April 20 - All libraries closed for Easter
Graphic novels are great tool to get reluctant readers hooked on reading. Often graphic novels have the power to be "gateway books": They can give reluctant readers the illusion that they aren't really reading, but in fact, they are. There is more text inside than one might think and lots of critical thinking is required between frames.
Publishers have become savvy to the popularity and useful nature of graphic novels. Now a days you can find graphic novels for kids about anything. States of matter, Pearl Harbor, and even math topics. Many classic and contemporary fiction titles now have a graphic novel cousin. If a novel intimidates your child, see if they will read the graphic novel. It might inspire them to give the original a try. Visit your local library today to grab an arm full.
On a related note, Free Comic Book day is May 3rd! Why not be a Superhero to your child and get them a FREE comic book! Comic book stores across the country will be giving away comic books to people of all ages. These comic books have been specifically created for this annual event. Many local comic book stores in the metro area will be participating. To find one near you try the Free Comic Book Day store locator. Still not convinced? Perhaps you will listen to the man, Stan Lee.
It's that time of year again...when your house is filled with eggs, eggs, and more eggs. What do you do with all those eggs?
Here are some fun ideas that your whole family will enjoy: Make a yearly tradition of dying eggs for your Easter egg hunt. Your kids are never too young or too old to enjoy making that special egg! Get creative, the sky's the limit. What do you do with the leftover egg cartons? Take a nature hike and let your child fill the individual holders with "treasures" found along the way. It's a great way to keep everything together and organized.
After the candy has been eaten and the plastic eggs have lost their appeal...fill them with rice or beans...and now you have musical shakers. Music promotes language acquisition, listening skills, memory, and motor skills. Plus, music is an essential Every Child Ready to Read practice! And if you still need more ideas...there's always scrambled or over easy!
I just finished a great book: How to Catch a Bogel by Catherine Jinks. It's perfect for kids 4th grade and up who like scary stories.
Birdie’s work as an apprentice to Alfred saves her from being a poor orphan in London. Alfred is a Bogler, which means he traps and kills monsters who like to eat children, and Birdie is his bait. She is fast on her feet but will she be fast enough every time? Check out the book trailer if you dare!
Now that spring has finally arrived, I'm looking forward to this year's planting season and growing some container tomatoes on my balcony. I think I'll do an experimental planting as well this year as well, and find out if kale can grow in a container pot!
Why not introduce your kids to the joys of planting and growing this spring?
Catch kids' attention with this cute little rhyme:
A little sun,
(make a sun overhead with arms)
A little rain,
(wiggle fingers in the air in a downward motion)
Now pull up all the weeds.
(gesture pulling weeds up with the hands)
Our flowers grow all in a row,
(hold up forearms and extend fingers to make flowers and stems)
From tiny little seeds.
(pinch imaginary seed between thumb and forefinger and show to the kids)
Explain how seeds grow into plants and flowers by reading one of these great books together:
Seeds Go, Seeds Grow by Mark Weakland
How A Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
Next, get those little hands dirty! :)
You might want to create a paper flower and label parts of the plant, and/or germinate seeds at home using household supplies!
They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
Make this fun loop craft and say, "Hello Spring!" Play with fluffy wooly cotton balls instead of snow. You may want to make a whole flock!
White Card Stock
Cut a 2" strip of card stock. Glue in a loop.
Cut ears out of card stock. Glue behind loop sticking out as shown in picture above.
Draw on a face.
Glue four cotton balls to the bottom for feet.
Break cotton up into 1/2" balls. Glue the little balls to the top of the head and down the back of the lamb completely covering the the paper loop except the face of the lamb.
If you are looking for a little playmate for this little creature, make a Paper Loop Chick to keep him company.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mom reading aloud to me. Not just as a little kid but through middle school. Reading aloud to kids drops off dramatically after third grade and so does a child's interest in reading. Reading aloud to older kids has many benefits especially for those kids who are reluctant to read on their own.
-When you read aloud to kids you are modeling positive adults behavior towards reading. Kids just can't wait to grow up so why not show them that adults enjoy reading too.
-Reading aloud transforms reading from a solitary activity into a shared social experience. This creates positive and fulfilling reading experiences.
-Hearing words read aloud can increase confidence with sounding out words in print. Many kids are reluctant to read because they struggle with sounding out words. The more words a child hears the greater their success will be when they encounter words in print.
So find a warm spot and share a good book together. You can read anything you want and it can be any length. A classic fiction story, a non-fiction book, or today's comics section. Need some suggestions to get you started? Here are a few of my favorites for reading aloud to older kids.
Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant by Kate klise and M. Sarah Klise
Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
The Scarecrow and His Servant by Pilip Pullman
For more great suggestions see our Great Family Read-Aloud book list.
We've all seen jogging strollers being pushed by moms and dads that love to run. But here's something new: the Longboard Stroller for parents that love to skateboard!
I love the idea of parents being able to include their children in their favorite activities (instead of giving them up!) and being able to promote a culture of fitness while children are small.
Check out the test day video, shot in Cologne, Germany:
What do you think of the longboard stroller? Is this something that you'd want to do with your kids?
You have probably heard this before. I have, and yet it still blows my mind.
By age three your child's brain is 80% developed...90% by age five.
Interacting with your baby/toddler/preschooler daily has a huge impact on their early learning and language development. At our libraries we offer you a fun tool to make these times of learning and bonding even better.
Our free literacy calendars offer facts that motivate and activities that inspire. We have calendars for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that will guide you through the month. You will find out about materials and programs we have to support you during this stage in development.
For instance, did you know we have kits with picture books and CD's so your preschooler can "read" along? Did you know that all of our locations offer fun story times for babies and toddlers? (Actually, they are really fun for the caregiver as well!) You will also find buget friendly ideas for creative play like using a muffin tin and different sized balls to make an easy shape sorter for your baby. Or, try taking your preschooler on a "rhyming words" walk where you point out things around the house or neighborhood that rhyme, red/bed, dog/log?
Enjoy a few minutes of meaningful play every day with your beautiful baby...and grow that beautiful brain!
Little bodies love to be in motion! Come to storytime at JCPL, and you'll see just what I mean! However, when they're stuck inside on a rainy (or snowy!) day, little bodies do tend to get a bit cranky when confined.
Here are some of my favorite action song CDs that are perfect for bad weather days. Of course, they're perfectly fun to play along with on beautiful days, too!
Action songs work to improve self-regulatory behavior, gross and fine motor skills, and increase full-body strength and coordination. They're a fun way for kids to learn important concepts such as stop and go, wait, throw and catch, point, and so on. Plus, improving gross and fine motor skills will lead to your child being able to hold a book, a pencil and ultimately learning to read and write.
Steady, Ready, Jump! by Georgiana Stewart
Activity Songs & Games by Georgiana Stewart
I hope you have fun playing along with these CDs. Many of the songs I use regularly at my storytimes!
I'd like to introduce you to a picture book title that's new at the library, and is leaving patrons (and staff alike) in stitches: Moo! by David LaRochelle.
This is the story of "one cow, one word and one udderly wild adventure." That's right! This picture book only has one word in it!
In case you're wondering why anyone would want to read a picture book with only a few words (or only one) in it, let me explain:
Books with limited, or no text, are great for young readers because the child can easily master the text, and then can focus on understanding on what's happening in the story by looking at the pages. Once your child knows the word(s), they can "read" the book by themselves, encouraging reading confidence.
Stories with few words are also great conversation starters. Engage your child in a discussion about what's happening in the story. The pictures can be interpreted in many ways, encouraging the imagination to run riot. Talk about the characters' facial expressions and body language. What kind of non-verbal cues is your child picking up from the story?
So now that you know the secrets of the one-word book, hopefully you will be as moooved by this story as I was! :) Put a copy on hold for yourself today!