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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

Jenny, Golden Library

The nights are getting cooler, aren't they? But the days are HOT! How about some fun places to keep cool during these dog days of summer?

WHERE: Surfside Spray Park
           5330 W 9th Ave (just west of 9th & Sheridan), Lakewood
WHEN:  Aug 22-Sep 6: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
           Labor Day: Mon, Sep 7: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $1 per person (pre-walkers free)

We went to a birthday party at this park a few weeks ago and I was sure the GPS lady had lost her way until we were right on top of this hidden gem. Most of the park is a circle of sprayers of varying height and duration. My boy was enchanted by the aim-able water cannon, naturally. My daughter developed a game where she ran through the whole park without getting wet at all, so it is certainly what you make of it! There is a little-kids area with a water-way and movable obstacles so the children can explore the physics of water. And then they can stand on a fountain! The tables and shelters are set far enough back from the splash pads that you don't HAVE to get wet to have a good time here, although that is kind of the point, isn't it?  Surfside used to be a swimming pool, which is evident from the facilities: lockers! changing areas! multiple stalls! 

WHERE: Ralston Central Park
            5850 Garrison St, Arvada
WHEN:   Splash Pad hours through September 15:  10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

When Ralston Central Park opened last summer, we couldn't wait to go. And neither could anyone else! It was like Thunderdome over there. We went one time, had fun, but the chaos was a bit much for me. It's still a very popular park, but it's calmed down a bit. I really like the layout of this park: there's a traditional, vaguely "Swiss Family Robinson" themed playground that's separate from the splash park - so, like at Surfside, you don't HAVE to get wet. The splash park has features for all ages: plenty of shade and tables for parents/caregivers; tall leaf-shaped showers, and buckets that dump for big kids; fountains that shoot up from the ground and cascade down from about 3ft for our littlest friends. The facilites are new, and - as far as park facilities go - delightful.

WHERE: Discovery Park
            3701 Johnson St (38th & Kipling), Wheat Ridge
WHEN:   Park hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
            Splash Pad hours May 1 - September 30: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

I confess, Discovery is my favorite park right now. It has lots of little environments so it feels like more than one park. The splash pad is user-generated: if you want to get wet, you must stomp on the in-ground "buttons." My little one doesn't care for surprises, so she likes that she has some control over whether or not she gets soaked. Up the hill on the south east side of the park is a meandering "stream" for ankle-deep wading and paddling. There's a toddler playground near the splash pad, and a big kids playground across the way. There's a skatepark, a sculpture park with a "secret" tube slide, and even a dedicated sandbox (with water feature) for [getting really filthy] an extra special sensory experience. A bonus for Discovery Park is that there's a Port-o-Let available year round. I know, gross, but in Colorado it's a shame the bathrooms at most parks are only available during the summer. We like to be outside when the weather's nice - even in February, and when you gotta go...

I hope you've had an amazing summer. Stay cool, Jeffco!


Photo credits: Surfside - Design Concepts Community and Landscape Architects; Ralston Central Park - Westword.com; Discovery Park - Bobby T. at Yelp.com


Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

As summer comes to a close and we get closer to Halloween and fall costume parties, many of us start to panic about which costume to make or buy for our children.  Recently, I heard a mother talking about how she created a costume chest for her son when he was little.  I thought to myself, that’s right!  Why wait to have fun with costumes?  Why not create a collection of costumes and extend dress-up play to enjoy during the entire year?!  This would be a fantastic way to encourage my son to engage in another form of imaginative play.  A recent Scholastic article points out that the benefits of pretend play include helping children develop strong social, emotional skills and thinking skills, while also nurturing the imagination.

I was delighted to bring this idea home for my son.  I bought a large basket which we named "The Costume Chest."  Then, he and I gathered up all of his old Halloween costumes and props.  I immediately noticed how much he loves dressing up to act out scenarios and pretend to be certain characters even more, since he has easy access to his costumes. Great places to get cheap costumes, if you don’t feel like making them, are dollar stores and off season sale bins/end caps at various stores.   Thrift stores and garage sales are also great places to hunt for costumes and props.  Then, try to set up scenes in your house in simple ways.  A fort could double as a pirate’s cave, or a blanket and some pillows on the floor could be a pirate ship.  Most of all have fun!

Here are some additional suggestions to help create an imaginative play zone in your home:

  • Large plastic crates, cardboard blocks, or a large, empty box for creating a "home"
  • Old clothes, shoes, backpacks, hats
  • Old telephones, phone books, magazines
  • Cooking utensils, dishes, plastic food containers, table napkins, silk flowers
  • Stuffed animals and dolls of all sizes
  • Fabric pieces, blankets, or old sheets for making costumes or a fort
  • Theme-appropriate materials such as postcards, used plane tickets, foreign coins, and photos for a pretend vacation trip

For some costume ideas, check out the library for costume books.   





Photo credit: jasohill on Flickr

Anna, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

I have a three year old and a five year old. It has been such a beautiful experience watching them learn to recognize letters and their sounds. My boys are so proud of themselves when they can point to a letter and make the sound. When they do this, they are practicing an early literacy skill called Letter Knowledge.

What is Letter Knowledge? It is simply knowing that letters are everywhere. That each letter makes a different sound, has a different shape and when you stick a few letters together, you get a word!  I discovered a website that has a great variety of early literacy games including some in English, Spanish, French, and German! I particularly like the Uppercase Game because it shows how different shapes construct a letter. This game shows that three straight lines in two different lengths will form the uppercase "A". When your child puts all the pieces or shapes together, they will see the Uppercase Letter. 

Here are a few ways to practice Letter Knowldege with your child: 

  • Talk about how different shapes make up our letters (Three straight lines make letter "A")
  • Write the letters of your child's name and talk about the sounds in his or her name.
  • Point out the differences between Uppercase and Lowercase letters 

Books suggestions that will encourage talking about letters:

Shiver me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel 

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

G is for Goat by Patricia Polacco 


Photo Credit: Steven Depolo  

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


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