When was the last time you played dress up? I'm guessing your last time was Halloween for most of you. Do you remember how fun it is? Kids enjoy dressing up. I have boys so they dress-up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman, wrestlers and sometimes they like to walk around in my high heels. Whatever your child likes to dress up as, add a book to the mix. Don't forget to get yourself a costume too! Start by letting your children choose a character they want to play from a book. If all of your children want to play the same character, that works too. Fun is the only rule in this family event.
Why am I suggesting this dress-up and read activity? Because Print Motivation is a very important early literacy skill that will keep your child interested books for years to come. Print Motivation is being interested in books and what they offer. Learning to read takes tremendous effort and persistence. For some children it takes more work than others. I can say this because learning to read was not easy for me. So, keep the FUN in reading! Find a book about something that appeals to your child. It could be super heroes, ballerinas, trains, or kitties. Then read and act out the story. Get into character by changing your voice to match the different characters in the story. Ask your children to help you find some props such as hats, goggles, a banana, or a spoon...anything to help the imagination and encourage acting.
Here are some book suggestions:
Birdie's Big-Girl Dress by Sujean Rim
I Don't Want to Go To School by Stephanie Blake
Photo credit: Rory Hyde on Flickr
Beat the summer heat with a cool book! Here's my recommendation for a nice chilly read:
Elliot, a very proper young man, finds a frosty new friend (named Magellan) at the aquarium. Elliot and Magellan have a "chill" time together at home, but what will Father say when he finds out??
Grab a copy of this great book from your local library and find out!
Having nine nieces and nephews as well as knowing a lot of friends with children, I have been invited to countless babyshowers. My favorite gift items? Bath toys!! You can never go wrong with bathtime books, foam letters or rubber duckies. Bathtime is a wonderful opportunity to engage your baby, toddler or preschooler in the Five Early Literacy Practices: Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play.
On pbs.org, they describe many ways you can encourage language and literacy development during bathtime; from naming body parts to asking your child what are they going to need for bathtime. There are even suggestions for first graders. My favorite one was to make up stories about the different bath toys. Once upon a time, there was a Pirate Duck named Orange Beak. He was on a mission to locate the treasure stolen by Princess Barbie and her Little Pony friends...
Ideas that incorporate the Five Early Literacy Practices into bathtime:
TALK- Use different words to describe how toys move in the water: splash, dip, sink, float, rock, glide, etc...
READ- Read bathtime books to your baby or point out words on your child's bubble bath or shampoo bottle
WRITE- Use bathtime crayons to write baby's name on the tile or use foam letters to spell out words
PLAY- Mix in science and math concepts by adding measuring cups and spoons to your bathtub toy collection
Read a good book before or after bathtime:
A board book. Great for babies and toddlers!
A cute story about an elephant reluctant to take a bath.
One of my favorite characters, the Pigeon! Mo Willems' books make me laugh!
Rub-a-dub! Now get those kiddos into the tub! And keep logging Summer Reading minutes!
STORYTIME: a regular time at which a story is read aloud to children.
Wanna get jazzed for the day? Just come to a storytime at your local library!
I do a weekly toddler storytime at the Evergreen Library and I look forward to it all week! It is my time to shine...use silly voices, see lots of smiling faces, Shake My Sillies Out, and end with a grand finale of the Hokey Pokey...this is not your mother's storytime! Gone are the days of hushed voices and long stories. Instead today's storytimes are interactive and most of all fun!!! Filled with well illustrated and age appropriate books, songs, fingerplays, felt board and interactive activities there is something for everyone at your libraries weekly storytimes.
According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights EARLY LITERACY STORYTIMES as one of the crucial activities designed to promote early literacy in young children.
Why it's Important:
Literacy-based storytimes offer libraries a way to be partners in education with parents and caregivers. Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) supports the definition of a literacy-based storytime as one that contains the following components:
- Parents and caregivers are invited to attend storytimes with their children
- At least one early literacy practice is highlighted during each storytime
- Storytime leaders model activities that build early literacy skills
- Books and activities promote the use of early literacy skills and practices
- Information about early literacy skills and practices and/or tips for building skills are provided to parents and caregivers during storytime, either verbally, via a handout, or both
At the library we LOVE storytime and we want you and your child to LOVE it too! So, drop on by and give us a try, we can't wait to see you!!!
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!