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by: 
Marcy, Arvada Library

Have you ever wondered: why do we do crafts at story time?

Creating crafts at story time allows children to use their creativity and imagination. It helps them practice the fine motor skills they will use when they begin school. Children get to take home a tangible reminder of storytime, which may even prompt them to tell you the story all over again! Mostly, it is great fun.

To me, the best crafts are those that the child can do with little assistance and that utilize objects found around the house or outdoors in nature. Crafting does not have to be expensive, although it can be a bit messy! Here is an example of a craft I did in conjunction with a fairytale storytime.

Simply paint a rock green and let dry (triangular shaped rocks work well.) Add googly eyes and draw on nostrils with a sharpie. Add a little gold crown cut out of construction paper or craft foam, and glue the rock to the frog base. Couldn't be easier!

So, jump on in...and get crafty!

by: 
Mary, Outreach

A little more than a week ago, I had the pleasure of attending an event where Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy announced the titles of 25 picture books from the last 25 years that stand as high-quality examples of books that support early literacy learning in young children. The selection was based on the criteria that will be used to select the first-ever CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards later this year. 5 titles were chosen in each of 5 categories: READ, WRITE, SING, TALK and PLAY, which are all activities parents are encouraged to engage in with their children in order to build early literacy skills. When the CLEL Bell Award winners for 2013 are announced, in February of 2014, there will be 5 winners - one in each category.

The selection committee also created an activity sheet to accompany each title, which includes information about the book and how it supports early literacy learning as well as offering suggestions for activities parents and children can do after reading the book to extend learning. To check them out, and learn why each book was selected, click on the category link below! Click on a title to request the book from JCPL!

I'm personally familiar with all of these books and have shared many of them with preschool classes. They are truly wonderful and you and your children will enjoy each of them - even more so if you try out some of the extension activities created by CLEL!

SILVER BELL TITLES for READ:

Backseat A, B, See by Maria Van Lieshout

The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn (also available in Spanish: Lola en la biblioteca)

Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris

Wolf! by Becky Bloom

SILVER BELL TITLES for TALK:

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora

Tell Me the Day Backwards by Albert Lamb

SILVER BELLS TITLES for SING:

Baby Dance by Ann Taylor

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb

SILVER BELL TITLES for WRITE:

Andrew Drew and Drew by Barney Saltzberg

A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom (also available in Spanish: Un amigo de veras maravilloso)

The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer

SILVER BELL TITLES for PLAY:

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

Elizabeti's Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

Meeow and the Big Box by Sebastien Braun (also available in Spanish: Miau y la caja grande)

Pete's a Pizza by William Steig

Press Here by Herve Tullet (also available in Spanish: Presiona aquí)

by: 
Mary, Outreach

Count the Monkeys, a new picture book by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell, is right up my alley. Right up my goofy, silly-sense-of-humor alley, that is. Right from the title page we're invited to count the monkeys in the book. However, upon turning to the first page, we find NO MONKEYS. 1 king cobra has scared them off. When we quietly (so as not to draw the cobra's attention) turn the page to see if the monkeys are there, we are confronted with 2 mongooses (or is it mongeese?) who have chased away the cobra. The story continues in a similar fashion, with various non-primate animals scaring each other away. We have to zig zag our hands, roar, and shout "SCRAM!" in order to be able to turn the page and cross our fingers that we will FINALLY get to count the monkeys.  But will the monkeys ever appear?

This is a silly, engaging, active story that'll be great to share with your preschool-aged children. They can participate in the story by doing the motions described, and helping to count the animals. It will also be fun to anticipate what will happen on the next page - will the monkeys be there, or will another creature have scared them off? After reading, you might try inventing your own cumulative counting story. Ask your child to draw 1 item, then two, then three, etc., while you add the words that they tell you to the page. Telling stories is an important pre-reading skill to develop and helps grow a child's imagination, while drawing is a good way to start building the muscles needed for writing!

Happy reading!

by: 
Connie, Lakewood Library

We do lots of Baby Times here at the library and I always have parents asking what are the "best books" for babies.  This could be a very long list, but I found a list from Parents Magazine that shows the 25 must-have books for babies that I agree is a pretty good one! 

Check-out the list to see how many you recognize! 

A good baby book can become a classic instantly and the classics stand the test of time.  If you find some you would like to try out with your baby, look for them in our catalog and place a hold to pick-up at your local library! 

by: 
Mary, Traveling Children's Library

Learn some new songs and rhymes to share with your young child and help them build their early literacy skills too!  StoryBlocks, a project of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, has just added some new videos for you to check out.  There are songs and rhymes appropriate for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and some in Spanish, too! If you watch closely, you might even see a few JCPL staff members in some of the videos!

What are your favorite songs and rhymes to share with your young child? Let us know - your favorite may show up as a StoryBlocks video in the future!

by: 
Caroline, Columbine Children's

Pop in a toddler music CD for a smoother car ride.  Try Today I Was a Cat, by Mary Kaye.  The kids will love the story-like lyrics and the grownups will like the indie-folk rock sound! 

by: 
Rachel, Golden Library

As a kickoff to our Dig Into Reading Summer Reading Club, a few employees of Jefferson County Open Space brought their very own backhoe to the Golden Library on May 31st!

The backhoe’s bucket was decked out with a display of books and kids got to climb in and out of the seat where the operator sits!  Open Space employees presented information about the kinds of things backhoes are used for and answered questions.

Check out these photos!

by: 
Connie, Lakewood Library

Do you have kids who love to read? Then Young Readers’ Fun club is the place for them!  The Lakewood Library has a discussion group just for kids.

The club meets once a month to discuss a great kid’s book, have refreshments and make a craft that’s related to the book.

This month’s book is,
The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett

Some of the upcoming books include
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly,
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool.

You can pick up a copy of the book at the library, read it, then come and let us know if you liked it or not and if you would recommend it to other kids.  Hang out and enjoy the activities, games and fun!

The group is “drop-in” which means, just come on in and join us.

There are lots of book discussion groups at the library for kids and adults.
See the book schedule for all the upcoming books and discussion groups at the JCPL libraries!

by: 
Brian, Conifer Library

Conifer Public Library's summer LEGO club starts June 6th at 3:00pm. 
These interlocking blocks have captivated kids for decades. They are fun, imaginative toys that provide hours of amusement.

Did you know that building with LEGOS helps with child development? LEGO club encourages literacy through play. Using imagination and creativity in play can lead to better reading skills. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) takes play very seriously. Constructive play teaches children about their world, which creates understanding and concepts recognizable in books. Play is one of the 5 practices of the Every Child Ready to Read program, and building with blocks stimulates creativity and storytelling. Ask a child what they built and I'm sure you will hear some sound reasoning on the who, what, where, when and why of how it came to be. 
I'm very excited to see the creations from these sessions, and all of the kids I've talked to are brimming with energy to come to the library to play. 

For more information on Play from the ALSC

by: 
Trish, Belmar Library

Fans of fairy tales, and fans of poetry are in for a double helping of fun with Marilyn Singer’s beautiful new book:  Follow, Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems.

What is a “reverso poem”?  It is a form of poetry where the poem is presented forward, and then backward, where the last line is read first.  Changing nothing but the punctuation, the sentences still make sense, but often tell a very different story!

All kinds of poets have used this style, including Dr. Seuss.

Marilyn Singer shares the first reverso she ever wrote, about her cat August:

A cat                                  Incomplete:
without                              A chair
a chair:                              without
Incomplete.                       a cat.

Follow, Follow is Singer’s SECOND collections of fairy tale poems. It includes stories from Aladdin, the Little Mermaid, The Three Little Pigs, and Puss in Boots, among others. 

Her first book in this style came out in 2010, and it titled Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse.   You’ll find that each poem in this book is also a fairy tale. Read one way, it tells one side of the story (Snow White, Little  Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks), and then read backwards it tells the other side of the story (The Wicked Step Mother, The Big Bad Wolf, The Prince, The Three Bears).

Singer’s words are wonderful, and placed beside charming illustrations by Josee Masse, the stories they tell are truly magical.

Even readers who don’t generally like poetry will be enchanted by these books. They may even inspire you to write your OWN reverse poem!  Enjoy, Enjoy!

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