Archive for the ‘Early Literacy’ Category

Frog on a Log?

Some say cats are bossy animals, and in this new book by Kes Gray and Jim Field we certainly get that impression.
frog on a log

Frog on a Log starts with cat’s stern instruction; “Hey, Frog! Sit on a log!” The rest of the book is a conversation between cat and frog about who sits where. We learn that cats sit on mats, goats sit on coats, puffins sit on muffins, and snakes sit on cakes. The cat knows all of this and lectures frog saying, “It’s not about being comfortable, it’s about doing the right thing.”

These silly rhymes (and super silly pictures) make us smile, but they also help little brains understand how words are related to each other. When you play with the rhymes in books you’re working on an important early literacy skill, phonological awareness. So read this one together and laugh as you learn!

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On June 12, 2015, the Children’s Services department had some Summer Reading Fun with our toddler patrons and their families.  At Toddlerpalooza, we blew bubbles, built with blocks, crawled through tunnels, created contact-paper art, played with hand puppets, and more! It was a fantastic time of playing, singing, talking, and laughing!

You won’t want to miss Toddlerpalooza at your local branch! Click here for other locations hosting Toddlerpalooza in the coming weeks.

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Early Literacy Cleans Up

As librarians, we work early literacy into our storytimes and we love helping parents with tips for practicing early literacy skills at home. Everyday things you do, like clean-up time, can be used to get those little brains learning. Research tells us that the words we use with our little ones are vital to building big vocabularies. Later those words will help them understand what they are reading.



Colette, one of our branch librarians, told me this story about her son who’s three.

We are working on color identification at home, when I have something for Anthony to put away, I say, “Go put your BLUE car in the WHITE bin.” He knows which car to pick up and puts it into the correct bin, so he can find it later.

Even clean-up time can be rich with early literacy skills when you’re intentional about the words you use.

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Pool Noodle Play

Get creative at playtime by cutting a pool noodle into sections to be used as building blocks…


…or binoculars!

This little guy was playing and experimenting at our Toddlerpalooza program this week. It’s an event designed for adults with babies and toddlers, to play, talk, sing, read, write, and laugh. Early literacy fun for the littlest library customers! Check our calendar to see when Toddlerpalooza is happening at your favorite library location.


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Early Literacy Songs

Today I’d like to share a cute story from one of our librarians, Angela, about her daughter who just turned two.clara shane

My daughter absolutely loves singing the Icky Sticky Bubble Gum song. She will now request that song by asking “Icky Sticky Bubble Bum?” (The “G” sound is one she’s still working on.) We do a bunch of variations of that song, and sometimes if the imaginary bubble gum gets stuck somewhere icky like her feet, she gets a big kick out of me dramatically saying things like, “Ew! Yuck! Let’s get some new bubble gum! We don’t want to eat bubble gum from our feet! Let’s throw that gum away in the trash.” So now, sometimes when we say the gum got stuck to her feet, she immediately asks, “Trash?!” before I can even continue the song.

As children’s librarians, we know that singing songs with little ones helps get them ready to read. There are lots of reasons for this. The rhythm of songs breaks words down into parts (or syllables). Hearing the smallest sounds in words helps kids learn how to decode, or figure out words, when reading. The rhymes in songs also help little ones learn how language works. Words that sound alike are often part of the same word family. For example, silly songs using words with -og, a frog in a bog sitting on a log, help children learn about rhyme, laying the foundation for reading and writing work to come.

Also, singing songs together is just fun! If you want to learn some new songs, the library has lots of great books and our librarians share fun songs at every storytime.

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FullSizeRenderYou most likely already have a colander of some kind at home. Perhaps your child has already discovered some of its many uses! (If you’d rather your child have a colander for playing you can pick one up at a dollar store.) Here is one he may not have tried: golf tees! You can pick up a pack of golf tees at most stores that carry sporting goods (even Meijer, Kroger Marketplace, and Target will likely have them) for a few dollars. Your child can stick them into the holes of the colander and then turn the whole thing over to dump them (that’s probably the most fun!). Using fingers to pick up small objects like the golf tees helps develop the “pincer grasp,” a foundational skill needed for cutting with scissors, writing, self-care, and general independence. In its basic form, your child uses the pincer grasp to feed him or herself and often has it mastered by 12 months. Continuing to further develop this will give your child the ability to manipulate smaller objects like coins and beads. Who knew a kitchen object could facilitate so much learning?

Note: There are actually SEVEN types of grasps that your child develops in the first year! Read more about that here and here.

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brainThe American Association of Pediatrics has released new research providing evidence that book-sharing with young children has an impact on how their brains process stories. The author of the study, John Hutton, M.D., states:

“Of particular importance are brain areas supporting mental imagery, helping the child ‘see the story’ beyond the pictures, affirming the invaluable role of imagination…This becomes increasingly important as children advance from books with pictures to books without them, where they must imagine what is going on in the text.” (Image and text from “Parent-Child Reading Increases Activation of Brain Networks Supporting Emergent Literacy in 3-5 Year-Old Children: an fMRI Study.” )

A similar activation of parts of the brain that supports understanding the meaning of language was also noted.

Reading books with children is enjoyable for us and for them, while creating time to reinforce bonds among us. It is awesome to learn that it is also literally making their brains ready to understand what they read! Click here for an abstract of the article.

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