Parents and caregivers, grab your smartphones and tablets! Today's featured app is full of adorable little monsters who are ready and able to help your little monsters learn their sounds, letters and words.
Playing with the sounds that make up a word is called "phonological awareness" and is one of the important pre-reading skills your child needs to practice. Learning their letters is called "letter knowledge" and is an equally important early literacy skill. Fortunately, practicing these skills with monster friends is a ton of fun!
Pick a word to play with (all words are organized alphabetically) and watch the letters scramble around the screen. Pick up each letter with your finger and hear its sound as your move it. Put the letters back in order to get an adorable mini-movie that illustrates the meaning of the word along with a spoken-aloud definition that's easy to understand. Check out the video below to see the app in action:
Endless alphabet is available for both Android and iDevices. The app and base word set are free with optional paid downloads to expand the game. This app is rated 4+ on iTunes, but has been getting rave reviews from parents with children as young as 16 months. So don't be afraid to try it out with your toddler! :)
In case you missed it, visit last month's app post. Keep reading for another awesome app next month! :)
Think back to when you were a kid. You wanted to do the same things your friends were doing, right? You wanted to listen to the same kind of music, wear the same kinds of clothes, and read the same kinds of books. For struggling readers this is not so easy.
But did you know that the library has High-Low books? High-Low books are also known as High interest-low vocabulary books. These are books specifically designed to appeal to kids and teens that are not ready to read books at their grade level but they don't want to read "baby books" either. High-Low books can do wonders to build a kid's self-esteem about reading. The plot summaries of these books sound no different from the ones their peers are reading. Instead, the authors use vocabulary better suited to help kids who are reading at a level lower than their grade.
Sometimes struggling readers lack confidence. If they think their only book options for reading at their level are stories or subjects that appeal more to younger kids, their fragile spirits can be crushed. We have tried to make it easier to find these books in our catalog by grouping them together under the genre High interest-low vocabulary books. This group contains a variety of books that will appeal to a variety of ages and reading levels.
Need some more help figuring out which one is right for your child or teen? Feel free to ask your librarian. Be sure to tell your librarian what your child's interests are and the names of some of the books your child has had success reading. This will help us fill your arms with titles that will encourage your child to read because they are appropriate for their reading level and not lame.
Toys have started to appear in all of the libraries. And with their arrival, patrons and staff are asking, “Why toys?” The answer is, toys lead to play and play leads to the development of literacy skills. Play is the way young children learn.
There are three stages of play. Exploratory or Object play occurs with 0-3-year-olds. They love to chew on board books and everything else they can get their hands on. From there they move on to Imaginative play at 3-5 years. They are developing vocabulary and social skills, such as sharing. And, they love to pretend! All of this play leads to the last stage, Investigative play, for 6-8-year-olds, which includes physical play like riding a bike. They also love to build things, draw, paint, and explore.
Through play, children learn about their world. These activities help them understand language and stories. Play is so important that the United Nations High Commission has recognized it as a basic right of every child. Offering blocks, bricks, and other manipulatives increases STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill building opportunities in our libraries. Our goal is to reinforce the importance of play by offering a variety of activities to children and caregivers.
The toys you see in the libraries are the result of a donation from the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. Jerry Kline is the founder of Innovative Interfaces and has worked in and with libraries for more than 30 years. A sizable portion of the Foundation's activities are offered to enhance libraries and their communities.
We hope you’ll help us encourage play by spreading the word!
Do you love to read? Are you in grades 3 through 5? Join us at the Belmar Library on February 26 for our first meeting of the Young Readers Club. We'll be celebrating the Super Bowl and the Olympics with our favorite sports books, so bring one to share with the group!
Wednesday, February 26
Stop in or call for more information. We'll be doing this every month!
Yesterday, Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) announced the winners of the first annual Bell Awards - an award that honors "five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children." One book in each of the categories of READ, TALK, SING, WRITE and PLAY is chosen from hundreds of books published in 2013. The 5 categories have been identified as best practices to support early literacy learning in young children.
Each of these books is great for sharing with your young child, and lend themselves perfectly to extension activities that lead to even more fun and learning. The CLEL Bell website has activity sheets for each book that offer wonderful extension ideas!
The winners are:
Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier; illustrated by Suzy Lee
Moo! by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (coming soon to JCPL!)
Nighty-night, Cooper by Laura Numeroff; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
The Things I Can Do by Jeff Mack
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
Check 'em out today!
I rarely read a book twice...unless it is a choose your own adventure. Then I have to read all possible endings and end up going through it four of five times! Parents often are amazed when they find these childhood favorites at the library. They can't wait to share their love for these books that you don't just read, but that youcan control! I explain to kids that it is kind of like a video game. You reach a point in the book and you get to choose what to do next, "To go through the haunted hallway turn to page 50, to return to the safety of your room turn to page 32."
There are literally hundreds of adventures awaiting you at your local library!
History buff? Look for Interactive History Adventures!
Choose your own Star Wars Adventure!
Or how about an American Girl adventure?
It's fun to choose your own adventure! Try one.
Remember those 5 little words I asked you to remember last month? (Hint: they were READ, TALK, SING, WRITE, and PLAY) Today we're going to talk about READING.
You know that reading aloud to your young child, beginning at birth, is important. Yes, babies can't respond to you when you're reading a book to them, but they ARE absorbing so much information: about language, about how books work, about what their most important people (the people who read to them) sound like, and much, much more. So even if your baby can't tell you what that picture on the page is, he will someday be able to identify it - and many other things!
The most important thing about reading with young children is to keep it POSITIVE. That means do the voices (if you can - at least try to make a sad character sound sad), be silly, and share books when you and your child are in the mood to snuggle together and read. This doesn't only have to be at bedtime! Children learn more when they feel safe and loved, and they feel that way the most when they're with the people that love them best. Science has shown this to be true! It's a brain thing! So when you cuddle up together with a good book, your child learns even more.
Tune in next month for more "Ready to Read Reminders!"
**Photo via flikr: BrendanC
Creative Commons Attribution license
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!
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! :)
Stay tuned for next month's app! :)
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.