A New Back to School- Dealing with Screen Time

Yes, it is September! This time last year, many students and teachers had either just begun their school year or were gearing up to go back. This year looks a little different. With the pandemic still raging onward, many schools have chosen to start the school year either completely remote or are using a hybrid model where children switch between remote and in-person learning. This means there are many changes to come. With so many students doing their schooling from home, in addition to other media consumption, the concerns over screen time are valid! While previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had recommended limits on how much screen time a child should have for children six and up, more recently they have changed this suggestion to creating a family media plan. Through their website, AAP has created a guide on how to set up a family media plan. These…

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Back to Basics Part IV: Keep on singing!

As a children’s librarian, one of the things I miss most about pre-Covid-19 public library life is the sound of children singing—singing with others at storytime or just singing out loud as they and their adults go about their business in the library. When children sing, their joy in this activity is contagious. And it makes me especially happy because I know, thanks to the research behind the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) parent education initiative, that singing is not only a fun activity for children, it helps children develop important early literacy skills. Singing is one of the five practices ECRR encourages adults to use to build a child’s early literacy skills. Singing helps children: hear the sounds and syllables in words, practice the rhythms and rhymes of spoken language, learn new vocabulary words and their meaning, learn the names of the letters that make up words, discover…


Back to Basics Part III: Making a Mark through Writing

Writing development starts early. Just as librarians, parents, caregivers and teachers know that snuggling up to read side by side with little ones is the best and most basic way to promote a love of reading, and everyday play is the powerful, natural way to explore the world and make learning fun, it’s also important to remember that positive early writing experiences are also fundamental to building strong and balanced literacy. I was an elementary literacy specialist for years before hopping over to the wonderful world of libraries over a decade ago. In the classroom, it was awesome watching children beam with confidence when they gradually made sense of those squiggly marks on the page, solving the mysterious puzzle that is reading. I now love nothing more than connecting the dots from joyful library storytimes to later reading success. The power of storytime is remarkable. I recently watched a virtual…

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Back to Basics Part II: The Continued Importance of Play

I’ve started this blog post a trillion times, thinking to myself, “I’ll write something about ACES and Early & Family Literacy… maybe talk a bit about trauma-informed care. I’ll focus on this time of COVID-19… or maybe how we can combat systemic racism”. My attention is scattered, flitting between searching for the most current research to support an informed post and re-reading re)-entry documents in advance of our soft launch of contact-free pickup next week. My reading takes me to information from Trauma-Informed Oregon, reminding that during times of stress, we should “prioritize relationships” to “buffer a stress response” and encourage resiliency. I came across an article from Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child and Family Resilience advising parents to look for clues as to how their child is dealing with COVID-19 anxiety in their imaginative play. I recall a reminder in the excellent CLEL webinar on Virtual Storytimes…

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Back to Basics?

I originally planned to write a blogpost for the ALSC Early and Family Literacy Committee on all the exciting things happening at ALA Annual around our charge. Not happening. My second thought was to discuss how to do things virtually around Early and Family Literacy. Now that some states are beginning to take a few steps away from complete stay-at-home orders, That seems less relevant too. 

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Digital Outreach and Family Literacy: Children’s Programming in the Time of COVID-19

Over the last five years, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of digital resources and accessibility. In 2015, the New York Public Library began loaning hotspots, and just this past December, Library Journal published an article about how to better promote digital resources because many patrons are unaware they exist. As many libraries across the country have shut their physical doors in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, these e-resources have become even more vital, as has the concept of family literacy. One of the main questions this raises is how can we best continue to serve children and families at this time?   In addition to promoting digital resources like e-books, a vast number of children’s librarians have begun doing virtual storytimes through their library’s social media accounts. In order to determine how effective these practices are, we can turn to O’Connor’s 2017 study Sociocultural Early Literacy Practices…

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Summer’s Changing and It Should

For years, public libraries have been offering some form of Summer Reading Program for the youth in their communities. There is an abundance of evidence on the benefits of Summer Reading Programs in reducing the effects of summer slide and reducing the achievement gaps that can exist between students from low and middle income families. (For more resources look at http://www.summermatters.net/summer-learning-loss-increases-the-achievement-gap-diagram/ and https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/summerslide). In the last ten years, many public libraries and youth librarians have been asking the questions “Is a Summer Reading program enough?” and “How can we help reduce our students’ losses in mathematics and other subject areas?”  The evolving solution to those questions is the transformation from Summer Reading Programs to Summer Learning Programs.

ALA Midwinter 2020

EFL’s MidWinter Wrap-Up

Welcome back! We hope you had a great time at ALA’s MidWinter Conference. While in Philadelphia, the Early and Family Literacy Committee (EFL) met face-to-face for the first time, it was truly exciting. This meeting took place on Sunday at the All-Committee Meeting. During this time, we were able to talk about the direction that we would like to take this committee in.    One of the first things that came up, something that we had been discussing beforehand as well, was partnering with other ALSC committees.  Previously, EFL had put together a short list of other committees that we felt could be great to work and collaborate with. We want to make sure that we are addressing the research topics that librarians across the country want and need. We thought that the best way to first go about this is to reach out and see what other committees and…