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Movin' and Groovin activities to help your child get ready to read


This week we hosted author and education specialist Rae Pica as the guest speaker at an event for parents, teachers, educators and childcare providers.

The Movin’ and Groovin’ event kicks off a month of special events for our littlest patrons. Throughout October and November our locations are hosting Movin’ and Groovin’ Fests to put into action some of the strategies to help get every child read to read when they start school.

Rae shared some of her favorite strategies and we want to share them with you.

Take a Listening Walk.
Walk with your child. Even as a baby in a stroller, talk to your baby as you walk along.  Use words to describe the sounds you hear along the way. Your baby is absorbing it all as he processes his environment.  Ask your toddler to listen for the natural sounds of birds, wind, or dogs barking. Then ask them to listen for the human sounds of cars, laughter, and construction.

Use music to encourage active listening.
Those childhood favorite songs, like BINGO or Heads-Shoulders-Knees and Toes, and Old McDonald, are key to helping young children learn sequencing, body movement and awareness, and patterns.

Play musical games.
Toddlers and preschoolers love musical games that get their bodies and minds engaged. Add a twist to the old favorite “musical chairs” by asking kids to freeze like a statue when the music stops, or play musical partners, giving their friend a hug when the music stops playing.

Talk – sing, whisper, shout!
Sing, chant, and mix it up by having the children say their name different ways.  Have them chant their name to learn rhythm. Have them say their name fast and then slow to practice tempo. Have them say if softly in a whisper, then shouting to learn volume. Have them sing their name to put it all in action.

You’ve got to move it, move it!
Ask children to move differently when saying their name in fun ways. As they whisper their names, have them put that quiet movement into action by tiptoeing. When they shout it, ask them to stomp each syllable/beat.  When they sing their name, encourage them to dance it.

Sky write!
Imagine your finger is a giant crayon, and then ask the children to “draw” in the air the first letter of their name. Start big, then go smaller, and smaller.  Get creative by using different parts of your body. Have them try writing the letter as if their bellybutton held the crayon, or their head.  The giggles will come out, but without any pressure.  Skywriting encourages movement, helps kids understand straight versus curvy lines, all without pressure since it’s not permanent and mistakes can’t be seen.

Play balloon volleyball.
There’s no better way to build eye-hand coordination (a prerequisite to writing!) than by playing volleyball with a balloon. Or through a chiffon scarf into the air and encourage the children to catch it. Nobody gets hurt, but they’ll be developing that precious coordination they’ll need later to hold a pencil and write.

All of these strategies of free language and movement help promote directionality and spatial awareness for children. They build word comprehension and future literacy skills. As Rae said when she wrapped up her presentation, “the best way to teach a child to write is to let them play at the playground. Gross motor skills must be developed before fine motor skills can be honed.”

You can find some of Rae’s books in our libraries and we encourage you to bring the family to one of our Movin’ and Groovin’ Fests.

Oh, one last thing…we’d like to thank the Jefferson County Library Foundation for supporting the Movin’ and Groovin’ event this week! Their support of our programs made the evening possible.

Save the Whale Sale Stress


If you’ve been there, you get it. People spend hours browsing our Foundation's Whale of a Used Book Sale to see what hidden treasures await.  The first day is always packed. That’s the simple truth.

Granted, some folks thrive on this kind of environment. They totally rock the elbowing, grabbing and “swimming against the tide” thing. If you’re not that kind of person, and/or you’ve ever wondered how to get ahead of the stampede, here’s how.

Your membership to the Friends of Jefferson County Public Library guarantees you a spot at preview night before the Whale Sale begins. This is your opportunity to get your hook into the best catch.

The Preview night takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Join Friends now or you can join at the door. We promise, once you join, you’ll be hooked.


Whale Sale Details:

Fall Whale of a Used Book Sale Free Admission! Browse through 100,000+ books, CDs, DVDs and more!

Thursday, October 22 - Preview Night for Friends members
6 - 8 p.m.


Friday,October 23-24
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

* Sunday, October 25
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

* Sunday is "Bag Day". Stuff as many items as you can into a grocery sized bag for just $6.

For more information call 303-403-5075



Dogtoberfest Book Recs


October is National Adopt-A-Dog Month! We’ve teamed up with the folks at Foothills Animal Shelter to create reading recommendations for some of their adoptable dogs. You can learn more about the dogs featured in this post by visiting www.FoothillsAnimalShelter.org or calling 303-278-7575.

Three-month-old Chihuahua mix, Melvin, is curious about everything and would love to have someone show him around! Since he’s also a great snuggler, we though he’d enjoy cuddling up with someone and reading Stanley at School by Linda Bailey. Melvin’s pet ID is 153102 if you want to meet him! 

Meet June Bug! This six-month old American Bulldog mix is looking for someone to keep her company! She has a passion for the outdoors and people, and she loves giving kisses. We thought she’d love reading about a girl and her dog’s autumnal adventures in Jung-Hee Spetter’s Lily and Trooper’s Fall. If you want to learn more about June Bug, her pet ID is 162703.

Say hello to Merlin! This four-year-old Border Collie mix is in search of an active, high energy home where his outgoing and affectionate nature will be appreciated. Since he seems like the perfect hiking companion, we thought he’d like Hiking and Backpacking with Dogs by Linda B. Mullally, that way he can share some tips with his new owners. Merlin’s pet ID is 153102 if you’d like to meet with him. 

This is Kaiser and he just wants to play all day. He’s a one-year-old Rottweiler mix seeking an adventure buddy to explore the great outdoors with. We thought he’d be able to appreciate the adventures in Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog by Emma Pearse. Want to discuss the book with Kaiser? His pet ID is 162653.   

Cute Critter Extra! 

This adorable Chinese dwarf hamster is Mamay. She can be a little shy, but she’s very nice and easy to handle and she likes to burrow deep down in her bedding. We thought she’d like to read about other animal’s cuddling habits in Can You Cuddle a Koala? by John Butler. Mamay’s pet ID is 160965 if you’d like to cuddle up with her.  

Jenny, Golden Library

My three year old loves this app ($2.99 apple/android) but I was hesitant to recommend it, at first. It doesn't SEEM like an early literacy app. It seems like a cute diversion for waiting rooms and restaurants (and it is that!), but the more I thought about it, and I thought about WHY she likes it, I figured I should share with you. 

Jinga the cat is going on a road trip to visit your child's choice of 3 friends: a dog, a rabbit, and a bird. Each friend lives in a exotic locale: mountains, pyramids or beach. You tap a friend to get started on your trip. 

Next, you must pack Jinga's suitcase. And this is where I started to realize that Road Trip is an excellent app for teaching narrative skills. We talk about where Jinga is headed: "Do you think she's going to need her swimsuit in the snowy mountains?" "What else do you think she should bring?"

Then, you choose a car. There are normal cars, sure, but the ice cream truck, pickle car, and shoe car are big favorites in our house. All you have to do to get Jinga going is tap her car. The more aggressively you drag Jinga, the faster she goes - much to her dismay at times. She has wonderful expressions for bumpy roads and hard landings. My daughter's favorite part is making Jinga look positively terrified. 

Other features include the ability to stop for a car wash and gas. Once Jinga reaches her destination, you're back to the map and ready to choose another friend to visit! There aren't any levels or time limits, it's just a child-driven road trip adventure with fun cartoon friends. 

As is, this is a great addition to a "first app" collection for 2-4 year olds. Talking about the story and the choices your child makes for Jinga along the way (the middle) from Point A (the beginning) to Point B (the end) also makes it a fantastic app for practicing Narrative Skills

Bonus: no in-app purchases! No ads! No Wifi needed to use the app once its downloaded!

Caveat: it's kind of expensive for what it is, but it's offered for free fairly regularly. We've also got Sago Mini Boats (pretty much the same, but with boats!) and Friends (an animal friends playdate) and didn't pay for any of them. Try Apps Gone Free (apple) or App of the Day (Google Play).

Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

As the weather turns colder, we find ourselves spending more and more time indoors.  Why not turn cooking with your kids into a fun, healthy experience which helps reinforce elements of early literacy too? 

Recently, my 5 year old son came home and asked me “Mommy, what is lasagna?”  I used this opportunity to have a lot of fun!   I found a cookbook with attractive photographs  and showed him how to use the index to look for “L” for lasagna.  After we found a great recipe, we grabbed some paper and pencils to create our shopping list.  I had him do a combination of drawing pictures of food and writing words.  We headed to the store, looked for our ingredients together, brought them home and got everything ready to go.  We had a lot of fun reading the recipe together and following the different steps on our way to making our fantastic lasagna dish.  My son had so much fun with this cooking adventure and felt very proud for helping make such a yummy creation.  To top it off, he got to practice reading and writing activities AND we got to spend some wonderful, fun, quality time together. 

Check out your local library for some great cookbooks.  Be sure to look for ones that focus on cooking with kids to find simple, fun recipes with colorful photographs to really attract your kids’ attention.  Here are a few I would recommend:

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

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with us! Four of our libraries are hosting a special story time followed with a performance by Grupo Tlaloc, a danza Azteca group. The grupo is the first and oldest group of its kind in the Denver area, promoting 35 years of educating, performing, and understanding of the native culture of Mexico and the Native American way of life to our community. Join us for this fun and entertaining program.

Age: All. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Location / Lugar:

1 p.m. Saturday, October 3

1:30 Saturday, October 10

2 p.m., October 17

2 p.m., Saturday, October 24

Vengan todos para celebrar el Mes de la Herencia Hispana con nosotros. Vamos a empezar con una CuentaCuentos para niños y luego una celebración de baile hecho por el Grupo Tlaloc un grupo danza Azteca. El grupo es el primer y más antiguo grupo de su tipo en el área de Denver. Tienen 35 años educando las comunidades diversas, dando espectáculo de bailes, ensenando y mejorando la comprensión de la cultura nativa de México, así como el estilo americano nativo de la vida a nuestra área. Por favor, vengan con nosotros, que va hacer divertido y una programa entretenido.

Los niños necesitan estar acompañados por un adulto todo el tiempo.

Todas las edades están bienvenidos de venir.


Also, join us to make and decorate Mexican Sugar Skulls.

2 p.m. Saturday, October 17
Wheat Ridge

4;30 p.m. Thursday, October 29

Sharpen your pencils and your skills!



Need help with your homework? The Golden Library and Colorado School of Mines Phi Gamma Delta fraternity offer free help for student in grades 1-12 in any subject. Take advantage of this homework help and avoid the evening homework frustration battles.

Reservations are not required.

4-6 p.m. Every Wednesday and Thursday
September 9 – December 10

Please note:  Homework help will not be available November 26 because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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


Find Election Information at Jefferson County Public Library


Libraries have long been staunch supporters of the democratic process. For years, all 10 Jefferson County Public Library locations have hosted election tables where patrons can find information about candidates and issues. Anyone can place election materials on the tables, and all are invited to do so.

Election tables went up on September 12. If you're looking for information on the upcoming election, be sure to check them out! You can find information on Library hours and locations here.



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