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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 

Jenny, Golden Library

Dear Babies, Kids, and Caregivers,  

You are cordially invited to attend our storytimes at the Golden Community Center

Miss Sarah and Miss Shannon will be delighted to see your shining faces again on Wednesday mornings for Baby Time at 10:15am, followed by Toddler Time at 11:00am. The Community Center's Open Swim starts at 11:00am on Wednesdays, so you could even follow up those rhymes, stories, dances and bubbles with a splash in the pool or a romp around Lion's Park

On Saturday mornings at 10:30am, Miss Sarah and Miss Jenny would love to see you at our All Ages storytime! We'll also have stories, dances, rhymes and bubbles, followed by a simple craft or coloring. It doesn't seem like it now, but it's getting warmer and a picnic lunch in the park would be just perfect after practicing our school-readiness - listening, cooperating, and following-instructions - skills at storytime, don't you think?

Storytimes are FREE at the Community Center - if you'd like to stick around for a swim, admission rates vary by age and City of Golden residency status.

We miss your faces! Come see us soon!

Photo credits: flickr ThomasLife & the City of Golden 

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!  



Photo credit: flickr

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 


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

Jill J., Outreach Kids & Families

Make some noise!!!!

Making silly sounds for storytime is fuuuuun! More importantly, hearing a variety of sounds and noises helps a child develop the ability to hear the sounds that make up words in spoken language.

Otherwise known as phonological awarenss, this ability is one of the foundations of developing early literacy in infants and young children. Plus, the more engaged, excited and silly you are with your sounds the more your child will enjoy the story!

Here are some great books that give you as the storyteller an excellent opportunity to give your vocal cords a good workout, get silly and boost your child's early literacy skills:

Trains Go By Steve Light

Planes Go By Steve Light

Diggers Go By Steve Light

The Book with No Pictures By B.J. Novak

And now, to show how fun phonological awareness can be, I will end with one of my all time favorite silly songs: Apples and Bananas!

Sing with me!


Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Why yes, I do have manners, gracias.  

A great approach to find out more about other languages and cultures is learning about greetings and customs. What better way to incorporate a second language into your day than to learn to say 'hello' and 'goodbye' or 'please' and 'thank you' in another language? 

When I was a teacher, I got into the habit and still say 'yes, please' in daily interactions.  I had to model what I wanted to teach my students.  Once the students got some manners down in English, I would start to incorporate other languages into our day. They loved it and would surprise me by saying 'sí, por favor' and 'no, gracias' during meal times.  After I subbed at the 'Había Una Vez' bilingual story time at Belmar Library, I was delighted by the children whose parents encouraged them to personally thank me in Spanish!

Here is a link to digital dialects.  On it, you will encounter 70 different language games. When you click on the language you would like to practice, the following page has several learning topics. The first learning topic is 'phrases and greetings'.  Languages like Spanish, French and Chinese have an audio learning feature.  First, you practice the phrases and then you can play the matching game. 

Check out books about baby sign or American Sign Language (ASL) like this one by Sara Bingham at the library.

Or, try 21 word or phrase signs to practice with your child, courtesy of parenting.com.  

And, my newest discovery!  'El Perro y El Gato' from HBO Latino!  Look for these funny, yet educational videos about a cartoon cat and dog practicing Spanish on youtube.  The following video is about 'manners' or 'modales'.  

Signing 'thank you'?  Saying it in Chinese?  Have fun and use the words right along with your child!

¡Buen día!  Have a great day!


Photo credit: flickr.com


Jill J.

Singing plays a vital role in a child's early reading skills. Our friends at Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy tell us that:

  • Singing helps children learn new words.
  • Singing slows down language so that children can hear the different sounds in words and learn about syllables.
  • Singing together is a fun bonding experience with your child — whether you're a good singer or not!
  • Singing develops listening and memory skills and makes repetition easier for young children — it's easier to remember a short song than a short story.
  • Movement gets the oxygen to flowing to those young brain and allows for a nice break to “Shake your sillies out.”

Pete the Cat is always a big hit with kids but why not try some other books that feature a sing-a-long song and picture book all wrapped up in one?  

Give these books a try:

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas  

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler

The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long  


Photo credit: dok1 on Flickr

Robyn Lupa

As readers of this blog already know, sharing books with very young children is important. The simple act of reading aloud to them, consistently, builds their language and socio-emotional skills. Children who enter kindergarten with these skills in place are most likely to thrive.

Last summer, The American Academy of Pediatrics, partnering with Reach Out and Read, began encouraging parents to read, talk, and sing during early childhood checkups. The project was profiled in a New York Times article:

“With the increased recognition that an important part of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life, and that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important communication skills, the group, which represents 62,000 pediatricians across the country, is asking its members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud, every time a baby visits the doctor.”

This strong endorsement of reading backs up a lot of what we do at the library every day. It's precisely why we invite parents and caregivers to baby and toddler storytimes. Library staff carefully plan 15-20 minute sessions with a blend of books that are just right for the age group with songs, activities, and opportunities to move.

Not only do the kids soak up the experience, but adults also participate in the rhymes and bounces. Storytimes give them a chance to do some bonding and to learn fun things to try at home. Afterward is play time and a chance for babies--and grown-ups--to make new friends. 

Check out the latest storytime schedule to find storytimes for babies and toddlers at all of our libraries. 


Photo credit: "I'm Dr. Miu" by Aikawa Ke on Flickr

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

As a bilingual English/Spanish librarian, I often hear from adults that they studied Spanish in high school, but they remember very little from those days. It makes perfect sense when you look at brain development.  When babies are born, about 15% of their brains have developed.  By the time a child is 3, 85% of the brain has developed.

Researchers have found that by 6 months old, babies are already showing a preference for a certain language.  Baby brains are wiring to the rhythms and sounds they hear from their families, caregivers and community.  More studies go on to say that the best window of opportunity to learn a second (or third, or fourth...) language is between 0-7 years old.    

Learning another language by the time we reach middle or high school can be too late!

Our corpus collosums (the part of the brain that connects the left and right side of the brain) grow harder as we age.  Connections from one side to the other are no longer as quick as they are in young children when the corpus collosum is soft and malleable.  Learning new things becomes more difficult. And, as we get older, we learn more and more information.  Our brain starts pruning away at unused information.  Ever hear the phrase 'Use it or lose it'?  That's what our brain is constantly doing; trimming away at what it doesn't see as useful to us any more. 

So why teach a child another language?  For one, it has amazing affects on learning new concepts and problem solving!  People who know more than one language can quite literally think 'outside the box' more readily than a monolingual or one language speaker.  That's because they already think in different languages or in more than one way!

Also, younger learners can learn how to produce the native sounds of another language much easier than older learners.  Think of the early wiring to language sounds as babies and the pruning the brain does as we age.  When we are young, the brain is activated to learn as much as it can, including how to form sounds with our mouths and tongues.  For example, as children, if we don't have an experience rolling an 'rrrr' (I used to mimic my cat's purring), we will have a difficult time later in life trying to learn how to do it. The brain is more open to learning how to produce sounds during the early years or this critical period in its development.  Wow! As a former preschool teacher, this stuff facinates me!  

Here's an easy book in English and Spanish with bright pictures of familiar foods to check out:

Over the next few months, I will be exploring more about second language learning and sharing ideas on teaching your child another language---even if you don't know another language yourself!  

If you're looking for ideas or want to get started right away, come to Bilingual (English/Spanish) story times or ASL (American Sign Language) story times at Belmar Library!


Carrot photo credit: www.alternativa-verde.com




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