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by: 
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!

 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Print Awareness: noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the written word on the page

 Words, words, WORDS, wOrds...everywhere words...

 words in a BOOK, just take a LOOK

words in a CAR, both NEAR and FAR

words are BLACKBLUE and READ

words are everywhere you will SEE

words are everywhere for YOU and ME

 Can pointing out printed words help your child get ready to read? YES, and according to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights PRINT AWARENESS as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.

Why Is It Important?

Children have to be aware of words before they can read them. They need to know how books work--the front cover, what's upside down, which page to start on, how to look from left to right.

 When kids are comfortable with books, from knowing how to open a book to understanding what those black squiggles are, they can concentrate on starting to read the words.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

  • Read board books that your child can handle on his/her own; let him/her turn the pages as you read together.

  • Sometimes point to the words as you read.

  • Talk about print even when you are not reading together. Look for letters and words on signs, labels, and lists.

Words, words, WORDS, wOrds...everywhere words...OH beautiful WORDS!

 

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?

 

by: 
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

 

by: 
Jill Hinn, Outreach Librarian, Kids and Families

 

Gimme an R! Gimme a W! Gimme a T! Gimme an S! Gimme a P! Or maybe I'll give them to you. How can these letters help you help your child become a good reader? Let me tell you:

Read! --Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt helps families see that books and reading can be a joyful part of their day.


Write! --The Crayon by Simon Rickerty portrays two crazy characters scribbling, a precursor to writing.

Talk! --Froodle by Antoinette Portis shows how to have fun with language and sounds. 

Sing! --I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison shows us how to celebrate sound and music all throughout the day


Play!
--Tea With Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg is a great example of one of the ways to do that, even from far away.

These are the 5 early literacy practices that when used regularly will help a child be prepared to learn to read. For more information about the 5 practices and 6 early literacy skills check out CLEL's website.

The 5 books shown with each practice are the 2014 CLEL Bell award winners, announced today, February 5th! Each book has an early literacy activity sheet that will help you continue the experience after the book is closed. Go to http://www.clel.org/#!2015-bell-awards-titles/c1wgl to see the list of winners and links for the activity sheets. For more great books exemplifying each practice, take a look at the shortlist, which has 5 titles in each category. And be sure to take a look at last year's winners!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS: hearing and playing with the smaller sounds of words

 What is more fun for your tongue than saying Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz? That awesome tingly feeling you get when your tongue is making that snakey snakey sound.

Now say it 3 times FAST!

 Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz...Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz...Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz...

 See you're smiling aren't you? Your tongue is happy and now you are happy, too!

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

Why Is It Important?

Children who can hear how words "come apart" into separate sounds will be more successful at "sounding out" words when they start to read.

 What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

  • Sing songs; most break words up into one syllable per note. Reading works with syllables also.

  • Recite rhymes; rhymes depend upon ending sounds.

  • Play with tongue twisters.

  • Pick a sound for the day. Notice it at the beginning of words and at the end of words.

Have FUN!!! Make lots of sounds and know you are creating a little reader.

 

by: 
Jill Hinn, Outreach Librarian Kids & Families

Now that all the craziness of the holidays is over, you might have the January blahs. It's cold and snowy, and some days gray, and there's not much going on. One way to beat the January blues is to help someone else out.

Ever notice how doing something kind for someone else can make you feel good? Show your kids how to do that and the rewards are endless: You get to spend quality time with your kids while teaching them the values that are important to you. Somebody gets helped. Depending on where you're helping, important conversations about how the world works and what their place in it is could come up.

There are many ways that you and your children can get involved in your community and I'll give you a few ideas to get you started:

  • Now that everybody has new toys, how about cleaning out some of the old stuff and donating what is in good condition to an organization that will put it to good use? Both Arapahoe and Jefferson counties have Santa Shops that low income families can shop at for free in December. Contact them and see if they take donations all year round.
  • It can be hard to find an organization that will accept children as volunteers due to liability/insurance issues. However, you are interested in doing something for a charitable or local institution:
    1. The Action Center (formerly known as The Jeffco Action Center) will accept kids to do certain tasks, such as sorting food. They also have ideas on their website if you're interested creating your own project.
    2.  Feed My Starving Children is a "non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship these meals to nearly 70 countries around the world." To join a packing session here in Colorado, you need to find a MobilePack event to join--or if you're really ambitious, set up your own! Our family did this and we felt we did something meaningful and useful and found it very rewarding.
    3. Why not call a nursing home near you and see if they have any need for visitors?
    4. Next time it snows, grab your shovels and help out a neighbor or two, especially if you know of someone who might have a hard time shoveling themselves. Make their day!

Want to start a bit smaller? Check out this book

It's fun to read; read it with your kids and pick one or two--or all!--to do together.

Whatever you choose to do, big or small, the important thing is that you are showing your kids that they matter--to you, most importantly, and to the world at large. Show them that what they do can have an impact on the world they live in. And everybody wins.

Photo Credit: Jill Hinn

by: 
Jenny, Golden Library

WHERE:

Denver Museum of Nature and Science Discovery Zone

2001 Colorado Blvd

Denver CO 80205

303-370-6000  

WHEN:

Open (nearly) Every Day 

9am-5pm  

Closed Christmas Day

HOW MUCH:

Museum Admission

Adult (19-64): $14.95

Junior (3-18): $9.95

Senior (65+): $11.95

Family Membership: $90/year*

 

I know, barely 2 posts in and I've already gone a little off-message.

No, the Museum isn't in Jeffco, and it's also not super budget-friendly, but I am so impressed by what they're doing for kids over there, I had to share it with you!

The Museum is a big part of my elementary-school memories (remember when it was the Natural History Museum? Me too). I went to a Denver Public elementary school and lived near City Park. In high school, my Biology 2 class went on the very best and most educational field trip ever to the zoo and Museum. I learned a TON and had more fun than I thought possible while doing such a challenging assignment. (Thanks, Mr. Fredell!) I love the Museum and was really excited to share it with my kids. Maybe over-excited. 

We bought a membership and took the kids in 2012. Unfortunately, Big Brother (then 3) and Little Sister (then baby) didn't think the Museum was as awesome as I do. To be fair, Little Sister would've happily gone wherever we liked, as she was in a carrier and didn't have a choice. Big Brother was content to spend All Day Long in the Space Odyssey exhibit: putting on space suits, piloting the shuttle and playing with "moon rocks."

I was eventually able to coax him into the Prehistoric Journey, but he tore through it at break-neck pace and seemed a bit underwhelmed that the dinosaurs were mostly bones (we tried to prepare him, but 3 isn't a great age for listening - am I right?) We took him on a forced march of the Gems & Minerals (my favorite) before going back to Space Odyssey. On the way home, we reluctantly admitted that perhaps we'd tried to make the museum happen a bit too early for our intended audience. 

Fear not, dear readers, the Museum had a master plan for families like mine and it is the Discovery Zone. This space is intended especially for 3 to 5 year-olds, but includes activities for younger and older siblings. On Level 2, it's set about as far away from the front entrance as it could be and still be in the same building. This seems like bad planning at first, then you realize that there are acres and acres of stroller parking just outside the exhibit. It's genius. 

Oh, where to begin? There's a sand pit to dig for dinosaur bones and other fossils. They've even thoughtfully included a dino to climb on. There's a waterworks, where kids can get elbow-deep and splashy while learning about currents, surface-tension and density. The construction corner has blocks of varying shapes and materials, as well as a magnetic wall where kids manipulate tubes and bumpers to create a vertical ball-maze. The Science Kitchen features puzzles and art projects (and is home to the exhibit's Family Restroom).

We arrived about halfway through a well-attended production at the Explorer's Clubhouse, which we decided not to try to squeeze into, but it looked super fun. We also did not explore the Big Backyard, but it is perfectly charming and the parents and tots in the space seemed quite content. 

Big Brother is 5 now. Like the boy in the photo above, he was compelled to climb on the dinosaur first thing, and couldn't resist the lure on the way out, either. He enjoyed digging for fossils, but had to be reprimanded for flinging "sand" too enthusiastically. Little Sister is almost 3 and she spent most of her time in the Construction Corner. We built a monster and we built a road with the blue foam blocks.

The Water Way was a big hit with Big Brother, but too crowded for Little Sister. They do provide these thick, dentist-x-ray-type smocks, but the kids will come away damp (and happy). Both kids made straw sculptures at the moon table in the Science Kitchen.

I say this in the most delighted way possible, but it's really almost too much for one visit. When we come back, I hope Little Sister will try the Water Way. I hope we can get to another of the art tables in the Kitchen. I hope we can build a vertical maze from scratch without impacting anyone else too much. 

While the Discovery Zone alone is practically enough to fill a day, I also noticed other little things the Museum is doing for its smallest visitors. In the Wildlife Exhibits, there are more manipulatives than I remember. We found some 12x12 picture blocks to build and knock down, alpacas to arrange by size, a python to test your strength - and that was just while we tried to find a short-cut to Whales!  

We didn't see everything we wanted to see this visit. We didn't do everything we wanted to do. But we were able to say, in all confidence, "Next time, we'll be back very soon!"

* We renewed our Family Membership in late November to take advantage of a 30% discount. Also, keep an eye out for Free Days.

 

Photo credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Ever notice when you hear someone speak another language how different not only the words sound, but how different the rhythm is?  Music is great for learning our native language rhythms and also for exposing your child to another language. Singing songs slows down the words.  Each sound is more emphasized. Music also triggers our memory. I find it funny I can't find my keys half the time, but I can still remember all the words to "Frère Jacques" at any given moment!  

A great website to check out is www.storyblocks.org.  On it you'll find videos of songs and rhymes in 3 languages to try with your little ones: English, Vietnamese and Spanish. The songs and rhymes are taught by local parents and librarians! I love the video with our very own librarian, Cecilia, singing in Spanish 'Dos Manitas, Diez Deditos' or 'Two little hands, Ten Little Fingers'. The words are also transcribed just below and to the right of  the video.  I recently sang this song during a guest baby time appearance at the Evergreen library.  I was impressed by the mamas who learned it along with their babies!  

An easy song to learn body parts is 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes'. I have written it out in Spanish:  

Cabeza (Ka bay za)  Head 
Hombros (Ohm bros) Shoulders
Rodillas (Row dee ahs) Knees
Pies (Peeyays) Feet
Rodillas 
Pies 
Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, Pies, Rodillas, Pies

Ojos (O hos)  Eyes
Orejas (Or ay hahs) Ears
Boca (Bo Ka) Mouth
Y Nariz (EE Na Rees) Nose  Y= 'and'
Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, Pies, Rodillas, Pies

Not ready to sing a song in another language?  Never fear!  There are CD's and You Tube videos out there to do the singing for you!  For example, when I was teaching, I really liked playing Hap Palmer songs. On 'Learning in two Languages/Aprendiendo en dos idiomas', he sings each song in English and Spanish.  He sings very clearly and you can find his lyrics written out online.

Here is a link to a lovely YouTube video by Natasha Morgan.  It is simply animated and shows her hand drawing animals while she sings and writes out greetings as well as counts numbers up to 12 in French and English.   

 

Adiós, Au Revoir and Goodbye for now!

 

Image credit: flickr

 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

LETTER KNOWLEDGE: Knowing that letters are different from each other, knowing letter names and sounds, and recognizing letters everywhere. 

BIG A

little a

What begins with A?

Oooh, oooh...I know, I know!!!

I can also tell you what begins with BIG B, little b, BIG C, and little c...

I have Dr. Seuss to thank for this pithy little saying sticking with me all these years, and that is how simple creating letter recognition is with your child. Repetition, rhyme and enjoyment go a very long way in developing your child's interest in letters.

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

Why Is It Important?

To read words, children have to understand that a word is made up of individual letters.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

  • Look at and talk about different shapes (letters are based on shapes).

  • Play “same and different” type games.

  • Look at “I Spy” type books.

  • Notice different types of letters (“a” or “A”) on signs and in books.

  • Read ABC books.

  • Talk about and draw the letters of a child's own name.

BIG A

little a

What begins with A?

Aunt Annie's alligator...A...a...A.

Oh, sweeter words have never been said!

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