Early Literacy

BIG Play = BIG Fun!

A firefighter, a chef, a magician, and two elephants are creating an elaborate, imaginary world in the dress-up tent. Engineers are building cardboard forts and testing the strength of their structures. An acrobat is crawling and peeking through a small tunnel. Three printmakers are working on a collaborative piece of rubber stamp art. And a pair of tiny zoo keepers are inspecting, touching, squeezing, (and maybe even chewing on) a variety of soft, stuffed animals. Where are all these little ones doing all these things all in one place? They are at their library’s Big Play Date, and they are loving it! Inspired by Brooklyn Public Library’s innovative idea, libraries all over the country are hosting Big Play Dates and growing community, providing big fun, supporting parental learning, and strengthening the brains of our youngest patrons in the process. Here at San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), we host what we…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

StoryTown

An example of partnership as a librarian does storytime outreach

At Simsbury Public Library, CT we’re good at collaboration. We have an excellent record of building strong partnerships with local businesses, community organizations, schools, and other town departments. In fact, one of our strategic plan goals revolves around outreach, engaging the community beyond the library’s walls and increasing our number of off site library programs. We already have regularly scheduled outreach visits to daycares, pre-schools and schools in our area, and were looking for a new way to engage our youngest patrons, out in the community. StoryTown is a fall series of storytimes around Simsbury, CT designed to do just that.  It is an ideal way for patrons to meet us in different locations around town and learn a little more about our community in the process. Each of the six StoryTown programs will take place at a different location including: Peachwave (a local business, and sponsor of our Summer…

Diversity

Talking with Young Children (0-5) about Race

As youth serving librarians, we have a unique opportunity to build relationships and interact with young children and their families. This opportunity allows us to support families in many ways: building literacy skills, learning the importance of play, enjoying library programs, and of course much more.  Among the “much more” is the opportunity to speak with young children about race, to speak with caregivers about how to talk about race, and to model talking about race with children for their caregivers. It’s Never Too Early to Talk with Children about Race Research indicates both that children notice racial differences from a very young age (Winkler, 2009) and that if caregivers do not openly talk about race with children, children make up their own, often erroneous, meaning from what they see (Bigler, as cited in Dwyer, 2013). But, many caregivers/librarians/teachers, particularly white folks, are uncomfortable talking about race. They may feel…

Early Literacy

Drag Queen Story Hour

Drag Queens at the Library? Yes! Drag Queens at the library reading picture books? Definitely YES!! Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) was created in San Francisco, CA by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions.  It has since expanded to New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and a multitude of other cities. Libraries all over the country are embracing this program with open arms! DQSH is a delightful celebration of diversity and gender fluidity. It gives children and their families and caregivers positive role models who break gender stereotypes, and encourage children to be exactly who they want to be. Check out below to see what three librarians think about bringing the program to their libraries, and to see a few photos!   From the New York Public Library, Early Literacy Coordinator, Eva Shapiro, says “Drag Queen Story Hour is a wonderful addition to the New York Public Library’s early literacy programming. This…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Changing Table Poster Project

In the time after the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee met during Midwinter in Philadelphia, I had a short conversation with then-ALSC President, Starr LaTronica. She mentioned she had an idea in the middle of the night to use the space above changing tables for early learning posters with early literacy tips and fingerplays. Posters such as these could help parents and caregivers stay engaged with their children during the diaper change, and could increase the amount of words children hear. It was a great idea, and during a subsequent conversation, the committee agreed to put together some ideas that could be used for the project. We decided we’d like to use the Every Child Ready to Read practices of Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing. We continued working, coming up with some of our favorite fingerplays and creating the early literacy tips. Then, shortly before ALA’s Annual Conference…