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Parents

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!

by: 
Sarah, Golden Library

Parents and caregivers, grab your smartphones and tablets! Today's featured app is full of adorable little monsters who are ready and able to help your little monsters learn their sounds, letters and words.

Playing with the sounds that make up a word is called "phonological awareness" and is one of the important pre-reading skills your child needs to practice. Learning their letters is called "letter knowledge" and is an equally important early literacy skill. Fortunately, practicing these skills with monster friends is a ton of fun!

Pick a word to play with (all words are organized alphabetically) and watch the letters scramble around the screen. Pick up each letter with your finger and hear its sound as your move it. Put the letters back in order to get an adorable mini-movie that illustrates the meaning of the word along with a spoken-aloud definition that's easy to understand. Check out the video below to see the app in action:

Endless alphabet is available for both Android and iDevices. The app and base word set are free with optional paid downloads to expand the game. This app is rated 4+ on iTunes, but has been getting rave reviews from parents with children as young as 16 months. So don't be afraid to try it out with your toddler! :)

Download app for Android Devices

Download app for iDevices

In case you missed it, visit last month's app post. Keep reading for another awesome app next month! :)

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

Think back to when you were a kid. You wanted to do the same things your friends were doing, right? You wanted to listen to the same kind of music, wear the same kinds of clothes, and read the same kinds of books. For struggling readers this is not so easy.

But did you know that the library has High-Low books? High-Low books are also known as High interest-low vocabulary books. These are books specifically designed to appeal to kids and teens that are not ready to read books at their grade level but they don't want to read "baby books" either. High-Low books can do wonders to build a kid's self-esteem about reading. The plot summaries of these books sound no different from the ones their peers are reading. Instead, the authors use vocabulary better suited to help kids who are reading at a level lower than their grade. 

Sometimes struggling readers lack confidence. If they think their only book options for reading at their level are stories or subjects that appeal more to younger kids, their fragile spirits can be crushed. We have tried to make it easier to find these books in our catalog by grouping them together under the genre High interest-low vocabulary books. This group contains a variety of books that will appeal to a variety of ages and reading levels.

Need some more help figuring out which one is right for your child or teen? Feel free to ask your librarian. Be sure to tell your librarian what your child's interests are and the names of some of the books your child has had success reading. This will help us fill your arms with titles that will encourage your child to read because they are appropriate for their reading level and not lame.

by: 
Barbara and Robyn, Columbine Library

Toys have started to appear in all of the libraries. And with their arrival, patrons and staff are asking, “Why toys?” The answer is, toys lead to play and play leads to the development of literacy skills. Play is the way young children learn. 

There are three stages of play. Exploratory or Object play occurs with 0-3-year-olds. They love to chew on board books and everything else they can get their hands on. From there they move on to Imaginative play at 3-5 years. They are developing vocabulary and social skills, such as sharing. And, they love to pretend! All of this play leads to the last stage, Investigative play, for 6-8-year-olds, which includes physical play like riding a bike. They also love to build things, draw, paint, and explore.

Through play, children learn about their world. These activities help them understand language and stories. Play is so important that the United Nations High Commission has recognized it as a basic right of every child. Offering blocks, bricks, and other manipulatives increases STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill building opportunities in our libraries. Our goal is to reinforce the importance of play by offering a variety of activities to children and caregivers.

The toys you see in the libraries are the result of a donation from the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. Jerry Kline is the founder of Innovative Interfaces and has worked in and with libraries for more than 30 years.  A sizable portion of the Foundation's activities are offered to enhance libraries and their communities. 

We hope you’ll help us encourage play by spreading the word!

by: 
Mary, Kids and Families Outreach

Yesterday, Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) announced the winners of the first annual Bell Awards - an award that honors "five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children." One book in each of the categories of READ, TALK, SING, WRITE and PLAY is chosen from hundreds of books published in 2013. The 5 categories have been identified as best practices to support early literacy learning in young children.

Each of these books is great for sharing with your young child, and lend themselves perfectly to extension activities that lead to even more fun and learning. The CLEL Bell website has activity sheets for each book that offer wonderful extension ideas! 

The winners are: 

READ:

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier; illustrated by Suzy Lee

TALK:

Moo! by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (coming soon to JCPL!)

SING:

Nighty-night, Cooper by Laura Numeroff; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

WRITE:

The Things I Can Do by Jeff Mack

PLAY:

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Check 'em out today!

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