Feb. 15 - All libraries will be closed for Presidents Day.
As a bilingual English/Spanish librarian, I often hear from adults that they studied Spanish in high school, but they remember very little from those days. It makes perfect sense when you look at brain development. When babies are born, about 15% of their brains have developed. By the time a child is 3, 85% of the brain has developed.
Researchers have found that by 6 months old, babies are already showing a preference for a certain language. Baby brains are wiring to the rhythms and sounds they hear from their families, caregivers and community. More studies go on to say that the best window of opportunity to learn a second (or third, or fourth...) language is between 0-7 years old.
Learning another language by the time we reach middle or high school can be too late!
Our corpus collosums (the part of the brain that connects the left and right side of the brain) grow harder as we age. Connections from one side to the other are no longer as quick as they are in young children when the corpus collosum is soft and malleable. Learning new things becomes more difficult. And, as we get older, we learn more and more information. Our brain starts pruning away at unused information. Ever hear the phrase 'Use it or lose it'? That's what our brain is constantly doing; trimming away at what it doesn't see as useful to us any more.
So why teach a child another language? For one, it has amazing affects on learning new concepts and problem solving! People who know more than one language can quite literally think 'outside the box' more readily than a monolingual or one language speaker. That's because they already think in different languages or in more than one way!
Also, younger learners can learn how to produce the native sounds of another language much easier than older learners. Think of the early wiring to language sounds as babies and the pruning the brain does as we age. When we are young, the brain is activated to learn as much as it can, including how to form sounds with our mouths and tongues. For example, as children, if we don't have an experience rolling an 'rrrr' (I used to mimic my cat's purring), we will have a difficult time later in life trying to learn how to do it. The brain is more open to learning how to produce sounds during the early years or this critical period in its development. Wow! As a former preschool teacher, this stuff facinates me!
Here's an easy book in English and Spanish with bright pictures of familiar foods to check out:
Over the next few months, I will be exploring more about second language learning and sharing ideas on teaching your child another language---even if you don't know another language yourself!
Carrot photo credit: www.alternativa-verde.com
You know, even when the weather is delightful, it can be challenging to come up with new and fun things to do with kids. There are naps to contend with and snacks to pack and diapers and toys and it can seem like it's probably just easier to stay at home and have a pretend adventure.
Follow Me! is a new series in which we'll explore fun places for kids in or near Jefferson County. The places we'll highlight will be free or extremely affordable or just so totally worth the price of admission that I can't resist sharing them with you.
I have 2 kids and I'll be absolutely straight with you: I'll tell you who had a good time, who needed to be older or younger and/or if anyone cried the whole time (even if it was me). I'll let you know if the staff and other patrons were actually welcoming or if anyone cringed and fled when they saw us coming. I'm a mom who happens to be an information professional: just like you, I want to know if getting everyone out the door is really going to be worth it.
But first - there are some fun holiday happenings this weekend that I don't want you to miss:
Friday, December 5 beginning at 4:00pm - There will be dancing, caroling and free photos with Santa before the annual Olde Golden Candlelight Walk. You may bring your own candles, or purchase them at the Golden Chamber of Commerce. Consider visiting the Golden Library beforehand for cider and to explore our collection of holiday books to enjoy following the festivities!
Friday, December 5 at approximately 5:30pm - Santa and Mrs. Claus are going to light the community tree at the Evergreen Lake House, followed by the annual Holiday Walk from the Lake House through Downtown Evergreen! Visit the Evergreen Library before visiting Santa to get holiday books to share after the festivtities!
Saturday, December 6 noon-3pm - Bring a camera! Santa will be in Arvada's Olde Town Square every Saturday afternoon until Christmas! Guess what else is near Olde Town Square! (Do you see where I'm going with this? Wait for it...) Visit the Arvada Library before or after seeing Santa, choose some holiday books and films and keep the spirit of your super-fun adventure going well into the season.
Watch this space for more kid-friendly fun!
Photo credit: Vicky Brock on flickr
HEY...LEGO my EGGO!
I'm starving and if you think you can just waltz in here and grab my Eggo when I have been waiting so patiently for the toaster to pop...you've got another thing coming buddy!
What? This isn't about my Eggo?
You said LEGO? As in the building blocks?
Oh, well that makes more sense...
So, no Eggo's at the library? Just LEGO's at the library? That could be fun!
LEGO Club has made a huge splash at your local Jefferson County Library, offering monthly programs for both kids and teens. All you need is a little imagination and some elbow grease, and we'll provide the rest.
Now back to my Eggo...where'd I put the syrup?
PRINT MOTIVATION: Being interested in and enjoying books.
I LOVE BOOKS!!!
I know, you're saying "Well duh, you're a librarian". But, even if I was a rocket scientist or a zoo vet I would still love books!
Even before my children were sleeping through the night (and believe me I don't miss those days) I would sit in my rocking chair and read to them. It would be just us, gently rocking, and listening to "a quiet old lady who was whispering 'hush'". You can inspire the same love of reading in your children, whether it's the wee hours of the morning or the middle of the afternoon, showing interest and enjoying reading with your children is where their love of reading begins.
According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights PRINT MOTIVATION as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.
Why Is It Important?
Kids who enjoy books and reading will be curious about reading and motivated to learn to read for themselves. Motivation is important because learning to read is HARD WORK!
It's important that we make sure our children start reading and listening to books from day one and that they have a good time with books.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Read books you both like
Stop (or shift gears) when it is no longer fun. Length of time is not important; enjoyment is!
If you're looking for a tried and true classic...you're never too old or too young to enjoy, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise-Brown. I promise!
So, find a comfy spot, curl up with a fun book and your little one, and let the magic begin!
Have you ever read a goosebumps book? Not the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. I mean a book that no matter how many times you read or re-read it, it gives you goosebumps. WONDER by R.J. Palacio is one of those books!!
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.
WONDER, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
The magic of Wonder continues in these beautifully written companion books.
This companion book features conversations between Mr. Browne and Auggie, Julian, Summer, Jack Will, and others, giving readers a special peek at their lives after Wonder ends. Mr. Browne's essays and correspondence are rounded out by a precept for each day of the year—drawn from popular songs to children’s books to inscriptions on Egyptian tombstones to fortune cookies. His selections celebrate the goodness of human beings, the strength of people’s hearts, and the power of people’s wills.
There’s something for everyone here, with words of wisdom from such noteworthy people as Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., Confucius, Goethe, Sappho—and over 100 readers of Wonder who sent R. J. Palacio their own precepts.
Now readers will have a chance to hear from the book's most controversial character—Julian.
From the very first day Auggie and Julian met in the pages of the Wonder, it was clear they were never going to be friends, with Julian treating Auggie like he had the plague. And while Wonder told Auggie's story through six different viewpoints, Julian's perspective was never shared. Readers could only guess what he was thinking. Until now. The Julian Chapter will finally reveal the bully's side of the story. Why is Julian so unkind to Auggie? And does he have a chance for redemption?
CHOOSE KIND! It'll give you goosebumps!
Halloween is just hours away. Do you need some last minute decorations? Try these easy upcycle crafts that are great for kids.
Gather up your old jars and some paints to make this colorful Halloween luminaries.
These cute egg carton spiders are great for toddlers and older kids to make. If you don't have pipe cleaners or wiggle eyes on hand, try using black paper strips for the legs and paste on your own paper eyes.
Wondering what to do with the empty toilet paper rolls from your mummy costume? Your little one will have lots of fun making these toilet paper roll pumpkins.
Did you know that the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book is coming November 4th? In the latest book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Long Haul, Greg goes on a road trip with his family.
The Lakewood Library will be celebrating the new book with games and activities plus a chance to win a copy of the new book. Join us Saturday, November 8th at 12:00 p.m. until 1 p.m. in the Kid's room for some Wimpy Kid fun!
P.S.: Want a sneak peek at the new book?
You daydream about catching your child reading Huck Finn or War and Peace but are rudely awakened to find them in front of the TV again. It seems like every conversation with your child ends with, "but books aren't as good as TV."
Why not capture your child's attention by introducing them to books based on their favorite TV shows or movies? The library owns several titles at many different reading levels based on popular TV shows and movies such as Scooby Doo and Star Wars. They may not be classic masterpieces but they just might get your child to read! Here are just a few of the popular TV shows or movies that you can find in books at your library:
Start your kids off on the path to reading with their TV and movie pals. Once the door to reading has been opened the possibilities are endless!
Photo credit: Lubs Mary. on Flickr
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, "I just can't wait."
The second one said, "I'll be there."
The third one said, "If you dare."
The fourth one said "Let's run, let's run!"
The fifth one said, "Isn't Halloween fun!"
Woooooo went the wind...
and the pumpkins made merry,
as they rolled on over to their local LIBRARY...
Join us for Halloween Storytimes and Events from October 16th through November 1st! Your local library will be celebrating Halloween with a ton of fun programs! We hope to see you there, in costume!!
Can we talk?
So far in Ready to Read Reminder, I have reminded you to WRITE, PLAY, READ, and SING and now we get to TALK. Just talk. What could be easier than talking?
I love to talk. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you. I can turn a simple Yes or No answer into a 20 minute monologue on what I saw driving to work this morning. I actually blame Dr. Seuss', And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, for my keen powers of observation while driving to and from home. You never know when you'll spot a blue elephant pulling a sleigh, with a Rajah, with rubies, perched high on his throne on your daily commute. I live in Evergreen, you know.
I've had this love of talking since I was little. My report cards always came home with this curious addendum, "Barbara likes to visit with neighbors." They were right, I do! The gift of gab can be a wonderful thing!
That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights TALK as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.
How does talking with children help them get ready to read? According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), talking with children helps them practice (and eventually master) the following skills:
The more words children hear in conversations during their early childhoods, the larger their vocabulary when they go to school. That big vocabulary helps them recognize words when they see them for the first time in print. They will understand more of what they read and be less frustrated as beginning readers.
The more books children read, and the more adults talk to children about the story, characters, and ideas in books, the more children can make connections between the books they read and their own lives. Children enjoy recognizing themselves in print and that pleasure motivates them to read more and discover more connections.
When adults tell stories to children, either familiar folktales, or family stories, it helps children learn that stories have a specific structure: they have a beginning, middle, and end, they have characters who take action and encounter conflict before resolving a problem. When children understand how stories work, they can carry that framework to their reading, where it can support them as they try to determine the meaning of the text.
Comprehension is such a critical part of successful reading. If you don’t understand what you read, you won’t be motivated to read more. The more children know about the world before they start to read, the more this background knowledge can inform their attempt to decipher what’s on the page. Parents who discuss new information about how and why and when things happen with their children are giving their children an excellent foundation they will build on every day as readers.
We’re used to thinking about Singing as the main practice that books phonological awareness, due to the ways songs stretch out syllables, slow down language, and provide lots of practice with rhyming sounds. But studies show that kids who are immersed in a lot of verbal conversations and a rich oral language environment show gains in their phonological awareness skills, as well. There’s just so much to learn about the sounds of our language, that the more information the brain receives, the better it can start to sort, classify, and understand the way those sounds work.
We know that children need to know three things about letters: the names of the letters, the shapes of the letters, and the sound or sounds that are associated with those letters. Although some children may seem like they absorb this information on their own, most children build what they know about the letters through conversations with their parents and caregivers. Naming letters on signs and billboards, pointing out letter shapes in sidewalk cracks or buildings, and voicing letter sounds while reading alphabet books or playing with blocks are all ways these conversations help make these connections.
A recent study showed that early childhood teachers can make a measurable impact on their childrens’ reading readiness just by adding a few simple activities to their shared reading every week. Teachers were trained to draw their children’s attention to print by simple activities such as pointing to the words in the title of a book, or underlining the words with their fingers as they read, or noticing the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters on the page. Children who received this type of guided reading showed greater achievements than children who didn’t in phonological awareness and letter knowledge skills up to two years later. Simple conversations can make a big difference!
The spoken word is a powerful thing...why just this morning I saw a flock of geese dancing across the road, while the foxes kicked a soccer ball around the field...it was amazing! But wait, wait, wait...there's more....
Photo credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr