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Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

As a kid, there was always a cetain feeling of dread combined with excitement when the summer came to a close and my mom and I would go 'back to school' shopping. Whether heading to the first day of preschool or the first day of second grade, I always had butterflies in my stomach and trouble sleeping the night before. Reflecting on my experiences as a child and as a teacher, I thought I would share some books to help prepare your little one for the first day in a classroom or daycare.  I also included a few titles to make your elementary or middle school bound child laugh or feel a sense of ease about the upcoming school year.  

A cute board book for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners.  

See how Dino wins each "match".  


Daddy doesn't stick to the list in this funny story.  

A new book about overcoming elementary school bullies with a great attitude. 

Number 7 in James Patterson's popular middle school series.  This book will have boys and girls ages 9 and up laughing!


Image credit: Flickr


Anna Weyeneth Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

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 


Anna, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

In my last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned the importance of knowing your child’s learning style. Understanding how your child learns will help them gain confidence in their ability to tackle a new idea they are introduced to at school or home. If you’ve read my posts before, you know I’m always thinking about those of us with learning disabilities like dyslexia. If your child has a learning disability, they could use a confidence boost more than anyone!  So, if you don’t know your child’s learning style take this test to find a brief description of each learning style. Let’s focus on the visual learner. 

Visual learners can see or imagine what they are learning. They like to listen to descriptive stories. I thought this next one was interesting. Visual learners might have trouble with spoken directions. Maybe that’s why I have to tell my four year old to brush his teeth 8 times before he actually gets the toothbrush out! Tonight, when it’s time to brush teeth, I’ll just give him a visual. I’ll brush my teeth with my index finger. That’s a good visual for teeth brushing, right?

Anyway, back to other characteristics of a visual learner. Their mind creates illustrations or "movies" if you will. They like color. Use a color system to learn how to read or write. What’s an example of a color system? When your child learns the alphabet, have him/her write uppercase letters blue and lower case letters red. Let’s turn reading into a craft time. Grab a magazine, glue, and scissors. Choose a letter, for example “T”. Together, with your child, cut out words that begin with “T” like "table" or "trampoline" Next, cut out a picture of a table or trampolie. Glue the picture of the table or trampline next to the letter "T".  Later, when you child sees the letter “T”, they will also visualize a table or trampoline. I wonder if their minds will even imagine a person jumping on the trampoline.

You Tube is the visual learner's best friend. It has great flash cards. Below is one I like that focuses on the letter “B”.

You Tube also has sight words or high frequency words flash cards. I liked this video because of the use of color.


So, what are some book suggestions for a visual learner? Comic books or fantasy books might be a hit with your visual learner! 

Robot, go Bot! a comic reader


Calvin and Hobbes are always great! 

Journey by Aaron Becker

Photo Credit: Cheryl Colan

Marcy, Arvada

It's time to get out of the house! Spring has sprung and there is a whole lot of concrete out there in need of beautification. Sidewalk chalk has unlimited potential and you can even make your own.

What to do with this rainbow of possibilities?
Play a game! Here are 30 of the best ideas I've found:

Twister anyone?

Use chalk as a photography prop.

Chalk can even keep those literacy skills fresh over Summer break!

Cheap, easy, washable...what more could you ask for? In fact I think I will try some of these ideas here at the Arvada Library this summer so keep an eye out!

Get creative and let the Spring showers clear your canvas (or driveway.) 

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