Tag:

early literacy

Building Great Learners Starts With Reading

“Too early” has no place in the formula when it comes to gauging the right time to begin nurturing children’s interest in reading. While introducing her daughter Aria to the wonder of words, Renee O’Brien found out how quickly that awareness and appreciation of books and language can be ignited.

O’Brien had heard about the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s Ready to Read program and decided not long after the birth of her first child to get some advice on preparing Aria to be a lifelong reader.

“I wanted to make sure she has the tools she needs in life to be a good reader, and a good learner,” O’Brien said. “So I went to the library, talked to the people there and got the information on what to do. I found out that even at a very young age, it is important to read to her and let her hear a variety of words.”

Ready to Read stresses how critical the years before kindergarten are for the development of children’s reading ability, and how the language and word skills a child is exposed to during that time period will play a significant role in how successful that child will be in school, and in life. The program promotes five activities that parents can do with their children to greatly improve their success: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.

Talk Sing Read Write Play

Ready to Read encourages parents and childcare providers to frequently talk with children in order to help them learn new words and to stimulate brain development. Singing improves a child’s capability to understand sounds within words, while reading together helps children become skilled readers. Parents are also urged to write out words to give children an understanding of letters and how they form sounds. Time for play is likewise important, as this is one of the main ways that children learn about the world.

O’Brien and her husband Kevin started introducing Aria to books when she was just four months old, and followed a plan that included frequently talking, singing and reading to her while she was in her high chair.

“At first, she paid no attention to us,” O’Brien said, “but they encouraged us to keep doing it.”

Then, somewhat magically and whimsically, Aria’s eyes lit up and the pathway for the 17-month-old to become a lifelong reader was wide open.

“Now, over the past three months she has been so interested in books,” O’Brien said. “Her doctor is very impressed with her development. She brings us the books and says: ‘read, read.’ She loves the books with pictures and words like ball and banana and gets excited when we read to her.”

Since its inception in April 2014, the Ready to Read program has provided more than 4,000 parents and childcare providers with free kits and training. In 2017, the program reached more than 6,000 parents and children. 600 families received in-depth training and a free preschool or kindergarten resource kit while another 800 received tools and tips such as the Busy Book and Kindergarten Skill Rings.

Ready to Read helped 4000 parents and 10000 children

Planting the Seed to Read

Statistics show that when they enter kindergarten, nearly two-thirds of area students do not have the fundamental skills needed to learn how to read and write. With $2 million in support from donors, the Library’s “Planting a Seed to Read” campaign was developed to address this deficiency. It is part of the Library’s overall Early Literacy Campaign which has the ambitious goal of improving the essential literacy skills of every child in the community.

“We know that in Lucas County, a lot of children are not arriving at school ready to learn and read, and that’s a big concern,” said Nancy Eames, youth services coordinator at the Library.

“One of the ways we address that is to show parents how to teach their children so those children are ready to read when they start school. Most kids won’t start reading until they are five or six, but they need a good foundation in place well before that age.”

She added that with locations in every corner of the community, the Library is able to offer support to families and get children started on building a foundation in reading.

“Parents are children’s first teachers, so their role is very important,” Eames said. “We want them talking to their children, which helps build vocabulary. Engaging in conversations that expand their world knowledge is also very valuable. Children can gain a lot when parents sing to them, since singing slows down the words and lets the child hear the syllables.”

Eames said that parents should continually expand on what they are saying so children hear a wide variety of words. When they start to read, children will more easily recognize words they have heard before.

“What we all need to do is put down our devices, and help kids build vocabulary,” Eames said. “Vocabulary is a skill we build throughout our entire lives, and the earlier we start, the more successful we will be.”

Intensive Storytimes Make Learning Fun

The Library’s “Intensive Storytimes” program is on the same mission – to increase children’s interest in books and reading, while strengthening their pre-literacy skills. Intensive Storytimes were first introduced in the fall of 2013 to eight Toledo Public Schools (TPS) Kindergarten classes and today, now serves about 40 TPS Kindergarten classes and 600 to 700 students annually.

The program also introduces students to their neighborhood Library, through the work of children’s librarians who visit the schools to present traditional storytime elements, such as reading books aloud, teaching rhyming words and singing with the children. These are facets of the dialogic reading technique which has been shown to hasten the development of early literacy aptitude, including oral language skills.

A librarian reading during Storytime

A Teacher Approved Approach

Fadia Olrich has been teaching Kindergarten for eight years, and she said her Riverside Elementary students are very excited when Children’s Librarian Maria Royuela-Tomas makes her regular visits to the classroom. Olrich said the librarians in the program work with teachers and develop themes for each week, often linking them to topics covered during the rest of the school day.

“Maria always has props or puppet shows or something that ties into the story and keeps the kids engaged the whole time,” Olrich said. “She focuses on vocabulary and character identification and my kids are always eager to participate – their hands are in the air to ask or answer questions.”

Olrich said the Intensive StoryTimes program is critically important for her students, many of whom have not been introduced to books before attending Kindergarten.

“A lot of my students aren’t even exposed to reading before they arrive here. Some had no idea what a library is, and they can’t believe it’s a place where you can go and get books,” she said. “So this program is very beneficial.”

Jim Funk, manager of institutional and community initiatives at the Library, said the goal of the Intensive StoryTimes program and the overall early literacy efforts is to have children properly prepared to learn.

“At first, we only worked with adults on improving literacy, but we realized working with children is the key to a better life for them, and for society,” he said. “The task is daunting, since so many of the children come to school not sufficiently prepared to read, but we aspire to do anything we can to help.”

The response to those efforts has been overwhelmingly positive.

All of the TPS teachers surveyed concluded that Intensive StoryTimes exposed their students to experiences that increased their pre-literacy skills. The teachers were also unanimous in their opinion that Intensive StoryTimes amplified the interest in reading in their classrooms, and helped the students build reading skills. The teachers all wanted Intensive StoryTimes to return to their classrooms.

“That’s very gratifying, because there are many different types of intervention underway, but the fact that teachers want our program back every year is a real testimony to its effectiveness,” Funk said.

A father reading to his son

Get In on the Early Literacy Action

Parents and childcare providers who have more questions or would like to request a free training may call 419.259.5253 or email readytoread@toledolibrary.org.

To support the Library’s Early Literacy Campaign, contact the Library Legacy Foundation at 419.259.5123 or email kathy.selking@toledolibrary.org.

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Take the 101 Picture Book Challenge

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is here! We’ve chosen 101 Picture Books and we want you to read them, too! The Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians chose the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

How Do You Take the 101 Picture Book Challenge?

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

Favorite Book on the 101 Picture Book Challenge List

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

My favorite book on the list is “Bark, George,” written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. The book is hilarious and has been a favorite for years! I absolutely love sharing this book with kids – probably because I get to ‘moo,’ ‘meow’ and ‘bark’ with glee. Published in the late ’90s, this beloved new classic is a perfect title for the challenge.

Also available in Read-Along Audio [Book on CD]DVDeAudio and eVideo.

Reading Beyond The 101 Picture Book List

If you like the humor in “Bark, George” by Jules Feiffer , you may also like …

Petra by Marianna Coppo - picture book

Petra” by Marianna Coppo

A little rock who believes she is a mountain has her perspective changed by a series of movements, including a dog playing fetch, a bird’s nest, a pond, and a little girl.

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker - picture book

A Visitor for Bear” by Bonny Becker

Bear is quite sure he doesn’t like visitors. He even has a sign. So when a mouse taps on his door one day, Bear tells him to leave. But when Bear goes to the cupboard to get a bowl, there is the mouse — small and gray and bright-eyed. In this slapstick tale that begs to be read aloud, all Bear wants is to eat his breakfast in peace, but the mouse — who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places — just won’t go away!

It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle - picture book

It’s a Tiger” by David LaRochelle

Kids and parents alike will rejoice in this lively read-aloud picture book, as the main character runs into (and away from) a tiger over and over again as the plot gets sillier and sillier.

Also available in Audio [Book on CD] and eBook.

Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough - picture book

Marigold Bakes a Cake” by Mike Malbrough

Marigold the cat likes everything just so, but when he sets out to bake a perfect cake one Monday, he is interrupted by one finch, two pigeons and three loons.


This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

Looking for reading, listening and viewing suggestions beyond the 101 Picture Book Challenge? We can help! Just visit us online and fill out a short form. That’s all it takes to receive personalized recommendations from our knowledgeable staff.

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Cindy V. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/take-the-101-picture-book-challenge-today.

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Good Day, Good Reads

The most jarring thing about “A Good Day,” by Kevin Henkes, is the first page, the way it begins:

“It was a bad day…”

Kind of seems like false advertising, yeah? I mean, look at the title. The title, Henkes! There were promises made!

But indeed, the first half of the book is all about characters having a real bummer of a day.

A Good Day by Kevin Henkes

But then…

Things get better. And by the end, the way they get better intersects unexpectedly with the events of the first half of the book, an elegant overlap that may satisfy fans of “This is Us” or, depending on your tastes, “Pulp Fiction.”

The plot’s overall simplicity is part of the book’s genius. Things were bad, things got better. Meaning what? Things aren’t as bad as you think they are? You should sit tight and wait for improvements to happen? Life is an unpredictable mosaic of suffering and joy? The fact that Henkes doesn’t tell you what it’s all supposed to mean is another part of the book’s genius.

Which is no surprise: writer/illustrator Henkes has a history of folding complicated emotions into deceptively simple narrative packages.

Picture Books by Kevin Henkes

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin henkes
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
Egg by Kevin Henkes
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

Above all, “A Good Day” is not so much about luck or fate or fairness – it’s about feelings. Often feelings are directly influenced by outside circumstances, and sometimes you can control the impact of outside circumstances by managing your reaction to them, but the fact remains that sometimes you’re the little yellow bird who lost his tail feather, and sometimes you’re the little brown squirrel who found the biggest nut ever, and either way, there are going to be feels.

And one of the biggest challenges about being human, at least for those of us who are somewhere roughly between the ages of 2 and 115, is confronting and controlling and understanding our feelings.  Good thing there are picture books to help us with that.

Picture Books About Feelings

I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis
Are You Scared Darth Vader by Adam Rex
I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black
Penguin Problems by Jory John
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket
I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett
Mr Particular by Jason Kirchner
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
Now by Antoinette Portis
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Grump Groan Growl by bell hooks
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge and How Do You Take It?

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

Originally posted by Eric P. at ToledoLibrary.org/Good-Day-Good-Reads

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13 Fun and Entertaining Picture Books Your Preschooler Will Adore
Picture Book Month - A Celebration!

Did you know November is Picture Book Month?

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. Join the celebration by reading a variety of picture books to the children in your life. Encourage a love of reading and support early literacy in the process.


November is Picture Book Month | What is a Picture Book? by Katie Davis – YouTube


If you’re looking for some great books to read to your child, check out the books below. Some of them (not all) are from our 101 Picture Book Challenge, which is designed to provide all children with a strong foundation of words, reading and stories to build literacy. We picked 101 of our favorite picture books and we want you to read them, too. Our list includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

Fun Picture Books to Read to Your Preschooler

These fun and entertaining picture books will definitely induce giggles in your preschooler. And don’t be surprised if they ask you to read them multiple times.

Frog on a log? / Kes Gray and Jim Field
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
If you're groovy and you know it, hug a friend! / story and performance by Eric Litwin ; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Rhyming dust bunnies / [text and illustrations by Jan Thomas]

1. Frog on a Log? by Kes Gray and Jim Field

In rhyming text, cat explains why frog has to sit on a log, even if he finds it uncomfortable.

2. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont

In the rhythm of a familiar folk song, a child cannot resist adding one more dab of paint in surprising places.

3. If You’re Groovy and You Know It, Hug a Friend! by Eric Litwin

Set to the rhythm of the classic children’s song, Groovy Joe invites the reader to laugh, sing, explore, and best of all, hug a friend.

4. Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

As three dust bunnies, Ed, Ned, and Ted, are demonstrating how much they love to rhyme, a fourth, Bob, is trying to warn them of approaching danger.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss
Me and Annie McPhee by Oliver Dunrea
Nothing rhymes with orange / Adam Rex
Billy Bloo is stuck in goo / by Jennifer Hamburg ; illustrated by Ross Burach

5. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

Kids will love this noise-filled classic from the one and only Dr. Seuss! Mr. Brown is a sound-making wonder! Encouraging imaginative play while learning to read, “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” will keep kids laughing. Combining brief and funny stories, easy words, catchy rhythm, and lively illustrations, Bright and Early Books are an ideal way to introduce the joys of reading to children.

6. Me and Annie McPhee by Olivier Dunrea

In this cumulative rhyme, a tiny island in the middle of the sea “just big enough for me and Annie McPhee,” rapidly becomes very crowded with increasingly larger groups of animals.

7. Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex

All the fruits gather together and enjoy a rhyming party, but poor Orange feels left out because he does not rhyme with anything–until Apple invents a new word.

8. Billy Bloo is Stuck in Goo by Jennifer Hamburg

Told in rhyme, a parade of characters tries to help Billy Bloo free himself from the goo, but only manages to get trapped in the goo instead.

Pigs by Robert Munsch
Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins
Ah-Choo! by Lana Wayne Koehler & Gloria G. Adams ; illustrations by Ken Min
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Rhyme crime / John Burgerman

9. Pigs by Robert Munsch

Megan is told to feed the pigs, but not to open the gate. She does of course, and the results are hilarious as the pigs help themselves to coffee and the newspaper at the breakfast table, follow Megan to school, and ride home by way of the school bus. The Overdrive Read version is especially entertaining.

10. Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Rupert the mouse wants to star in an artistic, wordless picture book, but his animal friends cause problems by talking too much.

11. Ah-Choo! by Lana Wayne Koehler & Gloria G. Adams

When a young boy decides to get a pet, he discovers it’s not as simple as ABC. Every animal he brings home makes his poor sister sneeze! Follow along on a funny, furry adventure that features animals of every size and stripe, from Antelopes and Bobolinks to Yaffles and Zebras!

12. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

The Emmy Award-winning actor best known for his performances in The Office presents a silly read-aloud book that combines a deliberately image-free format with wacky nonsense text, goofy song lyrics and more. The Overdrive Read version is fun for all ages.

13. Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman

A thief wreaks havoc by switching things out for rhyming counterparts, until he’s stumped by an unrhymable word.

Resources for Parents, Teachers and Caregivers of Young Children

Ready to Read – TLCPL

Why Picture Books Are Important by Mo Willems

Picture Book Month – National Education Association (NEA)

14 Laugh-Out-Loud Picture Books for Little Kids by Iva-Marie Palmer – Brightly

The 50 Best Books For Preschoolers – Early Childhood Education Zone

Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers by Reading Rockets

 

Originally posted by April S. on ToledoLibrary.org/blog/13-fun-and-entertaining-picture-books-your-preschooler-will-adore

 

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