encourage them to retell the story in their own words.
Stay away from questions like "What is that?" or "Is that a dog?". These questions can be limiting. You could ask: "Who is in this story?","Where did this story take place?","What happened next?", or "How did the story end?" Your child might end up drawing the butterfly that flew over you as you read. That is okay. The idea here is to create a positive experience with you and a book.
Here are a few suggestions of picture books and chapter books that are great for this reading comprehension skill:
The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
Otis by Loren Long
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Do you want more than picture books? Check out these chapter books.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
Image Credit: Jeff Golden
One of the most difficult things for parents to manage is witnessing their children experience intense emotions. How do we help our children manage these powerful and sometimes upsetting experiences?
Parents don't need to go through lenghty, verbal explanations of emotions. We can help our kids explore self identification using books that show emotions simply through pictures. With my own 5-year-old son, I find that many picture books help connect him with characters and scenarios he can relate to and empathize with.
From my experience, one of the best books I have seen that helps kids focus on and identify emotions is:
How are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann
I have read this book to groups of kids spanning a pretty big range of ages: from 15 months to 6 years old. Each time I read it to a group, I notice that the kids become very quiet and focused. Since kids are so very observant of the world around them, I think this particular book grabs their attention. The pictures are intruiging to look at because they are so uniquely expressive. The author creatively transforms a variety of fruits and vegetables into creatures who show a range of emotional facial expressions. It is kind of strange but it works! Kids really focus their attention on this book.
Check it out at the library and see how your kids respond to these creative pictures! You can also try to incorporate crafting, drawing and painting to tie into this book. Try your hand at creating your own expressive fruit and veggie creatures with your kids. Freymann's other books are full of great ideas.
Image credit: Flipsen&Gaabstra on Flickr
Look for books with some of these attributes:
Large, bright images pictures as babies vision isn't great yet
Books that you can sing
Books that rhyme
Concept books; ABC's, 1,2,3's
Books with animal noise
High contrast images
Very simple stories
One to two sentences per page
Interactive stories; movement, animal noises, etc.
Books you can sing and move to
Books with repeated phrases
Humorous books without sarcasm, especially about underwear
Books with simple plots
Books with predictive plots
Fiction and non-fiction books
Books with real baby faces
Sturdy books that babies can chew on
Lift-the-flap and other interactive elements, like textures
First word books
Concept books; ABC's, 1,2,3's
Books about your child's favorite interests
Books with large fun pictures
Books you loved as a kid
Concept books; ABC's 1,2,3's
Books you and your child enjoy (you will have to read them a million times)
Books that relate to your child's life
Longer books with more in depth stories
Search and Find books
Bubbles! Fun to chase, fun to catch, fun to POP! I love bubbles! When I was a teacher, one of my favorite field trips was to the Children's Museum in Denver. The year the "bubble room" was added, I was esctatic! The kids, families, and teachers had SO much fun doing bubble experiments, making giant bubbles and trapping each other inside of a bubble.
Some people may see bubbles only as entertainment, but did you know playing with bubbles actually can help build hand/eye coordination in babies and small children? Catching and popping bubbles encourages concentration and physical movement as well as strengthens our eyes ability to track motion. Here is a list activities and benefits associated with bubble play:
- Sing songs to baby or play music while you blow bubbles. Music engages the brain. Bubbles provide amusement AND eye tracking practice.
- Ask you child questions like "Where did the bubble go after it popped?" or "Why is the bubble colored like a rainbow?" to stimulate scientific thinking.
- Challenge your child to pop 5 bubbles, 10 bubbles, 20 bubbles...and count out loud along with your child.
- Let your child blow the bubbles. This helps strengthen mouth muscles and concentration skills.
Storytime Katie is a great resource for children's book and activity ideas. I love these BUBBLE activity suggestions!
- Bubble Bounce- a different kind of bubble. Throw balloons into the air and have your child keep the “bubbles” afloat.
- Bubble Art. Add 2 teaspoons of paint to bubble solution. Have your child blow the paint bubbles onto white construction paper. You can provide lots of different kinds of tools to make bubbles. Try straws, bubbles wands, bubble pipes, etc...
I can't leave out a good bubble themed book!
Go to the website Preschool Express by Jean Warren to find bubble themed songs and rhymes. This one is great for rhyming and math skills.
FIVE BIG BUBBLES
Five big bubbles floating all around.
Until one popped when it landed on the ground.
Four big bubbles floating high and free.
Until one popped when it landed in a tree.
Three big bubbles floating quiet as a mouse.
Until one popped when it landed on the house.
Two big bubbles floating down to land.
Until one popped when it landed in my hand.
One big bubble still floating in the air.
Until it popped when it landed in my hair.
Remember to log singing, rhyming and bubble play as Summer Reading minutes for your 0-5 year olds!
This year, Jefferson County Public Library's Summer Reading goal is to read 1,000,001 minutes.
One million (and one) is a huge number and is difficult to visualize for many people, including kids. How much is a million, anyway?
- If you counted from zero to one million and one, it would take you almost two weeks!
- A million grains of rice weigh approximately 62 pounds.
Explore big numbers like millions and billions at the library with author David M. Schwartz. He's written some great books that make it easy for kids to put a million into context. These books are illustrated by Stephen Kellogg and are a treat for the eyes as well as a workout for the brain!
How Much is a Million?
If You Made a Million
Millions to Measure
Exposing kids to STEM (or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) from an early age better prepares them excel in these subjects one they start school. Make sure your kids earliest experiences with math are a ton of fun with these cute titles!
And don't forget to sign up for Summer Reading and log those minutes!
School is over. Now what can we do to help our little pre-readers and readers to keep from getting bored? How about putting together a Story Telling Basket?
1) Choose a familiar story your child enjoys. I'll use Goldilocks and the Three Bears for my example.
2) Collect a few items from around the house that relate to the story. Three stuffed animals to represent the three bears and a doll or action figure to play the role of Goldilocks. Three plastic bowls, spoons, and three various size "blankets". These blankets could be easily substituted for washcloths. Keep in mind kids really don't care if the objects match the story. Your objects don't even have to be the right scale or size. (Goldilocks could be bigger than Papa Bear.)
3) Lastly, add the correspondingbook from your local library or your home library. Toss these items into a basket (or box) and you've got your very own Story Telling Basket! Quick-and-easy, right? Yet you'll soon be tapping into a couple of important pre-literacy skills and practices: talking and playing.
Use this Story Telling Basket to TALK and PLAY with your child and watch as their imagination takes them away. Listen how they create and retell their own story. Interacting with the Story Telling Basket will give them a chance to practice their new vocabulary. You might even get some insight to things they are experiencing, curious about, or interested in. Let it be their story no matter how far it strays from the actual story in the book. Have fun and don't forget to log those minutes and get your chance to win prizes in our summer reading program.
Photo Credit: Daniel Rocal
Ever feel rushed? I have a bad back, which constantly reminds me to stop and take care of myself. If only I got a text before the twinge of pain! But wait! Texts and tweets for healthy living are out there. And, there are texts and tweets for fun things to do with your child to help stimulate their brains. Perfect for those days when you are not feeling creative or are just plain rushed.
I love this tag line from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Baby Coalition: "Your baby has you. You have text4baby." Text BABY to 511411 and get free messages during pregnancy and your baby's first year.
A local organization, Bright By Three, sends weekly texts in English or Spanish about ways to support healthy development in babies and toddlers. Just text 'BRIGHT' for English or 'BRILLANTE' for Spanish to 444999.
Does Jeffco Public Library offer Early Literacy tips? Oh yes! Follow us on Twitter: #EarlyLiteracyTips or follow us on Facebook. To access our past Early Literacy posts, click on this link. Some are simple like, "Sing along with your favorite song" or "Snuggle up with a good book". Here is one I really love to share:
My Early Literacy tip for this summer? Register you, your family and your baby for Summer Reading '15! It's for all ages, 0 to 100 and beyond. Doing learning activities with baby counts as brain exercise and reading minutes. When you read books, magazines, whatever you fancy, in front of baby, you are modeling that reading is important as well as enjoyable to your baby. Help us reach 1,000,001 minutes in Jefferson County! You can register online or at the library starting May 29. Log minutes online weekly and win prizes!
It may sound silly to have to remind ourselves to sing a song or snuggle up with a book. But, let's face it. We are busy people! A little nudge to take 5 minutes to stretch my back saves me lots of time (not to mention money;) that I would otherwise spend at the chiropractor's office. Happy texting and tweeting!!!
Image credit: Flickr
VOCABULARY: knowing all kinds of words
Did you know?
That the average 1 to 1 1/2 year old child has a vocabulary consisting of around 20 words.
Fast forward one year to age 2, and this same child will have a 200–300-word vocabulary.
Add one more year and by the time they reach the age of 3, their vocabulary has grown to be about 900–1,000 words!!!
This means that by the age of 3, the average child's vocabulary is 50 times larger than it was just two years before...that's astounding!
According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights VOCABULARY as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.
Why Is It Important?
It's much easier to read a word when it's a word you already know. Children with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Encourage children to learn their native or home language first; this makes learning another language (speaking and reading) easier later.
Talk with children in positive and conversational ways; commands and “no’s” do not encourage language development.
Carry on lots of conversations with children.
Explain the meanings of new words.
Read books! Picture books use a different vocabulary than casual spoken conversation.
Think your toddler isn't listening to what you say? THINK AGAIN!