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Supporting Evidence-Based Practice

Have you ever wondered why we sing hello and goodbye songs during storytime? Or why we provide coloring sheets in the children’s room?  As Children’s Librarians, we know there are various accepted practices that we implement in our everyday work. From singing at storytime rather than just reading books to providing opportunities for play and socialization for both children and adults, there are certain actions we all take. After a while, these actions become routine and we may not think about why it is we choose these over their alternatives. In some cases, they may not even have ever been explained; they have just been passed from mentor to mentee simply by example rather than described along with the reasoning behind it. However, in order to arrive at the conclusion that these practices should be the most accepted and widely used, someone had to ask: Which actions best support childhood…

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

When Early Literacy Research Feels Personal

Recently, one of the important little ones in my life was diagnosed as having autism. Leading up to the diagnosis, I’ve become increasingly focused on how best to continue to encourage his love of books (as an 11 month old, he had the longest attention span and joy for stories of any baby I’ve known) and thinking about what research tells us that might inform how best to present a early literacy storytime for him. Our ALSC Early & Family Literacy Committee discusses at each meeting our plans for our regular second Sunday of the month blog posting and at our September meeting, I confidently declared, “I’ll do something on the research about autism, early literacy and storytimes”. Then I promptly searched databases for peer-reviewed sources and tried to get my poor brain to process the language of research journals. I printed three articles and brought them back and forth…

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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…

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

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…

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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…

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

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.