Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Singing, the Science of Reading and Cultural Connections: A Conversation with Musicians/Educators Alina Celeste and Mi Amigo Hamlet

I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with award-winning, internationally-touring family musicians and teaching artists Alina Celeste and Mi Amigo Hamlet for a variety of bilingual music-based library programs focused on supporting early literacy skills and exploring a joyous blend of traditional and original songs and new interpretations of folktales in English and Spanish. Our conversation in this blog post discusses the intersections of singing, the science of reading, and the cultural connections that come from sharing songs and stories. 

Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Baby Storytime Songs

Baby storytime is my FAVORITE! Baby storytime songs have been on my mind lately because storytimes just started up again for the season. Generally, I stick to a few favorite songs because repetition is so important for the littles. Repetition also helps the adults learn the songs and they are more likely to join in if they know the songs well. Occasionally, I add a new song if there is a fun theme for the week. Songs can create a structure in storytime which helps them know what to expect. Having a starting song or two and a few songs in between books is a great place to start. Singing is also one of the five early literacy practices! It helps slow down language and often has different notes for each syllable. I think songs are just as important as books in storytime, especially for babies and toddlers.

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Singing Brings Connections

Before I was born, my mom was a kindergarten teacher. When I was young, I remember her waking me up most mornings by singing “Good morning to you… good morning to you. We’re all in our places with sunshiny faces. Good morning to you… good morning to you.”  When I started my career as a Children’s Librarian, I decided to begin each storytime with this same song. It gave me a sense of familiarity and comfort in those early days of nervous storytime presentations.  In the subsequent months I began to notice the audience swaying back and forth as I sang, and it was only then that I realized I swayed as I sang too. It was our shared ritual- the singing, the swaying, the pointing at our “sunshiny” cheeks. Something we all looked forward to each week. I remember parents telling me how their child would “play” storytime at…

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…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Dance Parties are Fun-and Important!

Yesterday I hosted a Bibliobop Dance Party at my library. I started Bibliobop (our baby/toddler/preschooler dance party) about four years ago. The program includes lots of music and movement, reading books about dancing and music and lots of fun. We use shaker eggs, instruments, parachutes, and scarves. Biblibop is hosted on Saturday mornings once every few months. This Fall, I also started a program called Preschool Wiggleworms, which is another music and movement program. The weekly programs are a bit more themed (we talk about certain types of dance or themes each week) but the general idea is similar to Biblibop. We dance, move, and have fun. My mom is a music teacher, so I grew up surrounded by the arts. Singing and dancing were regular parts of my life. But the more I do these creative movement programs, the more I realize this is an aspect of early literacy that…