Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Warm Up With a Book

Our winter reading program theme this year is "Warm Up With a Book", so I decided to make a toasty little fireplace for some of my bookish friends (Harry Potter, Huck Finn, Amelia Bedelia, Peter Rabbit, Corduroy, Curious George, and Strega Nona) to promote the program!  So cozy!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Library Halloween Party!

In a Dark, Dark Room accompanied by a BOOkmark craft 
This Saturday, I am hosting our library's Halloween party for kiddos, family, and friends.  Halloween is only my FAVORITE so I am pretty excited about it.  We will have a Spooky Storytime, Creepy Craft, and trick or treating all day (I am mostly excited about this part-- there is nothing cuter than little munchkins in costume)!

Books we will read:
Brown Bat, Brown Bat Flannel
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood by David A. Carter (pop-up book)
  • Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynbach
  • If You're a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley
Two Little Ghosties Flannel
Flannel Fun:

Brown Bat, Brown Bat, What Do You See?
(I see a yellow moon, a white ghost. a red leaf, an orange pumpkin, a green apple, and a black cat looking at me!)
Two Little Ghosties (based on Two Little Dickybirds)
Two little ghosties, looking at you!
One named "Peeka", the other named "Boo!"
Fly away Peeka, fly away Boo!
Come back Peeka, come back Boo!
For our craft, we are going to make BOOkmarks. (See what I did there?!)

Preparation for this craft was too easy.  I cut some card stock into strips, cut lengths of various ribbons, and bought a Value Pack of Halloween foam stickers from Michael's (on sale, of course!).  We tend to get a wide range of ages at our storytimes so I needed something that would be simple enough for tiny hands (cutting and pasting usually doesn't work, but stickers are great), that wasn't too "baby-ish" for the older kids.  I think this will fit the bill.

Happy Haunting, little ghosties!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Book a Day...

I must credit this pin with the idea for this display.  When I came across it, I just had to recreate it for an October/ Halloween display!

Halloween is my very favorite holiday of the year, mostly because of Halloween decor.  Okay, and candy.  And amazing/creative/hilarious costumes. And tiny babies dressed as pumpkins, dinosaurs, and ladybugs.  Animals in clothing, too.  Anyways.  I already put up the Halloween decorations at my house obscenely early, and now that it's October, library decorations are finally appropriate!

To make this display I created characters out of some of my favorite monster books-  Grover from The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone, and Big Green Monster from Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley were made by cutting and pasting construction paper.

Wild Thing of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and the perhaps lesser-known (but childhood favorite of mine) Nightmare from There's a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer were hand drawn using the library's finest sharpies and fat crayons.

I plan on displaying monster books for the month of October.  All of our Halloween books are already almost all checked out so we are going to have to get creative!

Have a spooky October, and don't forget!  A book a day keeps the monsters away!

Have You Seen This Wizard?

A very intimidating "Azkaban Face"
Banned Books Week 2015 is September 27th through October 3rd.  There's nothing in the world that is more fun than celebrating your intellectual freedom!  Besides maybe going to Harry Potter World, but I wouldn't know because I've never been (*aggressive sigh*).

For Banned Books Week, one of the events our committee put together is a Harry Potter movie marathon and party complete with games, crafts, and a photo booth.  Sadly, I am scheduled to work at my own branch and cannot attend the party but that doesn't mean I didn't get in on the FUN OF PREPARATION.

I made this photo booth (inspiration here) with a little banned books twist (the sign I'm holding, which has Sirius Black's prisoner identification number says "wanted for reading banned books").  I made the display out of poster board, a good old cardboard box, and a copious amount of shipping tape.

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is (collectively) the-most-banned-book of the 21st century, according to the American Library Association.  Witchcraft and wizardry, oh my!  Kids are always so surprised when I tell them that Harry Potter is a frequently challenged book.  They are extremely puzzled as to why someone wouldn't want them to read it.  Me too, little muggles, me too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Early Literacy Skill Set 6: Phonological Awareness

Researchers say that there are six skills that are important for children to learn before they are ready to read: Print Motivation, Print Awareness, Narrative Skills, Vocabulary, Letter Knowledge, and Phonological Awareness (Source: Every Child Ready to Read via Saroj Ghoting).  These are known as early literacy skills, sometimes referred to as emergent literacy skills.

Phonological awareness indicates an understanding of the smaller sounds (syllables) in words, which leads to being able to sound out words when children begin to read.

Many different reading activities can aid in developing phonological awareness. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Read a book with animal sounds, like Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. Animal sounds like baa, moo, and woof help children understand the smaller sounds in words since they are one syllable and are easy to repeat.
  • Sing a song like "Twinkle, Twinkle. Little Star" with your little one, or read a book that can be sung, such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani. Singing helps slow down language so that little ones can hear the smaller sounds in words. When each syllable has a different note, you are breaking down words into parts, which helps with sounding out words.
  • Read a book that encourages your child to make sounds or noises along with the story, like Down by the Station by Jessica Stockholm. Getting children engaged with participating during reading enhances early literacy skills.
  • Practice reading rhyming books, as little ones learn best by repetition. The repeated sounds will help them understand the sounds in words. Even better is a book that rhymes and has word play such as alliteration, such as Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino.
  • If you choose a book with great rhythm like Chuck's Band by Peggy Anderson, chant it rather than just reading it. Pat a drum (or just your lap) along to the beat. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Magical Books for Muggles and Wizards: Harry Potter Readalikes

Are you one of the many readers who finished the Harry Potter series and you don’t know what to read next? Good news: life goes on after you finish J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! There are many other great books out there that offer immersion into an enchanting world of magic, mystery, fantasy, and adventure. Nothing can replace the love that you have for Harry Potter, but at least you’ll have something to read while you’re waiting for your Hogwarts letter to arrive.

Magyk by Angie Sage is the first of the seven-book Septimus Heap series. Wizards, boggarts, princesses, and more lurk through the pages of this magykal book, which starts with Septimus Heap being pronounced dead at birth. If that were the truth, however, we wouldn’t have much of a story, would we? Read this book and you’ll soon find out that nothing is quite as it seems in the wizarding world of Septimus Heap.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is void of wizards, but takes readers on a magical and mythical journey to another magical school called Camp Half-Blood: a school for children of humans and mythical Greek gods. At the age of 12, Percy Jackson discovers that he is in fact a demi-god (half god and son of Poseidon), and shortly after attending Camp Half-Blood for the first time, must embark on a journey to the underworld to retrieve the god Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann follows the story of a boy named Alex, who is pronounced an “Unwanted” on his thirteenth birthday. In the land of Quill, you are either “Wanted” and are preened to become a member of the Quillitary (like Alex’s twin brother Aaron), a “Necessary” who tends to the farms of Quill, or you are an “Unwanted” and are sentenced to death. Instead of facing death, however, Alex finds that he and all of the other Unwanteds have been saved and sent to the magical land of Artimé. In Artimé, all of the other Unwanteds are being trained to use their creative talents to prepare for war.

In Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, a trip to visit their grandparent’s estate turns out to be no ordinary visit when thirteen-year-old Kendra and her eleven-year-old brother Seth enter Fablehaven, a protected area for magical creatures that is overseen by their grandfather, the Fablehaven caretaker. When Kendra and Seth break an important rule, the consequences are dire and it’s up to them to save their grandparents amidst a world of fairies, demons, witches, and imps.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud is the first book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. Like Harry Potter, Nathaniel has a rough start in life. He doesn’t live in a cupboard under the stairs, but he is sold to the government by his parents at the age of five. In this parallel modern-day London, however, Parliament is run by a group of powerful magicians and Nathaniel is the apprentice to a cruel master. Seeking revenge against his master for being mistreated and humiliated, Nathaniel delves into learning deep and powerful magic, and unleashes a dangerous and deadly force.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Early Literacy Skill Set 5: Letter Knowledge

Researchers say that there are six skills that are important for children to learn before they are ready to read: Print Motivation, Print Awareness, Narrative Skills, Vocabulary, Letter Knowledge, and Phonological Awareness (Source: Every Child Ready to Read via Saroj Ghoting).  These are known as early literacy skills, sometimes referred to as emergent literacy skills.

Having letter knowledge as an early literacy skill refers to being able to differentiate between different letters and their sounds, knowing the names of letters, and understanding that the same letter can look different (i.e. upper and lower case).  Children must have letter knowledge in order to "sound out" words by understanding that a word is broken down into letters that each have their own smaller sound.

To develop letter knowledge, an obvious first choice in literature selection would be an alphabet book such as the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and Joan Archambault or the fun and adorable LMNO Peas by Keith Baker.

To start at the beginning, however, children must know their shapes before they can understand all of the letters of the alphabet. A Q is a circle with a rectangle in it, and W is two open-topped triangles, for example.  Try reading Shape Capers by Cathryn Falwell or Circle, Square, Moose by Kelly Bingham.
Instead of just practicing the alphabet song, try singing songs with repeated refrains that include letters.  Sing and read along Rosemary Well's board book version of BINGO or Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Jane Cabrera (E-I-E-I-O!).

Another activity that you can do with children to promote letter knowledge is to have them practice writing their names.  Even if they don't understand the alphabet yet, they will start to "write" by drawing random shapes, such as circles, lines and squiggles, and this is the first step to having them understand that letters are made
up of shapes.

Check back next month for the final tip of this Early Literacy Series: Phonological Awareness! Thanks for reading!