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Teachers

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Ever feel rushed?  I have a bad back, which constantly reminds me to stop and take care of myself.  If only I got a text before the twinge of pain!  But wait!  Texts and tweets for healthy living are out there.  And, there are texts and tweets for fun things to do with your child to help stimulate their brains.  Perfect for those days when you are not feeling creative or are just plain rushed.

I love this tag line from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Baby Coalition: "Your baby has you. You have text4baby."  Text BABY to 511411 and get free messages during pregnancy and your baby's first year.   

A local organization, Bright By Three, sends weekly texts in English or Spanish about ways to support healthy development in babies and toddlers.  Just text 'BRIGHT' for English or 'BRILLANTE' for Spanish to 444999.  

Does Jeffco Public Library offer Early Literacy tips?  Oh yes!  Follow us on Twitter: #EarlyLiteracyTips or follow us on Facebook. To access our past Early Literacy posts, click on this link.  Some are simple like, "Sing along with your favorite song" or "Snuggle up with a good book".  Here is one I really love to share: 

My Early Literacy tip for this summer?  Register you, your family and your baby for Summer Reading '15! It's for all ages, 0 to 100 and beyond. Doing learning activities with baby counts as brain exercise and reading minutes.  When you read books, magazines, whatever you fancy, in front of baby, you are modeling that reading is important as well as enjoyable to your baby. Help us reach 1,000,001 minutes in Jefferson County!  You can register online or at the library starting May 29.  Log minutes online weekly and win prizes!  

It may sound silly to have to remind ourselves to sing a song or snuggle up with a book. But, let's face it.  We are busy people!  A little nudge to take 5 minutes to stretch my back saves me lots of time (not to mention money;) that I would otherwise spend at the chiropractor's office.  Happy texting and tweeting!!!  

Image credit: Flickr

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

VOCABULARY: knowing all kinds of words

Did you know?

That the average 1 to 1 1/2 year old child has a vocabulary consisting of around 20 words.

Fast forward one year to age 2, and this same child will have a 200–300-word vocabulary.

Add one more year and by the time they reach the age of 3, their vocabulary has grown to be about 900–1,000 words!!!

This means that by the age of 3, the average child's vocabulary is 50 times larger than it was just two years before...that's astounding!

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

Why Is It Important?

It's much easier to read a word when it's a word you already know. Children with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

Encourage children to learn their native or home language first; this makes learning another language (speaking and reading) easier later.

  • Talk with children in positive and conversational ways; commands and “no’s” do not encourage language development.

  • Carry on lots of conversations with children.

  • Explain the meanings of new words.

  • Read books! Picture books use a different vocabulary than casual spoken conversation.

Think your toddler isn't listening to what you say? THINK AGAIN!

 

by: 
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 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

NARRATIVE SKILLS: describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events, and making predictions

Once Upon a Time...in a far away land, there lived a beautiful princess and her toad, Fred. Fred was no ordinary toad...no, Fred was a magical toad!!! Fred could sing showtunes, and not just one showtune but, any showtune ever sung, and when he sang he danced, and when he danced he wore a tiny tophat upon his head. People would travel far and wide to gaze upon Fred, the magical and musical toad, for just one glimpse of Fred, in his tophat, would bring great joy and happiness. One day an evil witch visited the kingdom to see this magical and musical toad for herself and...

That's how the magic of stories begin, with four little words. It's these four little words along with a multitude of others that encourage our children to explore their creatvity and foster their love of reading.

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

Why Is It Important? 

When children can describe something or retell stories, it shows that they are comprehending what they are reading. Understanding what they're reading is crucial to helping them stay motivated to keep reading.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversations rather than yes/no or right/wrong answers.

  • Talk about your day and its series of events.

  • Mix up the events in a story; make it silly!

  • Guess what comes next—or come up with a different ending.

  • Read stories without words; they really help focus on this skill.

  • Name objects, feelings, and events.

Now it's your turn to have fun, be creative and start your own story.

Once Upon a Time...

by: 
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!  

ROAR!!!

 

Photo credit: flickr

by: 
Anna, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

In my last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned the importance of knowing your child’s learning style. Understanding how your child learns will help them gain confidence in their ability to tackle a new idea they are introduced to at school or home. If you’ve read my posts before, you know I’m always thinking about those of us with learning disabilities like dyslexia. If your child has a learning disability, they could use a confidence boost more than anyone!  So, if you don’t know your child’s learning style take this test to find a brief description of each learning style. Let’s focus on the visual learner. 

Visual learners can see or imagine what they are learning. They like to listen to descriptive stories. I thought this next one was interesting. Visual learners might have trouble with spoken directions. Maybe that’s why I have to tell my four year old to brush his teeth 8 times before he actually gets the toothbrush out! Tonight, when it’s time to brush teeth, I’ll just give him a visual. I’ll brush my teeth with my index finger. That’s a good visual for teeth brushing, right?

Anyway, back to other characteristics of a visual learner. Their mind creates illustrations or "movies" if you will. They like color. Use a color system to learn how to read or write. What’s an example of a color system? When your child learns the alphabet, have him/her write uppercase letters blue and lower case letters red. Let’s turn reading into a craft time. Grab a magazine, glue, and scissors. Choose a letter, for example “T”. Together, with your child, cut out words that begin with “T” like "table" or "trampoline" Next, cut out a picture of a table or trampolie. Glue the picture of the table or trampline next to the letter "T".  Later, when you child sees the letter “T”, they will also visualize a table or trampoline. I wonder if their minds will even imagine a person jumping on the trampoline.

You Tube is the visual learner's best friend. It has great flash cards. Below is one I like that focuses on the letter “B”.

You Tube also has sight words or high frequency words flash cards. I liked this video because of the use of color.

 

So, what are some book suggestions for a visual learner? Comic books or fantasy books might be a hit with your visual learner! 

Robot, go Bot! a comic reader

 

Calvin and Hobbes are always great! 

Journey by Aaron Becker

Photo Credit: Cheryl Colan

by: 
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 

 

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?

 

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