Posts Tagged ‘early literacy’

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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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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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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fireflyaward_1The Indiana Firefly Award is a state award designed to call attention to high quality books for preschoolers. The “short list” is selected by a committee of early literacy professionals including teachers, librarians, caregivers, and project coordinators; all are involved in early childhood development.

Here are this year’s 8 nominees:

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The purpose of this award is to encourage parents, caregivers, and very young children to interact together with exceptional picture books. The winning title is selected by Indiana children, from birth through age 5. Sound interesting? A ballot box is set up in the Children’s Services department at the Main Library — grab your little one and come downtown to vote! The last day to vote is May 10th.

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Today we got a new book by Jon Agee. His books are always great and this one is no exception.


To me, a good picture book tells part of the story with the pictures and part of the story with the words. In this case, the two stories don’t completely fit together. The title “It’s Only Stanley” is the phrase that Mr. Wimbledon keeps repeating after checking on strange nighttime sounds. Yep, Stanley is the cause, but you and I can see something major is going on in each scene. Dad’s not concerned but we as the readers are!

So there’s the mystery of what Stanley is up to and then there’s the rhyming text. Many of my favorite read-alouds rhyme. They’re fun to read, and fun to listen to. Books that rhyme also let kids practice the early literacy skill of playing with the sounds in words. Like on the page that says “It was even later still, when Willie smelled a funky smell that made him kind of ill.” Pre-readers see and hear that ‘still’ and ‘ill’ sound alike and look alike. As they continue on their reading journey they’ll be quicker to understand how to read and spell words like ‘fill’ and ‘grill’.

One last thing that makes a picture book great are the details in the pictures. I noticed new things each time I looked through the book. I could tell you what those things were but that would spoil your fun!

Get a copy for yourself and enjoy!

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16663057672_0766026ef4_kMy kids LOVE to go to the downtown library. And, of course, the featured attraction is the Early Learning Center in the Children’s department. Last week, I was able to spend some one-on-one time with my daughter in the ELC. She started asking about the play food immediately after I told her we were going there. The hardest part of playing in the ELC has been learning how to share, but it has taught her how to wait and give others a chance to play also.

16662904081_b0d5b51f3d_kWe had the room almost to ourselves this time, which is rare, but delightful. She loaded up the shopping cart with the food in the kitchen area and collected all the food we found around the room. We talked about the different foods she found: what they are called, if she likes to eat them, what colors they are, etc. This will help expand her vocabulary, which will help her when she learns how to read, since it is easier to read a word you know than one you don’t!

She wanted to make “soup” for me, so we wrote down the recipe! She told me all of the ingredients as she put them in the bowl, and I wrote them down, emphasizing the first letter’s sound for each word. Writing helps kids make the connection between words you speak and their printed counterpart.

16456899327_cf971307e1_kAnother little girl played in the kitchen as we wrote our recipe and when she left, she had all of the dishes neatly arranged by type and color. Sorting and categorizing helps kids learn alike and different, which will help them recognize the differences in letters – especially those pesky lowercase ones like b, d, p, and q.

We played and talked and wrote, but best of all we had time to simply be together.

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Independent readers can plow through chapter books like crazy. But why should big kids have all the fun?
I’d highly recommend sharing chapter books with preschoolers too!

  1. They’re fun!
  2. A lot of these books have great pictures.
  3. You’re stretching those little brains to keep track of book characters and details in a way they haven’t before.
  4. You’re getting to show the proper use of a bookmark.
  5. Book time with preschoolers is great no matter what you read because it’s one-on-one time that little ones crave.

Here are some of my favorites for younger kids.

toys go out winnie leroy
mercy mouse nest
bless bink bear called paddington

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