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Recommendations

by: 
Anna Weyeneth Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

School is over. Now what can we do to help our little pre-readers and readers to keep from getting bored? How about putting together a Story Telling Basket?

1) Choose a familiar story your child enjoys. I'll use Goldilocks and the Three Bears  for my example. 

2) Collect a few items from around the house that relate to the story. Three stuffed animals to represent the three bears and a doll or action figure to play the role of Goldilocks. Three plastic bowls, spoons, and three various size "blankets". These blankets could be easily substituted for washcloths. Keep in mind kids really don't care if the objects match the story. Your objects don't even have to be the right scale or size. (Goldilocks could be bigger than Papa Bear.)

3) Lastly, add the correspondingbook from your local library or your home library. Toss these items into a basket (or box) and you've got your very own Story Telling Basket! Quick-and-easy, right? Yet you'll soon be tapping into a couple of important pre-literacy skills and practices: talking and playing

Use this Story Telling Basket to TALK and PLAY with your child and watch as their imagination takes them away. Listen how they create and retell their own story. Interacting with the Story Telling Basket will give them a chance to practice their new vocabulary. You might even get some insight to things they are experiencing, curious about, or interested in. Let it be their story no matter how far it strays from the actual story in the book. Have fun and don't forget to log those minutes and get your chance to win prizes in our summer reading program

Photo Credit: Daniel Rocal 

 

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Ever feel rushed?  I have a bad back, which constantly reminds me to stop and take care of myself.  If only I got a text before the twinge of pain!  But wait!  Texts and tweets for healthy living are out there.  And, there are texts and tweets for fun things to do with your child to help stimulate their brains.  Perfect for those days when you are not feeling creative or are just plain rushed.

I love this tag line from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Baby Coalition: "Your baby has you. You have text4baby."  Text BABY to 511411 and get free messages during pregnancy and your baby's first year.   

A local organization, Bright By Three, sends weekly texts in English or Spanish about ways to support healthy development in babies and toddlers.  Just text 'BRIGHT' for English or 'BRILLANTE' for Spanish to 444999.  

Does Jeffco Public Library offer Early Literacy tips?  Oh yes!  Follow us on Twitter: #EarlyLiteracyTips or follow us on Facebook. To access our past Early Literacy posts, click on this link.  Some are simple like, "Sing along with your favorite song" or "Snuggle up with a good book".  Here is one I really love to share: 

My Early Literacy tip for this summer?  Register you, your family and your baby for Summer Reading '15! It's for all ages, 0 to 100 and beyond. Doing learning activities with baby counts as brain exercise and reading minutes.  When you read books, magazines, whatever you fancy, in front of baby, you are modeling that reading is important as well as enjoyable to your baby. Help us reach 1,000,001 minutes in Jefferson County!  You can register online or at the library starting May 29.  Log minutes online weekly and win prizes!  

It may sound silly to have to remind ourselves to sing a song or snuggle up with a book. But, let's face it.  We are busy people!  A little nudge to take 5 minutes to stretch my back saves me lots of time (not to mention money;) that I would otherwise spend at the chiropractor's office.  Happy texting and tweeting!!!  

Image credit: Flickr

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

VOCABULARY: knowing all kinds of words

Did you know?

That the average 1 to 1 1/2 year old child has a vocabulary consisting of around 20 words.

Fast forward one year to age 2, and this same child will have a 200–300-word vocabulary.

Add one more year and by the time they reach the age of 3, their vocabulary has grown to be about 900–1,000 words!!!

This means that by the age of 3, the average child's vocabulary is 50 times larger than it was just two years before...that's astounding!

According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights VOCABULARY as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.

Why Is It Important?

It's much easier to read a word when it's a word you already know. Children with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

Encourage children to learn their native or home language first; this makes learning another language (speaking and reading) easier later.

  • Talk with children in positive and conversational ways; commands and “no’s” do not encourage language development.

  • Carry on lots of conversations with children.

  • Explain the meanings of new words.

  • Read books! Picture books use a different vocabulary than casual spoken conversation.

Think your toddler isn't listening to what you say? THINK AGAIN!

 

by: 
Jill J., Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

When my son was around 3 years old and started showing an interest in super heroes and Star Wars, I became one very excited parent!  

All of a sudden, I realized that I was going to be able to introduce him to Yoda and to explain Thor the Mighty's origin story.

My son is now 5 years old and we both share a love for super heroes and Star Wars.  In fact, I think he might know more details about various characters and realms than I do!  I have been using graphic novels specifically targeted at preschool kids, to bond with my son over a common interest, to nurture a love for reading and to have fun learning about super heroes together.  

 Not so many years ago, comic books in school were considered the enemy. Kids caught sneaking comics between the pages of bulky—and less engaging—textbooks were likely sent to the principal!  Don't let that happen!  

Sharing graphic novels can be a lot of fun for parents and their preschool aged kids. Don't worry about the long held assumption that they aren't good enough because they aren't considered serious literature.  Have fun and enjoy!  

And if you are worried about it, recent research has suggested that:

  • Reluctant readers might pay more attention to graphic novels: The visual component can help kids imagine the story better and may help them become better writers and readers
  • Providing a variety of formats to those already hooked on reading enhances the love of reading
  • Reading graphic novels may enhance creativity and promote literacy by fostering a love for reading

 With Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 2nd and the Denver ComiCon right around the corner on May 23-25, take an opportunity to check out how much fun you and your child can have together exploring graphic novels!

 Here are some great titles that are available at the library:

5 Minute Marvel Stories

The Mighty Thor:  an Origin Story

 

DC Superheroes Storybook Collection

Wonder Woman:  the Story of the Amazon Princess

 Star Wars The Adventures of Luke Skywalker

 

Image Credit

by: 
Anna Weyeneth, Kids & Families Outreach Librarian

I'm an advocate for children with learning disabilities and children who aren't comfortable in front of a book. According to a National Institutes of Health study, one in seven people struggle with some kind of learning disability.

Learning disabilities are difficult to discover in young children. However, it is important for us as parents to be aware of the early warning sign of a learning disability. If you are not sure what these warning signs are read this article by Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.

I was diagnosed with dyslexia in the second grade. I learned to overcome it and your child can too. I'm convinced reading humorous books will help children who have learning disabilities and children who don't learn to love reading! 

Have you ever had the chance to read the book Moo! with your kids? My 3 year old, 5 year old, and I love it! The illustrations are amusing, brightly colored, and that cow is just adorable! In two turns of the page, you and your children will relate to the cow and farmer as their interactions parallel that of a parent-child relationship.

Surprisingly, "moo" is the only word in the book, so you'll have to use your voice to distinguish and describe the story. I enjoy asking my boys their interpretation of the story. It's a book they can read. The word "moo" turns into a sight word; which means they see the word, remember what it looks like, and read it. To encourage your child to learn how to read the word moo, or any word, pass your finger under the word as you read it out loud. This book has won a CLEL Bell award for its focus on Early Child Literacy. You and your children are guaranteed to enjoy it.

 

Peanut Butter and Cupcake  is another book my boys and I enjoy! The characters in this book are food. They are photographs of actual, tasty-looking food! One time, after reading this book with my boys, they immediately asked for a snack after we closed the book. That is how appetizing the pictures are in this book.

The story is about a piece of peanut butter toast who is trying to make a new friend. Peanut Butter has to be brave and invite other "kids" to play with him. Not all of the "kids" want to play, but Peanut Butter doesn't give up. Terry Border, the author, chose a nice use of repetition in the story. Soon your child will be reading it along with you. There are a couple of jokes for parents too! I love it when authors do that for the adults! I hope you LOL with your children when you read! Enjoy!

 

 Image credit a4gpa 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

NARRATIVE SKILLS: describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events, and making predictions

Once Upon a Time...in a far away land, there lived a beautiful princess and her toad, Fred. Fred was no ordinary toad...no, Fred was a magical toad!!! Fred could sing showtunes, and not just one showtune but, any showtune ever sung, and when he sang he danced, and when he danced he wore a tiny tophat upon his head. People would travel far and wide to gaze upon Fred, the magical and musical toad, for just one glimpse of Fred, in his tophat, would bring great joy and happiness. One day an evil witch visited the kingdom to see this magical and musical toad for herself and...

That's how the magic of stories begin, with four little words. It's these four little words along with a multitude of others that encourage our children to explore their creatvity and foster their love of reading.

According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights NARRATIVE SKILLS as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.

Why Is It Important? 

When children can describe something or retell stories, it shows that they are comprehending what they are reading. Understanding what they're reading is crucial to helping them stay motivated to keep reading.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversations rather than yes/no or right/wrong answers.

  • Talk about your day and its series of events.

  • Mix up the events in a story; make it silly!

  • Guess what comes next—or come up with a different ending.

  • Read stories without words; they really help focus on this skill.

  • Name objects, feelings, and events.

Now it's your turn to have fun, be creative and start your own story.

Once Upon a Time...

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

This month, we are celebrating One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO).  The winning title, "How do Dinosaurs get well soon?" or "¿Cómo se curan los dinosaurios?" by Jane Yolen (with awesome illustrations by Mark Teague) was announced on April 13.  Have a four year old?  Bring your child to the library to pick up a free copy and add the book to your collection at home!  

In the spirit of the dino themed book series, I thought it would be fun to share how I have been incorporating dinosaurs into my bilingual storytimes. Reading about dinosaurs is a fabulous way to introduce new vocabulary in English and Spanish.  

First off, my puppet, Tommy T-Rex, gets the kids excited.  We talk about his sharp teeth or 'dientes afilados' and how they are used to only eat meat or 'carne'.  Tommy cracks the kids up as he adamantly describes himself as a meat-eating CAR-NI-VORE or 'carnívoro' and not a plant-eating HER-BI-VORE or 'herbívoro'.  Nope, no herbivores here, just a meat loving carnivore.  Then, we read the book by Jane Yolen. What is so great about the series is that many of her books have been translated into Spanish, including the more recent title "How do dinosaurs stay safe?" or "¿Cómo se cuidan los dinosaurios?".  

I came across a series of bilingual books at the library like this in the 'Español Reader' section:

And I found a Spanish version of a 'Harry and the dinosaurs' book!  His name is 'Dani' in the Spanish editions.

Moving and singing are great for learning new words!  I came up with 'T-Rex, T-Rex turn around' (instead of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear) and translated it into Spanish.

T-Rex, T-Rex turn around (da una vuelta)

T-Rex, T-Rex, touch the ground (toca la tierra)

T-Rex, T-Rex, stomp your feet (pisan los pies)

T-Rex, T-Rex, eat some meat (come la carne)

T-Rex, T-Rex, roar with all your might (ruge con todas tus fuerzas)

T-Rex, T-Rex, say goodnight (di buenas noches)! 

It can be tough to engage children in learning new things.  Ask what they are interested in and go with it.  Remember, when it stops being fun, try something else or try again later!  

ROAR!!!

 

Photo credit: flickr

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

If you have been following my last three blogs, you may already be engaging your little one with a second language! But, what happens when you get stuck on a phrase or cannot pronounce a word in another language?  Do you give up?  

One of the things I found myself doing in the past was holding back because I was afraid to make mistakes. I learned from many people whose second language is English to just let go and try. So, I make a mistake. Who cares?

I have Spanish speaking friends who sometimes misuse a phrase or mispronounce a word in English.  Does that stop us from talking?  No way!  It becomes a teachable moment between us.  I might teach the correct phrase or pronunciation and they might share a way to express that phrase or word in Spanish.  And vice versa when I make an error.  Let's face it, no one can be a true master of any language, including his or her own native language.  For example, do I know every medical term known to my physician? Even more, I am learning new technology terms and phrases from our Digital Experience team all the time.  Talk about another language!  All I can do is keep learning and trying.

Still edgy about pronouncing words in another language?  Try uniteforliteracy.com. There are 100 digital or ebooks created right here in Colorado.  The books have been translated into over 20 different languages. Let the books do the reading for you! The best part is, because the books were locally designed, the topics are relevant to your child and his or her daily experiences.  There is even one called 'Who lives at the Denver Zoo?'

And never forget our own library.  Check out audiobooks in Spanish:

And find a few titles on Hoopla:

Mistakes?  Errores? Don't give up! Carry on mis amigos, carry on...

Photo credit: flickr 

 

by: 
Jill J., Outreach Kids & Families

My son loves monsters. We have monster puppets, monster books, monster toys, shirts with wacky monster designs, monster socks etc. These are goofy, silly, harmless monsters. Sometimes at night, however, he is afraid of the scarier kind of monsters. Recently, he had a couple of nights where he was afraid there was a monster under his bed. So, I was inspired to track down some books and ideas to help him battle his nighttime monsters. I discovered a fantastic book called:

 Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin

This book is hilarious AND it makes scary monsters look totally silly! These monsters are actually terrified of tiny, harmless bubbles! This book really helped my son to laugh at these silly monsters and it made him feel brave, too. 

Extend the storytime experience by blowing bubbles after reading the story. This way, your child can show how brave they are by popping the bubbles eagerly. They aren't afraid of bubbles like those super silly monsters are! Also, take a look on Pinterest to find fun ideas and recipes for making a "monster repellent" or "monster spray" to let your child use in their room. You could also ask your child to use washable markers to draw a picture of a scary monster. Tape the drawing up outside. Hand your child a squirt bottle full of water and let your child "wash" away the scary monster!

Image Credit

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

I really love February!

The holidays are over...the children's award books from the previous year have been named, and it's time to look forward to another year of great reading.

As my daughter gets older, I love using books not only for entertaiment, but also as an amazing way of teaching life lessons.

February is Black History Month, and I have found two amazing new books to add to my list of captivating portraits of African American life, both past and present:

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award Winner

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Running out of night, Sharon Lovejoy

A Children’s Book Review Seven Middle Grade Books for African American History Month Pick

Fans of Elijah of Buxton, Trouble Don’t Last, and Stealing Freedom will be drawn to this tale of the incredible journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom.

Every day is a misery for a nameless, motherless Southern girl who is treated cruelly by her pa and brothers. Her life changes forever when a runaway slave named Zenobia turns to her for help and shelter. Longing for her own freedom, the girl decides to run away, and she and Zenobia set off on a harrowing journey. Along the way, Zenobia names the girl Lark, after the bird, for her ability to mimic its song.

Running by night, hiding by day, the girls are pursued by Lark’s pa and brothers and by ruthless slave catchers. Brightwell, another runaway slave, joins them, and the three follow secret signs to a stop on the Underground Railroad. When the hideout is raided and Zenobia and Brightwell are captured, Lark sets out alone to rescue her friends.

Books give us reason to celebrate and to cry...what better life lesson can we share with our children?

 

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