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by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Can we talk?

So far in Ready to Read Reminder, I have reminded you to WRITE, PLAY, READ, and SING and now we get to TALK. Just talk. What could be easier than talking?

I love to talk. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you. I can turn a simple Yes or No answer into a 20 minute monologue on what I saw driving to work this morning. I actually blame Dr. Seuss', And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, for my keen powers of observation while driving to and from home. You never know when you'll spot a blue elephant pulling a sleigh, with a Rajah, with rubies, perched high on his throne on your daily commute. I live in Evergreen, you know.

 I've had this love of talking since I was little. My report cards always came home with this curious addendum, "Barbara likes to visit with neighbors." They were right, I do! The gift of gab can be a wonderful thing!

That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights TALK as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

How does talking with children help them get ready to read? According to  The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), talking with children helps them practice (and eventually master) the following skills:

Vocabulary

The more words children hear in conversations during their early childhoods, the larger their vocabulary when they go to school. That big vocabulary helps them recognize words when they see them for the first time in print. They will understand more of what they read and be less frustrated as beginning readers.

Print Motivation

The more books children read, and the more adults talk to children about the story, characters, and ideas in books, the more children can make connections between the books they read and their own lives. Children enjoy recognizing themselves in print and that pleasure motivates them to read more and discover more connections.

Narrative Skills

When adults tell stories to children, either familiar folktales, or family stories, it helps children learn that stories have a specific structure: they have a beginning, middle, and end, they have characters who take action and encounter conflict before resolving a problem. When children understand how stories work, they can carry that framework to their reading, where it can support them as they try to determine the meaning of the text.

Comprehension is such a critical part of successful reading. If you don’t understand what you read, you won’t be motivated to read more. The more children know about the world before they start to read, the more this background knowledge can inform their attempt to decipher what’s on the page. Parents who discuss new information about how and why and when things happen with their children are giving their children an excellent foundation they will build on every day as readers.

Phonological Awareness

We’re used to thinking about Singing as the main practice that books phonological awareness, due to the ways songs stretch out syllables, slow down language, and provide lots of practice with rhyming sounds. But studies show that kids who are immersed in a lot of verbal conversations and a rich oral language environment show gains in their phonological awareness skills, as well. There’s just so much to learn about the sounds of our language, that the more information the brain receives, the better it can start to sort, classify, and understand the way those sounds work.

Letter Knowledge

We know that children need to know three things about letters: the names of the letters, the shapes of the letters, and the sound or sounds that are associated with those letters. Although some children may seem like they absorb this information on their own, most children build what they know about the letters through conversations with their parents and caregivers. Naming letters on signs and billboards, pointing out letter shapes in sidewalk cracks or buildings, and voicing letter sounds while reading alphabet books or playing with blocks are all ways these conversations help make these connections.

Print Awareness

A recent study showed that early childhood teachers can make a measurable impact on their childrens’ reading readiness just by adding a few simple activities to their shared reading every week. Teachers were trained to draw their children’s attention to print by simple activities such as pointing to the words in the title of a book, or underlining the words with their fingers as they read, or noticing the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters on the page. Children who received this type of guided reading showed greater achievements than children who didn’t in phonological awareness and letter knowledge skills up to two years later. Simple conversations can make a big difference!

The spoken word is a powerful thing...why just this morning I saw a flock of geese dancing across the road, while the foxes kicked a soccer ball around the field...it was amazing! But wait, wait, wait...there's more....

 

 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

What do you think of when you hear the words Book Club? A group of moms, sitting around someone's coffee table, discussing the latest chick lit? Or maybe a group of teens, sipping Starbucks and waxing prophetically?

Well, here at JCPL , we have our own kind of book club, and KIDS may apply!

Not only do you get to read a great book and share your thoughts about it with other kids, you also get to do a fun activity that relates to the book. Zen gardens, creating your own cartoon, quiz shows, scavenger hunts, and making Rube Goldberg machines are just a few of the things we have done so far. And what kids meeting would be complete without a snack?

Check out what your local library will be doing this month:

COLUMBINE YOUNG READER'S FUN CLUB

Columbine Library

Tuesday, October 7th, 4:30-5:30pm

Ages 8 & up

This Month's Book: The Escape by Kathryn Lasky

 YOUNG READERS BOOK CLUB

Evergreen Library

Monday, October 20th, 4:00-5:00pm

Ages 8-11

This Month's Book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

GOLDEN YOUNG READERS CLUB

Golden Library

Monday, October 6th, 6:30-7:30pm

Ages 8 & up

This Month's Book: Wait Till Helen Comes: a ghost story by Mary Downing Hahn

LAKEWOOD LIBRARY YOUNG READERS FUN CLUB

Lakewood Library

Tuesday, October 21st, 4:00-5:00pm

Ages 8 & up

This Month's Book: A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

Can't make it to a meeting? No worries! Evergreen Library also offers Book Club in a Bag. Book Club in a Bag has 8 titles for a 6 week check out. Each bag is filled with 10 paperback copies, one for each of your friends, a Book Club Promise bookmark for everyone to keep, and a folder with discussion questions, a summary of the book, an author bio, and activities for your book group.

Available Titles:

Shipwrecked by Rhoda Blumberg

Please Write in This Book by Mary Amato

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Peter & the Starcatchers by Dave Barry

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Sounder by William H Armstrong

Book Club...it's not just for the BIG kids anymore!

by: 
Sarah, Golden Library

Today is the Fall Equinox! To learn more about this fascinating time of year, try these fun activities out with your little ones:

 Snuggle up and read about the Fall Equinox:

By The Light of the Harvest Moon by Harriet Ziefert

Thanking the Moon : celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin

The autumn equinox : celebrating the harvest / Ellen Jackson ; illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis.

Finished reading? Make a leaf mask to celebrate!

 Then, strap on your leaf masks and sing the following rhyme with your kids while you twist and twirl around!

(to the tune of Row, Row, Row your Boat)

Leaves, leaves falling down

Falling on the ground.

Red and orange and yellow and brown,

Leaves are falling down.

 

Happy Fall everyone! :)

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

I just want to belt this one out! I first heard it on Sesame Street when I was a little girl and I have never forgotten it. From songs on the radio to special songs sung by family members, these are memories that will last a life time.

My grandmother turned 96 this week and there has never been a year when she and I haven't sung Happy Birthday to each other. When I was a baby my mom tells me that I would just laugh and laugh when my grandmother sang, not just polite laughter but, the infectious giggle, full of pure joy. The crazy thing is, my grandmother can't carry a note to save her soul. Psst...Don't tell her! While others were glad she hadn't chosen singing as a profession, I couldn't get enough of her silly songs. The power of music is an incredible thing. That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights SING as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

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

Phonological Awareness

Listening to and singing songs is one of the best ways for children to build their phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear the smaller sounds in words. This is a critical ability that allows children to sound out words on a page when they start to learn to read.

Because each syllable of every word in a song has its own note, in songs children hear that words can “come apart” in a way that they don't hear when they are listening to an unbroken stream of spoken language. (Chanting rhymes pull apart syllables sometimes, too: Think of how we say “five little mon-keys”.) Most songs and chants for children incorporate rhyming words, which helps children hear that the beginning and ending sounds of a word can be the same or different from other words. When we sing slow songs, children are able to hear words in a drawn-out manner. This can help them learn to distinguish not just syllables and ending sounds, but each individual sound (or phoneme) in a word.

Letter Knowledge

At one point or another, we've all used a rhyme as a mnemonic to help us remember information. (“Thirty days hath September...” or “I before E except after C.”) Songs and chants about shapes or opposites can help children learn to differentiate between objects and ideas. Letter knowledge is, at base, a shape recognition skill, so any rhyme, song, or game that talks about how things are the same and different can help build the skills children will need to identify their letters. And of course, the ABC Song helps them learn their letter names and alphabetical order!

Print Awareness

A foundational early literacy skill is understanding that print has meaning--that we use print to learn and do different things, and that print is all around us. Picture books of familiar songs or chants can help children make the connection between the words they know and the squiggles on the page. Books that show the musical notation of a song introduce children to yet another way print can carry meaning.

Narrative Skills

Many Mother Goose and other classic childhood songs are little stories, and listening to them helps children learn about story structure and sequencing. Even silly songs like “Found a Peanut” or “Little Bunny Foo Foo” have a beginning, a problem in the middle, and a resolution at the end. When children sing these songs, they have the experience of being a storyteller themselves.

Vocabulary

Just like picture books, songs have a great selection of vocabulary words, from the obscure (such as “tuffet”) to the merely less common (“In a cavern, in a canyon”). Hearing new words in context helps children build their vocabularies.

In addition, songs have a long tradition of being used as memory boosters! How many of you can still recite all 50 states because of a song you learned in elementary school? Or what about all the great science words in songs like “Why Does the Sun Shine?”

Print Motivation

Any time we can help children connect the words they say with the words on the page or around them in the environment, we are reminding them that the words that are important to them can be found in print. When children see that print has value, it increases their motivation to learn to read. When we print out lyrics to favorite songs, or read liner notes from a CD, or point to the words under the music in a songbook, we are engaging children in the connection between singing and reading. 

Sing a Song...you won't regret it!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Okay...I have a question for you...WHY?

Why what? 

Why are you writing a blog post about WHY?  

Why not?

Why would anyone want to read a blog post about a little three letter word...WHY?

Because I say so!

Why is a question, that if you have children, you will hear a minimum of one million and one times.

In a life time, you ask?

No. On a good day!

The nice thing is, you don't have to go the Why route alone. You have a lifeline and it's called, your local library.

WHY is what we DO! We have shelves filled to the brim with WHY.

Why is my goldfish orange? Why does my dog pant? Why does my cat purr? Why is the sky blue? Why do we breathe air? Why is your hair turning gray? Why are you looking at me that way?

We can help you get through the difficult WHY stage, painlessly, at the library.

Check out the, Big Book of Why, by John Perritano

Just wait: The bigger the kids, the BIGGER the WHY'S! Why can't I have the car keys? Why can't I wear this? Why don't you like my friends? We even have books for these questions too!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

"Hush, hush, it's sleepytime for puppies." Read in a whispered voice. My mom could do it the best! Every night for as long as I can remember, my mom read to me and my brother as part of our bedtime routine. Hush, Hush, It's Sleeptime by Peggy Parish, a Little Golden Book, was my FAVORITE! It became just as important to my bedtime routine as brushing my teeth and squirrelling that last drink of water out of my parents. This book was first published in 1968, when I was just taking my first steps, and I still have my WELL loved, original, copy on my bookshelf. Think back to your favorite book as a child...Babar, Curious George, or maybe Madeline. The one book you could never get enough of, the one you had memorized and could "read" yourself. A life long love of reading begins with that one simple story. That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights READ as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

How does reading with your young child help them get ready to read? The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL) states through:

Print Awareness

Children who have an awareness of print understand that the markings on the page represent spoken language. They understand that when adults read a book, what they say is based on the words on the page, rather than to the pictures.

Here’s a super story about what it looks like to learn how to “see” print.

Letter Knowledge

Learning letter names, shapes and sounds is a building block to being able to sound out words on a page. 

Phonological Awareness

The ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words.

Narrative Skills

The ability to describe things and events and tell stories.

Print Motivation

A child's interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, and likes trips to the library.

Vocabulary

Knowing the names of things.

Looking for a creative way to combine your local libraries summer reading program and fun at home?

"Here's a surefire way to build excitement around the written word. Inspired by book-bingo handouts used by librarians, we designed a treat-packed home version that rewards frequent and wide-ranging reading. Whether your kids are born bookworms or reluctant readers, they'll get a kick out of earning prizes through their bookish pursuits -- and never suspect that they're also boosting their literacy skills." - June/July 2014 issue Family Fun 

Check out A Simple Summer Reading Game, Book Bonanza for instructions.

I'm going to go home and find my Little Golden Book...hush, hush, it's sleepytime for readers.

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

When kids get to pick their own books they get greater pleasure out of reading. Reluctant readers sometimes struggle with deciding what to read since they aren't big fans of reading in the first place. Books like the Plot-your-own stories (a.k.a. Choose Your Own Adventure) are great because they put the reader at the center of the story. The reader is an active character who can shape the direction of the story. There are a variety of Plot-your-own stories. They can be fictional adventures or based on actual historical events. Because these books can have a number of conclusions based on the different decisions that a reader makes along the way, you may just find your reluctant reader rereading the same book over and over. Check out some of these great Plot-your-own story series.

Twisted Journeys

 

Interactive History Adventures

 

American Girl: Innerstar University

 

Star Wars: Decide Your Destiny

by: 
Marcy James

We use bubbles in our baby and toddler storytimes because they are fun, but also because they serve a purpose: Young children and babies can practice tracking an object with their eyes. They reach out to touch and pop the bubbles which utilizes their large motor skills and increases their range of motion. As with most effective learning, they simply think they are having fun!

Here are some other ways you can have a little fun with bubbles this summer:

Pipe-cleaner wands
Simply create a shape in a pipe cleaner and blow! Does a heart shaped wand make a heart shaped bubble?

Fairy Bubbles with drinking straws
Tape straws together, dip and blow for several tiny bubbles at once!

 

Bubble Window (Also makes large bubbles)
Take 2 straws and cut them to approximately 5 inches.
Thread a length of yarn (approximately 25-30 inches) through the straws and tie it.
Pull the straws to opposite sides to make a rectangle.
Dip in bubble solution and when you pull in apart you have a window!
If your finger has bubble solution on it you can poke it through the window and it won't break the bublble!
Woosh it through the air holding the rectangle shape and make a giant bubble!

Bubble Snakes
Cut the end off of a water or Gatorade bottle with scissors.
Wrap a piece of old towel or other fabric around the end and fasten with a rubber band.
Dip the cloth in solution - no need to saturate.
Blow through the mouth of the bottle and create huge lengths of foam.
Be sure that if solution gets inside the bottle that you don't drink it...YUK!

 

If you are very ambitious try a body bubble with a hula hoop!
      

Here is the recipe for a Bubble Solution that I like, but there are many to experiment with online!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

We celebrate fatherhood in the month of June, and lately, I find myself reminiscing about my first and most favorite friend to play with, my Daddy. I'll never forget his amazing piggyback rides or learning that bad throws cost runs in baseball; or that on rainy days he'd spend hours, with me, playing checkers, dominoes, or just doing a puzzle.  Though, I didn't always win, I didn't care, I was having fun with my Dad and he was having fun with me. ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights PLAY as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

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

Play can be a powerful boost to early literacy learning! The critical component of play that builds children’s literacy skills is oral language. This includes talking about their play, describing what they are doing, negotiating roles, and discussing props.

Narrative Skills

When children act stories they know, either as a play or with props or puppets, they practice sequencing events. They also are exploring and investigating story structure. Putting events in sequence and understanding how stories work are both skills that help children understand the new stories that they read.

Vocabulary

As children play, they can be encouraged to talk about their scenarios and describe their actions and props. (“I’m stirring the eggs because I’m cooking pancakes for dinner.” “This stick is the magic wand and I’m going to turn you into a butterfly.”) This gives them a chance to practice using the vocabulary words they are learning. If a word in a book is one children have spoken themselves (instead of just hearing it), they are more likely to be able to recognize it on the page. They also can learn new words when an adult introduces new ideas into the play. “What would you like for dessert? Would you like cake, or a sundae? A sundae is ice cream in a bowl with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top.”

Print Motivation & Print Awareness

Play times can also be an opportunity to show children that print is used in a wide variety of ways. Delivery drivers use maps, chefs use recipes, shoppers use lists. The more children see lists, notepads, signs, letters, and other props with printed words on them, the more they learn that print is something that is all around them, not just in books. The more different kinds of texts children are exposed to, the more likely it is they will find a type of text or a purpose for reading that they can connect with and be motivated by.

Parents can also follow their child's interests and play preferences by bringing home books about the topics their children are interested in and like to act out. If a child has a favorite toy horse and likes to play vet, bringing home non-fiction about different breeds of horse or stories about vets can introduce both new ideas for future play as well as keep children intrigued about books in general.

Letter Knowledge

A milestone in children’s imaginative development is symbolic play, when they can use one prop or object to represent something else, as when a building block held to the ear becomes a cell phone. Dramatic play allows for many of these substitutions! Understanding that one object can stand for another object is a basic realization that leads to the more complicated understanding that a shape on the page can stand for a letter of the alphabet, and a word on the page can stand for a spoken word.

In addition, children learn through all their senses, so the kinesthetic exploration of shapes and letter forms via puzzles, play dough, sensory tables, and body movements all help children build their letter knowledge. Sorting games and matching activities directly involve shape recognition and prepare children to recognize small differences in letters.

Phonological Awareness

Singing isn’t the only way to build phonological awareness skills; chanting games (“Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?”), clapping games (“Miss Mary Mack,” call-and-response rhythm games), and rhyming games (“Down By the Bay,” “Willoughby Wallaby Woo”) all contribute to this awareness as well, by highlighting the rhythms and sounds of oral language, and involving the whole body.

If you are looking for something new to do check out, The Great Outdoors: 25 Outside Activities from Family Fun magazine.

So, get outside this weekend, dig out that old catchers mitt and make some lasting memories. Your kids will love you for it!

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.

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