Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Real Cool Titles

It may be sweltering outside, but in the library the temps just right. So head in for a cool dose of non-fiction titles and maybe catch one of our programs.

Race Cars Up-Close by Andra Abramson. Part of a series (think fire engines, planes, ships, etc.) that takes you up close to kids' favorite things. With plenty of detail and color this is sure to entertain. J 796.72 ABR

We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson. This title combines Nelson's illustrations, which are gorgeous, warm and expressive, and filled with emotion, with his research on the Negro Baseball League. He follows the struggles and triumphs of these great players, playing the game they loved. (And you should check out all of his other titles while you're at it!) J 796.357 NEL

How Does the Show Go On?: an Introduction to the Theater by Thomas Schumacher. Follow the production of Disney's biggest Broadway shows from their first stages (scripts, sketches, and auditions) to the final production, all accompanied by fabulous photographs and artwork. J 792.02 SCH

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Early Literacy, Ch. 2: Narrative Skills

Welcome to the next installment of Early Literacy. Today I'm talking about Narrative Skills. This skill involves a child being able to recognize the components of a story. Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end. Kids might be able to predict what is going to happen next. And they may also begin to be able to tell their own stories.

Ways that you can encourage your child to develop narrative skills include:
  • Talk together about what happened during the day today. "And then what happened?"
  • Read books that have cause and effect that your child may be able to predict.
  • Play a story-telling game by beginning with "Once upon a time, there was a _____" and let your child fill it in. Then ask questions to encourage the child to tell his/her own story. S/he may need help with this in the beginning. You might make suggestions or give the child options if s/he has a hard time coming up with a story. No matter what s/he says, don't squelch the story, as absurd or nonsensical as it may sound to you.

Join me sometime soon with Early Literacy, Ch. 3: Letter Knowledge.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let's Chat

Parents and people who work with children have known for awhile that talking to kids is an important part of their language development. Well, a new study published by UCLA a few weeks ago supports that, but takes it one step further. While kids do benefit from hearing lots of language and being spoken to, the back-and-forth interaction and involvement of a conversation shows even bigger increases in language skills among children under four.

I kind of think of it as the difference between talking to someone, and talking with someone. The researchers emphasize the importance of letting children express themselves through language, since practice makes perfect. You can read all about in this article.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Crafting with Stuff

At the last programs that I planned, one of the tables had me worried. There was no sample, no end product, just a bunch of stuff to "make a creature." With seven other stations, would anyone venture over? Definitely!

As a great reminder to myself, kids and grownups alike clamored over to the table to make something out of nothing. Pompoms, pipe cleaner, feathers, egg crates, wiggle eyes, and lots of glue lent themselves to some serious creativity.

So if you're looking for something to keep your kids occupied this summer make masks out of empty cereal boxes, necklaces from pasta noodles, or collages with old magazines. With a few odds and ends and a bit of glue they will be fantastically creative, with no expense (except maybe some cleanup!).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quilting Bee

Join us Saturday, July 18 from 1:30 to 2:30 in the Puett Room as we make quilts. And the best part of it is, you don't even have to know how to sew (at least that's the best part of it for me, because I don't know how to sew). Bring the kids to make their own quilt square that they can hang in their room and make a square to be included in a bigger quilt to go on display in the library. We will be working with felt and glue.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Muggles and Magic

Harry Potter fans of all ages are invited to an evening of crafts, triva and games, Thursday, July 16 from 6-8 p.m. in the Community Room. Each person will receive a report card as they enter. Take at least four "classes" and be entered in drawings for fabulous prizes. Care to wear a costume? Be declared the best dressed and win a prize! Test your HP IQ for a chance to win more fantastic prizes. Don't miss this magical night at your library!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Early Literacy, Ch. 1: Phonological Awareness

Some of you who come to the story times at the library may have noticed that we librarians like to talk about early literacy. As you have probably heard from me a time or two (or three or four), early literacy skills are skills that kids have BEFORE they learn how to read. It does not mean that your baby, toddler, or pre-schooler should already be reading.

We have a list of skills that we talk about, but what in the heck do those complicated names mean? I'm going to tell you about one of them, phonological awareness. Let's break that apart. Phonological has to do with the individual sounds in words, and awareness has to do with, you guessed it, being aware of something. So phonological awareness means being aware of individual sounds in words. How, you may ask, can I encourage phonological awareness in my child?

Here are some great ways to increase phonological awareness:

  • Read books with simple, rhyming text
  • Sing songs and emphasize the beat by clapping or tapping
  • Chant nursery rhymes; the little nonsense ones that emphasize the rhyming of silly sounds are great

If you want some ideas for specific books that help with this skill, ask one of your faithful librarians at the children's reference desk.

Join me sometime in the next couple of weeks in my next installment of Early Literacy, Ch. 2: Narrative Skills

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remember: Summer Reading should be fun!

Now that your kids have signed up for the Summer Reading Program and are busy working through their school summer reading lists, don't forget to encourage them to take time to find reads they will enjoy, regardless of reading level and school assignments. Kids become life-long readers when they find joy in reading, which can be difficult to do when slogging through boring reading lists. When your kids come to the library, it's great for them to check out a stack of books. That way, if a book becomes boring, they can just search through the stack for something more interesting rather than turning on the TV. Check out this discussion on PBS' Booklights blog in defense of escapist summer reading: http://www.pbs.org/parents/booklights/archives/2009/07/discussions-in-defense-of-escapist-summer-reading.html

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wear Ever Poems

What would your clothes rhyme about if they could? Button Up! by Alice Schertle is a wonderful collection of poems each with a voice as unique as your clothes.
We're Emily's undies
with laces and bows.
Emily shows us
wherever she goes.
How cute is that?! Each character is an accessory worn by a different child-like creature, whether it's Jack's soccer jersey or Emily's undies or Wanda's swimsuit. This could be a great idea for getting your child's creative juices flowing. After reading the poems, have them pick an item of their own and write what they think it would say about them.

Check out this and other great poetry books in the J 811 section of the Children's Room.