Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

What Does It Mean To Foster Early Writing?

A library colleague and mother of a preschooler, recently remarked that she feels confident about how to promote her son’s early literacy development through talking, singing, reading, and playing. Despite being familiar with ECRR2, however, she is unsure exactly how to nurture emergent writing. If my colleague, who is embedded in the public library world, is unsure about what it looks like to support early writing, she is likely not alone. Are we doing all we can to effectively convey and model what it means to foster early writing and why it’s so important?

Blogger Kary Henry

Preschool Outreach Programs

I love doing traditional preschool outreach storytimes. Sharing great books and fun flannels? Singing and dancing to silly songs? I’m there for it. However, a friend at another library inspired me to expand my repertoire. I added preschool outreach programs to highlight STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering, and math) picture books and offer opportunities for preschoolers to engage in a different way than storytimes. Over the next few months, I’ll highlight some success stories and look forward to hearing how YOU shake things up in outreach!

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Practice Picture Books

Picture of a practice picture book with label instructions.

One of the reasons that I love my job is that I can connect my passions with serving my community. In particular, I’ve had this dream of practice picture books as an early literacy service since around 2017, but something always came up and I never got to it. When I became a manager, this dream got put on the back burner’s back-est of back burners. Until now. I often hear parents or caregivers say that they want their toddlers/preschoolers to move past board books and into picture books, but they are concerned that the books are too delicate for their child’s use. They know the toddler death grip is real or notorious destructive preschoolers may accidentally or not, tear or rip the pages of picture books. These fears may sound important to patrons who don’t want to destroy precious books or who may worry about a fine, but at…

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Celebrating Board Books for Babies

Every year, I teach a survey of children’s literature class to MLIS students. After I have covered the history of children’s publishing, and children’s literacy development, I spend a whole class on books for babies. It’s one of my favourite classes because I get to bring an enormous stack of baby books to class and teach my students all about them.  Reading to babies I start out by reminding them that human babies are born totally helpless and frankly – they don’t care what anyone reads to them. That being said, babies do want and need to be held and touched and interacted with.  Books designed for babies do seem to offer parents and caregivers a nice way of doing just that: holding, touching, and interacting with their babies from their earliest days onwards.  When babies are born, their vision is not fully developed so high contrast books with very clear and spare black…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Essential Storytime Skills: Handling Grown-Ups

All children’s librarians have been there. You’re at the front of the room, trying to interest a group of preschoolers in a carefully curated selection of storytime books and songs, and rhymes. But there’s a current of conversation coming from a corner of the room. Is it a parent interacting with their child? No! It’s two adults carrying on a conversation with one another without regard to the disruption they are causing. Or how about this one? You’ve put on a song, and it is dance time! But wait! There are at least five caregivers who are glued to their phones. You try to make eye contact, but you’re not on their radar at all. It’s so frustrating!  We expect inattention from children. It is developmentally appropriate. But adults are a whole different matter. What are some tips and tricks to get adults engaged in storytime?

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Play and Literacy Programming for Preschoolers

Turning Research into Practice – Connecting Play and Literacy There’s plenty of information available about the importance of play in child development. Unfortunately, the perception persists for a caregiver to see a child stacking a pile of blocks and say, “oh, they’re just playing”. Librarians have an important role in bridging the research/practice gap with programs which empower parents to recognize and engage with their children during these important learning moments connecting play and literacy.

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Hands-on Storytime: Felt Stories & Early Literacy 

In a 2004 School Library Journal article called “Children of the Cloth”, Renea Arnold and Nell Colburn say that flannel (or felt) stories “are a great tool to help kids learn early literacy skills.” (p.37) and I heartily agree with them.  They acknowledge that felt stories have been a storytime staple for years in schools and libraries. They explain these fabric-based stories invite participation as young listeners try to guess what will appear from behind the feltboard or call out the name of the animal, letter, or object being put on the board. I especially appreciate that Arnold and Colburn emphasize how this kind of storytelling helps young children learn – that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Because felt stories usually emphasize sequences in visual way,  as pieces of the story are put on the board one by one, or taken off one by one, children learn how stories work….