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Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

As the weather turns colder, we find ourselves spending more and more time indoors.  Why not turn cooking with your kids into a fun, healthy experience which helps reinforce elements of early literacy too? 

Recently, my 5 year old son came home and asked me “Mommy, what is lasagna?”  I used this opportunity to have a lot of fun!   I found a cookbook with attractive photographs  and showed him how to use the index to look for “L” for lasagna.  After we found a great recipe, we grabbed some paper and pencils to create our shopping list.  I had him do a combination of drawing pictures of food and writing words.  We headed to the store, looked for our ingredients together, brought them home and got everything ready to go.  We had a lot of fun reading the recipe together and following the different steps on our way to making our fantastic lasagna dish.  My son had so much fun with this cooking adventure and felt very proud for helping make such a yummy creation.  To top it off, he got to practice reading and writing activities AND we got to spend some wonderful, fun, quality time together. 

Check out your local library for some great cookbooks.  Be sure to look for ones that focus on cooking with kids to find simple, fun recipes with colorful photographs to really attract your kids’ attention.  Here are a few I would recommend:

Barbara, Evergreen Library

READ: look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by mentally interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed.

I had a WOOHOO moment last week! Not an Oprah A-HA moment but, an Early Literacy Librarian WOOHOO moment! They come few and far between but, when they hit, the stars align, the angels sing and all is right with the world!

Last week I attended the CLEL Annual Conference (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy) here in Denver, with the hope that I would find inspiration for my Ready to Read Reminders. I use CLEL's website, as my bible, when it comes to finding information to share with parents and caregivers about ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read). I thought I knew it ALL, had done it ALL, and therefore had shared it ALL with my readers. I WAS WRONG!

I discovered that the tireless volunteers at CLEL have been very busy putting together Early literacy activity ideas for each of their past CLEL Silver Bell Book Winners.  Each Silver Bell has been placed in a category based on their contribution to ECRR's Five Early Literacy Practices, READ, WRITE, TALK, SING, PLAY.

This month I want to share with you the CLEL Silver Bells for READ and their activity suggestions. This is just one of the five titles you can find on CLEL.org for strengthening your child's use of READ as an early literacy skill.

Backseat A-B-See  - A CLEL Silver Bell Award Book for READ by Maria Van Lieshout

From the backseat, what do you see? Backseat A-B-See showcases a different road sign for each letter of the alphabet as a parent and a child drive in a car. Recognizing and reading road signs is one of the first ways children begin to understand that print is all around us, and that it carries meaning.

Activity Ideas for Backseat A-B-See:

  • Share other books about cars or trucks with the children, both nonfiction and fiction. Are there road signs in the pictures? What do the signs mean? What facts do they learn about cars or trucks from the books? Talking about objects like signs and books lets children know that we read for many different purposes (for directions from signs, for information from nonfiction books, for stories from picture books), and gives them many reasons to learn to read themselves.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt in your house, classroom, or library with the children. Where can they recognize letters, numbers, or words? On labels, books, computers, containers, T-shirts, advertisements? Talk about why all these different objects have print on them. Before they can learn to read, children need to be able to see that print is different than pictures and be able to recognize it wherever it appears.
  • Sing the “ABC Song” slowly as you turn the pages of the book. Point to each letter as you sing it, or have the children point to it. Pointing to the letter as you sing or say its name helps children realize that each sound in the “ABC Song” corresponds to a specific letter, and that each letter has a different shape. Knowing that letters have names, and shapes, and sounds is a first step to learning to read.

Have fun!


Photo credit: carnagenyc on Flickr

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

With the Rae Pica Movin' and Groovin event coming up on October 14 at the Lakewood Cultural Center, I just had to write about movement. Moving our bodies strengthens our brain and reading skills.  Did you know the simple act of touching your left foot with your right hand and vice versa (or crossing the midline) activates each side of your brain?  Crossing the midline powerfully impacts reading, writing and physical development.  

  • Read this article from North Shore Pediatrics.  It gives detailed information about the importance of 'crossing the midline' as it pertains to brain development and future learning. There are activity suggestions like 'Pop bubbles with only one hand' and 'Reach for a bean bag across the midline and throw it' to get you and your child started.

The video from Clamber Club shows children participating in different activities that encourage 'bilateral intergration' or using both sides of the brain.  

Have you ever moved to familiar songs like 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' or 'We're Goin' on a Bear Hunt'?  These songs use TPR or Total Physical Response.  TPR is fantastic for first and second language learning.  Like showing a picture to represent a word, the meaning becomes clear when one sees it in action (ie. moving your arms like the wheels on the bus). Matching actions to words helps children (and adults;) see, feel and hear the meaning.  Did you know you were already an expert in such a sophisticated concept?! 


You will notice we move a lot in Storytime. Try Storytime songs and movement at home! 


Image credit: Flickr

Anna, Kids & Families Outreach


Did you know singing with your child is one way to prepare your child to read? How does singing help with reading?

- Songs introduce new words. Song lyrics often use different vocabulary than our everyday spoken language.

-Also, the different musical notes couple with the different syllables of a word. Singing and listening to you sing will help your child understand the structure and sounds of a word.

-Reading books that can be sung is a great way to show children that words are everywhere, even in songs. Words are not just in books! 

Children learn about the world around them when you talk to them. Honestly, I run out of things to talk about with my three year old and five year old. So when I can't think of a thing to say to my boys, I sing. I don't have a great singing voice, but my children don't care! Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy has some fantastic rhyming and singing videos in a few different languages. I turn to these videos when I need new songs to sing to my boys or in my Storytimes. If you haven't visited the library for a Storytime, you should come! We sing, dance, read picture books, and sometimes we do a craft. We offer bilingual Storytimes too! Spanish and English storytimes at the Belmar and Wheat Ridge Libraries and American Sign Language and English Storytimes at the Belmar Library. 

 Check out some of these music and book suggestions. 

The Wheels on the Bus

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Fun Music

Stinky Cake

Latin Playground by Putumayo

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Video "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush"



Photo Credit: Henti Smith


Leslie, Standley Lake

Cinderella - is there any little girl in America who hasn't heard of Cinderella?  Is there a female of any age in American who hasn't heard of Cinderella?  Who hasn't, even if just for a minute, imagined what it would be like to BE Cinderella?

Well, there's a brand new Cinderella movie from Disney coming out September 13!


The library is the perfect place for little (and big) girls to discover - or re-discover - the magic of Cinderella.  And there's a whole WORLD of Cinderellas out there!

Besides the new movie version, there are many other movie versions you can check out from the library.


And while Disney's Cinderella may be the most familiar for many people, it's fun to check out the many other versions of Cinderella with their fascinating variety of illustrations.


You might also be surprised to learn that the basic Cinderella tale can be found in different cultures all over the world.


Last but not least, there are the numerous adaptations and take-offs on the Cinderella story to check out and enjoy.


So....let's not focus on the "marriage solves everything" aspect of Cinderella - let's focus on the magic of the Cinderella tale:

a) it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor

b) anyone can have a magic godmother

c) one special night can lead to a special lifetime

and of course, d) anyone can live happily ever after!


Photo credit: Ted Silveira on Flickr

Barbara, Evergreen Library

It's that time of year again, that little nip of Fall is in the air and school children everywhere are asking:

"What did you bring?"

"PB&J and an apple, wanna trade?"


Don't let this happen again. Check out some of these fun and inovative books, with creative and delicious lunch box ideas, and take your kid's lunch from drab to fab!

Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J.M. Hirsch

Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord


 Best Lunch Box Ever by Kate Sullivan Morford

Your kids will thank you!!!

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

I threw around all sorts of ideas for a blog this month: second language resources, school topics, etc...  I will definitely post on those themes another time.  Right now, I just want to have fun!  More importantly, I have come across new 2015 titles about monsters that shouldn't be missed! 

Worst in Show by William Bee 

Funny illustrations and a sweet story about celebrating all kinds of winners.


Five Stinky Socks by Jim Benton 

A rhyming story about why each of his five socks are so STINKY!


The Monsters Under My Bed by Rebecca J. Razo 

Read this bedtime story and learn how to draw monsters!  Monsters won't seem so scary when you draw them as cuddly creatures.  


Tickle Monster by Édouard Manceau 

Like 'Go Away Big Green Monster' by Ed Emberley, kids will love deconstructing this monster with tickles!


Monstruo, ¡Sé Bueno! by Natalie Marshall 

A simple and silly book in español about how to behave or 'comportarse' in different situations.   

There are so many new books with Monster themes for 2015 that I can't share them all here.  A hint: To find more titles on jeffcolibrary.org, type '(Monster 2015) (Children's Easy Collection)' in the search.  Using the parentheses or () is like doing an 'Advanced Search' without the added step!  

Photo credit: Flickr

Sandi, Arvada Library

Rick Riordan's new series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard kicks off on October 6th with the release of Sword of Summer.  We have Norse mythology to thank for heroes like Thor, and tricksters like Loki. Add Magnus Chase, teen demigod from Boston, and get ready for doomsday.

Place your hold on Sword of Summer now!   

While you're waiting, get your library card ready, and learn more about Norse mythology with the Gods, Goddesses and Mythology database.

 Image credit: Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, Cavendish Digital

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

As a kid, there was always a cetain feeling of dread combined with excitement when the summer came to a close and my mom and I would go 'back to school' shopping. Whether heading to the first day of preschool or the first day of second grade, I always had butterflies in my stomach and trouble sleeping the night before. Reflecting on my experiences as a child and as a teacher, I thought I would share some books to help prepare your little one for the first day in a classroom or daycare.  I also included a few titles to make your elementary or middle school bound child laugh or feel a sense of ease about the upcoming school year.  

A cute board book for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners.  

See how Dino wins each "match".  


Daddy doesn't stick to the list in this funny story.  

A new book about overcoming elementary school bullies with a great attitude. 

Number 7 in James Patterson's popular middle school series.  This book will have boys and girls ages 9 and up laughing!


Image credit: Flickr


Barbara, Evergreen Library


Dear Duncan,

Esteban the Magnificent here...formerly known as PEA GREEN CRAYON...we don't talk about that though, such an unfortunate color name!

I mean really, PEA GREEN?

Kids hate peas!

Who wants to color with their least favorite food?

Oh...and poor MAROON CRAYON, lost beneath the sofa cushions, just tragic!

And BURNT SIENNA CRAYON...chewed up and spit out by the dog...EWWWWW!

Not to mention TURQUOISE CRAYON...tumbled dry, low!!! The horror!

I recently heard that the Original 12, and you know who you are, almost QUIT!

Can you imagine, crayons quitting? It's back to school time!

Well, they did, and you, Duncan, listened.

I hear the Original 12 have it better than ever now.

Well, we're special too, we're the CRAYON CLASSIC COLOR PACK - 64 COUNT, with sharpener in the back!

There might be a lot of us, but that doesn't mean you can do with us as you please, we have feelings too you know, and we want to come home.

The world can be a cold hard place for a lone crayon.

So Duncan, if you're reading this, remember there's more to life than RED, BLUE and GREEN, we're here for you too, buddy.

We just want to come home (AUGUST 18th, if you'll have us),

Esteban the Magnificent (aka PEA GREEN)


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt



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