Early Literacy

Stork Storytime Helps Libraries Help Families Deliver Literacy

Pregnant woman reading to her "bump"

When I was a new mom, I struggled to start and maintain a daily reading routine after bringing our first child home. I knew it was important to do, but adjusting to this new little person — and all the changes that came with him — made a daily routine more hope than reality. After I began my career in library land, I saw firsthand how critical developing a love of reading and becoming proficient in it was to a child’s future success, not only in school, but in life.

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Serving Children in Crisis

Proactive Response In a recent NPR article, Vicky Smith of Kirkus Reviews pointed out that in the face of the global immigrant and refugee crisis, “It is a real desire on the part of authors, illustrators and publishers to respond to the crisis in a way that is proactive and helpful.”  In reality, the aim of youth services librarians is precisely the same. Our occupation combats and seeks to ameliorate illiteracy, and act as a social equalizer.  What is more, we seek to provide a proactive response to social issues in the only way we know how. If you find yourself confronted with the question of “why”, here’s your response, put best by Flying Eye Books (of Nobrow Press): “In the wake of the cruelties happening to immigrant children all over the globe, but most recently in the US with children coming across the Mexican border, many of us are shocked. The…

Blogger Katie Salo

Kindergarten Bootcamp

It’s the mid-point of summer reading and school supplies have started popping up in stores around us. Know what it’s time for? Kindergarten Bootcamp! Kindergarten Bootcamp is a four-day program designed to give entering kindergarteners the opportunity to experience a classroom setting and practice being a student before starting school. We review kindergarten concepts (alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes) while practicing social-emotional skills like sharing, lining up, transitioning, and group work. Quick Details The class is capped at twenty-five kids. Three staff members participate: one primary teacher, one music teacher, and one art teacher. Class runs from 9:30-11:00 a.m. so we do work on an abbreviated schedule. Caregivers do not stay with their child past drop-off. Set-Up I use our large meeting room and have two different areas set up: one group area and one station area. On days when I schedule art or music, those are held in our…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Homemade Interactive Play Stations to Invite Imaginary Play

I recently attended a training given by two of my amazing co-workers about their fantastic homemade interaction play stations. Once I saw what Emily and Kelly had created, I was inspired to try it out at my branch and I knew I had to share their creativity with others! Emily & Kelly: We noticed in our interactions with children in both our storytimes and outreach visits that when we asked an open-ended question that required them to use their imaginations children would either not answer or respond with “I don’t know.” So we started looking for ways to introduce pretend play to spark their imaginations. We also wanted to demonstrate to parents the importance of pretend play and the ability to provide the same types of learning opportunities at home without having to invest in expensive toys.

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Children in Crisis: Literacy brings Hope

Supporting Detained Children It’s little wonder that on ALSC’s listserv that the topic of supporting children caught up in a web of immigration policy came up.  Frankly, it’s in the youth services librarian’s DNA.  We do all we can every day for every child who walks through our library’s doors.  And for those we encounter in our outreach efforts, we do that much more.  It is not an unreasonable leap that librarians nationwide would want to get library materials and services to detained children. Why Literacy Behind Bars is so Important Before we delve into efforts by REFORMA and other non-profits and NGOs, the question that you need to be ready for is simply “why?” If children are being detained, whatever the circumstance, literacy is integral – key – to their chances for success. Here’s your top-5 why’s and ALL of these are about kids right here: 2/3 of students…

ALA Annual 2018

STEAM-y Library Programs at #alac18

You can’t be a children’s librarian today without being inundated with STEAM, STEM, STREAM requests from your admins, patrons, councilmembers, educators, and children themselves. It has been a buzzword for the last 10 years or so… but what does that actually mean at your library? I really liked this program because it talked about the theory and why of STEM and how we were already doing a lot of it and just additional framework for how we can think and talk about STEM as we develop programs and empower parents. As one presenter put it– we want parents to feel like they have achieved things and accomplished things! And then beyond the framework– there was a chance to interact and play with materials and PRACTICE discussing STEM questioning with ourselves and colleagues in the room. I mention that because as one of the presenters mentioned– this takes practice, there is no…

Blogger Meg Smith

Grant Revitalizes Deposit Collections after Hurricane Matthew

Sometimes our programs and services can be discontinued through no fault of our own, and we have to think outside the box to re-envision this work. This was the case for us when Hurricane Matthew caused major flooding to our community in 2016. Our deposit collection services, located in the lower level of our Headquarters Library of Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, N.C., sustained severe damage when flooding damaged all central operations. Deposit collections provided a lending library of rotating, gently used, discarded children’s materials. These collections were sent to child care facilities and other community organizations serving youth. These child care facilities qualified for services because the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education ranked these centers with low ratings of one, two, or three stars. Each facility also served a minimum of ten children. The majority of users receiving deposit collection services…