In this TED Talk, Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington, illuminates the sophisticated reasoning that babies use to understand the world. Drawing on neurological research, she shows how babies and children master the elements of their first languages. Early childhood educators will not be surprised at the critical importance of the early years in language learning: “Babies and children are geniuses until they turn seven, and then there’s a systematic decline.”
Find lots of great tickles, rhymes, bounces and more to enhance early literacy in your baby programs in Baby Storytime Magic: Active Early Literacy through Bounces, Rhymes, Tickles, and More by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker (ALA Editions, 2014. $50.00).
by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker
ALA Editions, 2014. $50.00
Whether you’ve been presenting baby storytimes for fifteen years or fifteen minutes, you probably already know that the first five years of life are key for brain development and early literacy. Many public libraries have instituted baby and toddler programs, but finding exciting materials for baby storytime that go beyond nursery rhymes can be a challenge. Baby Storytime Magic is a treasure trove of new and exciting ideas for programs, all of which revolve around themes from a baby’s world. Inside this resource you’ll find
- Fingerplays, bounces, flannelboards, activities with props, songs, American Sign Language activities, and more, with items arranged by type of material
- Tips for planning storytimes, with advice on logistical issues such as age grouping, scheduling, formats, and physical setup
- Guidance on involving caregivers in baby storytimes, including suggested scripts for explaining the benefits of each activity and how to use it at home
- Age-appropriate book recommendations
- Information on the stages of early childhood development, plus an appendix of recommended additional resources
- A thematic index to find the right storytime quickly
- Links to full-sized, downloadable flannelboard patterns, craft patterns, and worksheets
Packed with ready-to-use activities, reducing prep time substantially, this book is a valuable early literacy tool for every children’s librarian.
Taking turns is fun to do.
First it’s me and then it’s you.
Back and forth and to and fro.
Your turn, my turn, here we go!
Literacy bit (Share this with caregivers!): “Babies and toddlers live very much in the present, so the concept of waiting for a turn is difficult for them! The back and forth nature of this bounce and the sign TAKE-TURNS both emphasize that the turn is coming. Use the sign TAKE-TURNS in everyday interactions with your child to describe and cue desired behavior.”
Look for more active fun for baby storytimes in Baby Storytime Magic: Active Early Literacy through Bounces, Rhymes, Tickles, and More by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker, coming Spring 2014 from ALA Editions.
Books in Motion: Connecting Preschoolers with Books through Art, Games, Movement, Music, Playacting, and Props by Julie Dietzel-Glair.
(Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman, 2013) $55.00. ISBN 978-1-55570-810-8. Available at http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=4059
Using a wide variety of clever activity, prop, and movement suggestions, Books in Motion offers practical suggestions for children’s librarians, teachers, and childcare providers to get kids moving during the reading of books, not just in between stories. Though this may seem a radical suggestion to some, incorporating games, scavenger hunts, and hands-on activities in the reading of stories addresses multiple intelligences and serves to engage children on many levels.
Dietzel-Glair reviews 500 picture books published since 2000, with each entry offering an annotation and detailed suggestions for activities to use while reading. The best word to describe the books chosen is “diversity” – both of well-known and lesser-known authors, and in the cultures and characters represented. Each chapter focuses on one of the categories mentioned in the subtitle, along with group management and logistical tips. Some of the suggestions derive directly from the text, such as the directions for acting out the actions of the frog in William Bee’s Beware of the Frog (Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2008), providing a good guide for storytime leaders who don’t naturally tend to movement in storytime. Many more of the suggestions, however, bring in unusual angles on the text, such as assigning motions to the refrain in Emily Gravett’s Orange Pear Apple Bear (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), playing “Pass the Peanut” during Petr Horáček’s My Elephant (Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2009) by having the kids wear socks on the hands as “trunks” and pass a peanut around the circle, or using juggling scarves as superhero capes in Bob Graham’s Max (Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2000). Best of all, many of the creative suggestions can be adapted to other stories as well. Patterns for craft activities are included in the appendix, and books are accessible by author, title, and subject index. This is a great addition to your storytime resource shelf.
Warm up those storytime fingers with this song in American Sign Language!
(to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little snowman, short and fat.
Here is my scarf and here is my hat.
When the snow is falling, come and play.
Sun comes out, I fade away.
Now watch this video to learn how to share this song in American Sign Language:
Storytime for Everyone!: Developing Young Children’s Language and Literacy by Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz (American Library Association, 2013)
Ghoting and Diaz incorporate the latest research in this resource for what they call “early literacy enhanced storytimes” – storytime programs that introduce early literacy concepts in dynamic, practical ways that engage children and parents alike, providing families with tools they can use to develop children’s language every day. The authors focus on the five components of early literacy:
- Phonological awareness
- Print conventions and awareness
- Letter knowledge
- Background knowledge
The book is divided into three sections:
“Learning It”: a summary of the latest early literacy research, explaining the components above and linking them to the “five practices” that enhance early literacy: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. This section illuminates the specific ways that these features play out in storytimes, and also provides chapters focusing on several much-needed topics: English-language learners in storytimes, the use of technology in storytimes, and the use of informational books in storytimes.
“Doing It”: This section provides guidance and samples for incorporating literacy-enhancing practices in storytimes, and especially in effective use of “asides” – comments geared to caregivers that link storytime materials and practices to the early literacy components they support.
“Making It Your Own”: Storytime tools, early literacy asides, and evaluation and assessment tools for incorporating the materials from the book into existing programs.
A valuable resource that elegantly interlaces theory and practice.
Though they’re not nearly as much fun as sharing books, songs, and literacy activities with kids, presentations to adult audiences are often a fact of life for librarians and teachers. Whether you are going to bat for library funding with your board or town council, presenting at a professional conference, or sharing curriculum information with parents, Scott Schwertly’s article, “The Best Way to Outline Your Presentation” over at the Slideshare blog will help you structure your presentation to entice and inform your audience.
by Betsy Diamant-Cohen and Melanie A. Hetrick
ALA Neal-Schuman, 2013; ISBN: 978-1-55570-805-4
Drawing on research about how children learn, Diamant-Cohen and Hetrick propose a new model for storytime: one where repetition is built into the structure of ongoing programs so that children can build on what they have learned. It sounds like a simple concept, but the key is to provide repetition in context, with enough variety to keep children engaged and allow them to approach the same material from multiple angles. Doing so helps children to make connections, build on prior knowledge, and explore multiple skills – from following directions to building vocabulary to developing understanding of science and math concepts.
In addition to explaining the scientific basis of this approach, Diamant-Cohen and Hetrick provide 8 sample program series, each centered around an anchor text that is repeated, with significant variations, in each program. Librarians who love programming by theme need not fear this approach – each program in the series brings the anchor text back in a new way, with a new theme each time. For example, Candace Fleming’s Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! appears in programs centered around planting, gardens, building, persistence, animals in gardens, and bunnies. The anchor text is incorporated into the programs in a variety of ways in addition to straight reading: flannelboard telling, creative dramatics, comparing books by the same author and illustrator, using the International Children’s Digital Library, and more. The authors also present suggested scripts for introducing the concepts surrounding the anchor text, as well as extensive suggestions for fingerplays, songs, and additional books for each program theme. Patterns for flannelboards and crafts also appear in the book.
Whether you’re a librarian who is new to the idea of an anchor text in your storytimes, or a preschool teacher who uses the concept regularly, you are sure to find lots of inspiration here!
Asynchronous eCourse beginning January 6, 2014 and continuing for 6 weeks
Estimated Hours of Learning: 30
Certificate of Completion available upon request
American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for storytime programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world.
Ideal for those without previous experience, this eCourse taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan will use readings, multimedia resources, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting. MacMillan will place ASL within a linguistic and cultural context, aiding participants in improving library services.
After completing this eCourse, participants will:
- Know and be able to use approximately 20-30 signs
- Have a basic understanding of Deaf culture and how to interact effectively with deaf patrons
- Understand multiple applications of ASL in different library contexts
- Understand how the library can use ASL as a service that ties into the broader community
To make this craft:
1) Cut out the center from a paper plate.
2) Trace and cut hands (8-10 per wreath) from green construction paper.
3) Glue the hands around the edges of the wreath. You can leave them flat, or glue down the fingers to form I-LOVE-YOU signs, numbers to count down to Christmas, or letters to spell out a name.
4) Decorate with red circle stickers (processing dots) for berries.