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Parents

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

Reading to your child should be fun. Why not make it fun for both of you? Here are a few of my favorite books that got the adult in this Children's librarian to laugh.

 Jake Goes Peanuts by Michael Wright

Anyone who has ever tried to please a picky eater will get a good chuckle out of this one.

 

Lester's Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell

The sweaters that cousin Clara knits for Lester are truly dreadful but also hilarious.

 

The Cat the Cat series by Mo Willems

Cat the Cat Who is That?, the first in this series, made me laugh so hard in a book store that my husband pretended not to know me.

 

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka

This is my current favorite. It's a great one for kids young and old. Check out the hilarious trailer and then RUN to your local library to get a copy.

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

I've always loved Bad Kitty! From her first mischevious adventures with Puppy, to her latest hijinks with creator and illustrator, Nick Bruel, Kitty has never disappointed. No dream of tuna is too tuna-y, no Puppy slobber is too slobbery, and no Uncle Murray Fun Fact is too fact-y, in fact, I just can't get enough.

Which made me ask myself, why? Why do I have this undying fascination with Kitty? Why do I care who wins the Kitty Cat Olympics? Why do I love playing What the Heck is That Thing? And, just how did that goofy cat get a refrigerator up a tree?

It wasn't until this week that I finally found the true reason...we both have May birthdays. YAY!!! Though she's a Taurus and I'm a Gemini, I have overcome that barrier and sworn to be her BIGGEST fan! Now it is my mission to make ALL of you her BIGGEST fans too! 

Let the adventure begin with Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel...

You'll be HOOKED!!!

 

To find out more about my favorite cat and her creator check out Bad Kitty Books, Uncle Murray will thank you.

Now, I'm off to play What the Heck is that Thing? Look out refrigerator!!!

 

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

Is your reader reluctant to read chapter books or fiction books of any kind? Try some non-fiction instead to get them interested in reading. Many kids prefer reading fact-filled books on their favorite topics rather than a story.

Have a conversation with your reader about what interests them. Then, come to the library to find some books that will support those interests and encourage them to read. Here are a few non-fiction series that might be appealing to your reader:

Ology World series

 

DK Eyewitness books

 

The Gross and Goofy Body series

Once your reader's nonfiction interests become clear, ask a librarian to help you find fiction books on the same topic. Sometimes this can be a good bridge into the world of fiction books for reluctant fiction readers! 

by: 
Marcy, Arvada

I'm all for reusing found items and making something fabulous on the cheap. This is one of those crafts.

These eye spy bottles encourage problem solving, word building, letter recognition and best of all they can keep kids busy on a road trip or while waiting in line at the DMV. No batteries required.

1. Take a water bottle, Mason jar, anything clear with a lid that you can hot glue into place. 
2. Collect 20 or more small objects that will fit through the neck of the bottle. Look online for examples. Some people find objects around the house some buttons and trinkets from the craft store and some people use themes like Halloween Bottles or ABC's.
3. Take a photo of the objects that will go into the bottle.

4. Choose filler. This can be rice, bird seed, beans, dried peas, whatever you have around the house.
5. Alternate layers of filler with the objects leaving a little shakable room in the bottle.
6. Glue the lid in place and attach the photo. You may want to laminate the photo.
7. Give it to your little one for hours of fun.

Another option would be what is referred to as a discovery bottle. Skip the picture of what is inside and let the kids discover what they will. You could fill the bottles with water and oil liberally laced with glitter or tint the water. You could alphabet beads and encourage your child to make words like scrabble in a bottle. The possibilities are endless!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Hi! I'm Barbara, and I have been asked to fill some VERY big shoes, here at JCPL, and continue the ongoing blog series entitled, Ready to Read Reminder.

Ready to Read Reminder, will focus on ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read), which has 5 practices designed to help you and your child build a life long love of reading: READ, TALK, SING, WRITE, and PLAY.

Each month I will highlight one of the 5 practices and share fun activities with you that you and your child can enjoy doing together. This month I will be exploring WRITING and the importance it plays in early literacy. 

How does writing with children help them get ready to read? The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL) states that,

By letting your child explore their world by coloring, drawing, and writing you are encouraging them to develop print motivation, expand narrative skills, vocabulary, phonological awareness, and letter knowledge. 

Print Motivation

We know that print motivation includes being excited about books and stories, wanting to read and be read to, and being interested in learning to read yourself. When children have a chance to do their own writing, whether it is a scribbled “list,” random letters on a label, or the initial of their first name, they have a chance to feel connected to print in an active, very different way than when they are listening to a story. It’s always powerful for children to have the opportunity to do things for themselves! Being an active participant in writing and telling stories helps keep children excited about reading stories, too.

Narrative Skills & Print Awareness

The very first writing that children do is connected to narrative skills: The first stage of writing development is when children draw pictures, then tell the stories that the pictures represent. When children do this, they have made the leap to understanding that marks on the page can carry meaning. When a child completes a drawing, caregivers can encourage the child's narrative skills by saying, “Tell me about this picture!” or “What's happening in this picture?” In addition, children's narrative skills can be expanded by providing them with opportunities to explore writing as a part of their dramatic play, such as creating menus while playing restaurant, or writing traffic tickets while playing police officers.

Vocabulary

We know that children whose caregivers talk with them more have larger vocabularies than children whose caregivers speak with them less often. Parents and caregivers can prompt discussions by modeling writing for their children, and then discussion what they are writing and why. Talking about grocery lists before and during shopping trips, or the content of family emails while sitting at the computer, or to-do lists when putting a sticky note on the refrigerator, all provide more opportunities for the child to hear new words in meaningful contexts.

Phonological Awareness

As preschool children begin to learn their letters and are able to make intentional marks on the page, writing “messages” as part of their play is one way they practice their knowledge of what sounds go with what letters. “Invented spelling” is what happens when children try to spell a word that they don’t yet know how to spell. The resulting “misspelled” words don’t mean that children aren’t learning well, instead it means children ARE learning—they are thinking very carefully about the sounds that they hear and the letters that they know.

Letter Knowledge

Even before children have the fine motor skills that allow them to draw or write letters on purpose, their growing understanding of the shapes of letters allows them to recognize these letters when they see them—on buildings, in books, and even in their own scribbles. As children practice making the lines and curves and circles they will later use to write letters, they sometimes will make marks or a scribble, look at it, and then identify letters that they see. “Look, I made a T!”

Every day is special with your little one but, who knew celebrating YOU, and the wonderful job you do every day, could also become an early literacy skill builder? Make Mother's Day cards for all the special "moms" in their lives and help your child create memories that you both will cherish for a lifetime. 

 

 

by: 
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.) 

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

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!

 

by: 
Marcy, Arvada Library

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!

Supplies:
White Card Stock
Cotton Balls
Crayons/Markers 
Glue
Ribbon

Instructions:
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.

Try some fun sheep/lamb books to go along with this great craft!

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

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.

by: 
Marcy, Arvada Library

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!

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