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Barbara, Evergreen Library

Things to be grateful for:

Family - Check

Friends - Check

Living in Colorado - Check

Health - Check

Low Gas Prices - Double Check

Great Books I've Read, or Am Planning to Read This Year - Check

Sharing That List with EVERYONE - Check


Jodi Lynn Anderson


Ali Benjamin 


Kim Brubaker Bradley


Alex Gino 


Lisa Graff


Thanhha Lai 


Andrew Norriss


Kenneth OPPEL


Brian Selznick


Rebecca Stead

 Wonderful People to Share My Favorite Books With - CHECK!

Barbara, Evergreen Library

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...a farm boy, a jedi, a smuggler, a wookie, a sith lord, two droids and a princess walk into a bar, quite literally, and set the stage, for the ultimate battle of good vs. evil, and the Star Wars universe was born! If you're like me, and a few million other fans, you only watched Monday Night Football last week to see the, latest and last, trailer for Star Wars the Force Awakens, and it didn't disappoint. Now you ask, what is a diehard fan to do, between now and December 18th?

READ of course! and attend an upcoming Star Wars Program @ your local library.

(If you missed, or even if you didn't, the Star Wars the Force Awakens trailer, check out the video at the bottom of this post!)

Star Wars, a New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

by Alexandra Bracken

Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to be a Jedi?

by Adam Gidwitz

Star Wars, Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side

by Tom Angleberger

Star Wars the Weapon of a Jedi: a Luke Skywalker Adventure

by Jason Fry

Star Wars Moving Target: a Princess Leia Adventure

by Cecil Castellucci

Star Wars Smuggler's Run: a Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure

by Greg Rucka

Happy Reading and May the Force be With You!!!


Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

I love the fall! From the changing leaves to drinking hot apple cider on chilly evenings, the fall brings a rich variety of things to do and to make.  When I was a teacher, we would go on nature walks and talk about the season changes while collecting leaves for crafts and games.  I thought I would share a couple of my favorite craft activities as well as some fall themed books.  I savor this season as long as I can before the snow flies!

*I found instructions for these activities and more on www.kidsactivities.net. Make sure to check out 'Stained Glass Leaves with crayons'.  Another one of my favorites!

1. Sun Prints

You will need: Colored construction paper (that can fade in the sun), leaves gathered outside, glue stick or liquid glue, tape

  • Dab a bit of glue into the back of a leaf.  I suggest using leaves that are not too crunchy.
  • Glue the leaf to a piece of construction paper.
  • Tape the paper to a sunny window with the leaf facing outside.  Leave for 3-4 days or until you notice the paper color has faded.
  • Remove from window and gently peal the leaf off to reveal the print.  
  • Talk science with your child! Why did the paper around the leaf fade? (bleaching)  Why didn't the paper under the leaf fade? (not exposed to the light or shadowed)

2. Leaf Animals, People, Cars...

You will need: A variety of leaf types- different shapes, sizes and colors, construction paper, liquid glue, tape, crayons or markers

  • Gather different kinds of leaves outside- make sure they aren't too dry!  Talk about sizes, shapes, colors.  
  • Arrange leaves on paper to make an animal or person or car.  What other things can your child think of?
  • Glue each piece on the paper.  Let your creation dry.  Tape can help hold leaf edges down.  
  • Use crayons or markers to draw eyes, other body parts and details.  Make a fall scene! 


Fall themed books to inspire you! 

Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland. Gorgeous Illustrations light up each page!

Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston. See the fall through the little girl's eyes as she returns to same place to watch autumn change to winter.  


Photo credit: Flickr

Anna, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

I recently heard Rae Pica speak on the importance of moving while learning. This is active learning; engaging the body and mind. Research shows children learn best when they experience new ideas and concepts through play and movment. In an article Pica wrote titled In Defense of Active Learningshe explains that moving our bodies helps activate our brains. She had a few cute pre-writing movement ideas I thought would be fun to do at home with your little ones. 

- Hand and Finger Activities: Sing "Open, Shut Them". Many libraries sing this song to begin their Storytimes. This song activates the brains of our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers as they practice their hand-eye coordination; a must-have pre-writing skill.  

- Sky Writers: Use your index finger to "write" a letter, word, or a name in the sky. This will help your child practice the feeling of straight and curvy. You could take this a step further and pretend to put your sky writer in your belly button or on the tip of your nose while writing the word in the air. Kids love the belly button writer and it's super cute to watch too! 

- The Above, Below, and On movement: Tape a line on the floor, use the straight edge of a rug or strech a ribbon across the floor and jump above the line, below the line, or on the line. This will help your child understand where to start and where to finish writing lower case and upper case letters. After playing this game, practice writing letters, words, or names on paper. 

- Build a Story: Start a story and take turns adding to the plot creating the beginning, middle, and end of a story. For example, you could start this activity by saying, " Once there was a dog who..." and let your child add the next idea. Then you, or another family member contributes the following part of the story. This activity demonstrates the beginning, middle, and end of a story. It's a great way to pass the time in the car too! 

-The Mirror Game: This game is important for replicating what the eye sees. This replication is what learning to write is all about. Stand infront of your child and take turns mimicing each others' movements. You and your child should try to move as if you were seeing a reflection of yourself in the mirror. Lucy does it best in this video clip below. Lucy is a crack up and I think this should have you and your child smiling too! Go ahead, throw on that Halloween costume while you do this! 

Come to one of our 'Movin and Grovin' Fests'. The next fest is this Saturday, October 24th, at the Arvada Library and the Evergreen Library from 11:00am-4:00pm. We will have crafts! 

Photo Credit: Neville Nel

Sandi, Arvada Library

I’m almost too late to wish a Happy 150th Birthday to Alice, the curious, determined heroine from Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  Published in 1865, the children’s book was unique because it did not teach a moral lesson, but led readers on a grand adventure. 

Lewis Carroll made up the story for Alice Liddell and her sisters when on a boating trip in 1862.  Alice begged Lewis Carroll to write it down for her, and he did in his own handwriting and with his own illustrations.  150 years later, we can read and listen to Alice Liddell’s copy of the book, thanks to generous Americans who donated it to the British Library. 

Make your own Alice paper doll while you listen, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, and illustrator Charlotte Whatley. 

Celebrate "Alice's Day" with enthusiasts from Oxford, England (video).

Take a moment, and think about our literary friend Alice, and what she means to you.  Don’t miss your chance to wish her “Happy Birthday.” 

Photo credit: Creative Commons

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


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!!!

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  


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