Monday, October 28, 2013

All Hallow's Read


Sure, everyone loves to give and receive chocolate treats on Halloween, but what about giving books out to celebrate Halloween this year as well?


Find great posters to promote All Hallow's Read on the official website or around the internet. I found this adorable cat poster here!



  Neil Gaiman, beloved author of many amazing titles including 2009 Newbery- award winner "The Graveyard Book", dreamed up the idea for All Hallow's Read. What is All Hallow's Read? It is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book. Easy, right? Check out the official website, full of cool downloads and resources, here .

 You can give out new books, used books, books you have lying in your basement, comic books or  books from your local library book sale. There is no wrong way to participate in All Hallow's Read! Be sure that you give out an appropriate scary book though. The little ones may be over the moon for a spooky picture book with friendly ghosts, while the tween set may like something with a little more bite. 

 Still apprehensive about what to give out? You'll find a list of librarian recommended titles for various ages below.





For pre-schoolers and kindergarteners:
  • Ten Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino
  • Ghost in the House by  Ammi-Joan Paquette
  • Zen Ghosts by Jon Muth
  • The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey
  • Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace
  • Monster Stew by Mitra Modarressi
For 1-3 / 6-8 year olds:
  • Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet by Lisa Desimini
  • Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray & Brandon Dorman
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
  • Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt
  • The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
  •  Fluffy's Happy Halloween by Kate McMullan
  • Clifford and the Halloween Parade by Norman Bridwell
For Grades 4-6 / 8-12 year olds:
  • Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
  • The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
  • Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Deborah Howe
  • The House with a Clock in it's Walls by John Bellairs
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collected by Alvin Schwartz
  • The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
For teens:
  • Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
  • Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney
  • Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
  • Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • Any short story collection by H.P. Lovecraft or Edgar Allen Poe 

Download these awesome posters for free here!

 So what are you waiting for?  Go rummage through your bookshelves or stop at your local library book sale to pick up a spooky book to give out! You can give it to trick-or-treaters, your children or even your husband or best friend. The point is to celebrate reading books about the things that go bump in the night during this month of ghastly celebration so start incorporating All Hallow's Read into your yearly traditions as soon as possible. 




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Every Child Ready To Read~ Talking

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) is a national initiative from the American Library Association.  ECRR is a learning model to showcase skills and activities to help build literacy skills for young children.  We follow this model at the Grafton-Midview Public Library and would like to share some  activities and resources with you!  For more information on Every Child Ready to Read, here are some sites for you to peruse:
Ohio Every Child Ready to Read, Early Literacy Crosswalk offers a basic overview of what Every Child Ready to Read is all about.  They also have another site to discover the second edition of ECRR and sample activities for each skill and activity.



We don't want to overload you with information all at once, so each week we will focus on a new  activity outline in ECRR.  It seems like a no brainer that talking builds literacy skills, but it is a very important factor.  Talking helps children hear the sounds that make up words and sentences.  They can build their vocabulary and learn to use descriptive language.  By pausing for your child to respond you are giving him/her an opportunity to reflect and engage in meaningful interactions.
Reading if Fundamental has a selection of calendars for download so you can share activities with your child.  South Carolina State Library has calendars as well.  These activities are broken down by age group and are meant to be led by a parent or caregiver.  These activities run the gamut of being related to a specific book or even going on a scavenger hunt outside, but all of them can be related back to using language and verbal skills.

The online "Opinionator" section of the New York Times discusses the differing level and type of language used in homes in the article The Power of Talking. Due to parents coming from all different backgrounds and levels of education, comfort levels and access to language vary greatly.  This article discusses a study conducted by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley at the University of Kansas, who in 1995 published a book, “Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children.”  Their research helped show the impact talking does have on a child's future success:
"Children whose families were on welfare heard about 600 words per hour. Working-class children heard 1,200 words per hour, and children from professional families heard 2,100 words. By age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family."  Arming yourself with this information can help you combat the gap in language early.
The Texas Children's Hospital has a blog post where they speak about creating opportunities to engage your young ones in conversation.   So much of your time parenting young children can be spent redirecting them, it may feel that you don't have a chance to have conversations beyond "Stop that," or "Get down!"  By retraining yourself to narrate your actions and the environment around you, you can build language and dialogue.  Parents magazine also speaks to the power of speaking with your baby in an online article, "Help Your Baby Learn to Talk".   By pausing for your baby to respond, even before they can talk back, you are creating an avenue of sharing and showing your baby that what they have to say is important. 
Another option for opening the doors to two-way communication early if signing with your young ones.  Babycenter.com has a great article on the benefits of signing as a form of talking with your baby or toddler before they can speak.  Building a stronger bond, reducing frustration, and helping to build motor skills are just a few of the ways talking and signing with your child can help.  If you feel that most of what you say goes in one ear and out the other, The Child Development Institute has a list of 20 Ways to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen

Some simple ways to begin encouraging talking would be to share books!  Even though readers are typically hearing stories, the way you present and share the content can allow for a back and forth.  Mo Willems does a great job allowing for responses from kids within his stories. Using wordless books, or books with only picture or very minimal text, would allow for children to use their language skills to create their very own stories. Wordless books also teach children how to construct a story using a beginning, middle, and an end.  David Wiesner has many titles that would qualify as wordless books.  One of my favorite wordless books is Chalk by Bill Thomson.  Books with only images and word labels help build language skills when you use adjectives to describe them and discuss when these objects are used or where they are typically found.  Do you have any favorite activities to get your kiddos talking?


Monday, October 21, 2013

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying is discussed frequently in the news and is a serious issue that families should not only be aware of but discuss at home.  Did you know that October is bullying prevention month? This entire month is devoted to encouraging bullying awareness, understanding why it may happen and working together to try and stop bullying. What better time to talk about bullying with your family? 



 Before we can help to prevent bullying we need to understand it.  Stopbullying.gov provides many helpful pages to understand this problem. They have many resources for educators parents and community members alike. You can learn about what bullying is and find definitions here.
Another good resource is Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center website. You can find plenty of information and facts about bullying on their site here
 

An important factor to consider when discussing bullying is that this is an issue involving self-esteem. What exactly is self-esteem? Read pyschologytoday.com's definition. Not only does bullying negatively affect the victims, but often the bully is suffering from low self-esteem as well. 

A major problem today that must addressed when tackling the difficult topic of how to stop bullying is that of cyberbullying. In our technology-saturated society we are constantly connected to each other through social networking and this makes it so much easier to bully anyone and everyone safely from your home, hidden behind your computer screen or smart phone. According to Stopcyberbullying.org, "Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones." Visit their website for helpful resources and information. Research, victim stories and parent resources can be found at cyberbullying.us.

Teaching children about digital citizenship is one way to combat cyberbullying. Digitalcitizenship.net states, "Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use." Commonsensemedia.org provides helpful advice for parents on how to teach digital citizenship as well as standing up to cyberbullying. Check out these 10 guidelines for digital citizenship created by a librarian



What can you do to help prevent bullying and raise awareness? There are a plethora of great websites that provide helpful resources, tips and initiatives aimed at stopping bullying. Making yourself aware of the issue and helping to educate others is the first step to stopping bullying in your community and around the country.

 Choosekind.tumblr.com is devoted to promoting kindness and empathy amongst youth. The initiative is inspired by the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, a book about a boy born with a facial deformity who wants only to be treated like a normal kid by his classmates. You can sign a pledge to "Choose Kind". Many students have already signed the pledge and the Tumblr page has many pictures and videos of students around the country reading the book in the classroom and helping to inspire kindness.




You can find many handouts and flyers about bullying prevention from Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center here. You can also add your name to Pacer's digital petition to say "The End of Bullying Begins with Me". You can even print out a petition to take and display at your local schools to help spread the word. The National Education Association provides a bullying prevention kit. Stompoutbullying.org provides a student participation toolkit. You can find petitions and read about students helping at their schools as "Bully Busters" at dosomething.org.  Finally, you can find various resources and useful websites at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's website, many of which are organized by ages and profession for adults.

You can make a difference in a fellow students or child's life. Be sure to talk about the importance of bullying prevention with a friend or neighbor today and spread the word about Bullying Prevention Month. Your local librarians are always glad to help provide further resources on bullying. Stop in today to check out a book from our Bullying Prevention Month display. Just one caring adult can make all the difference.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fortunately, the Milk


 Can a container of milk save the entire universe? Sounds unlikely, but you never know what is possible when the wonderful Neil Gaiman is in control. If you read his newest children's novel, Fortunately, the Milk, you may be surprised to discover the sort of heroic feats one can accomplish with a container of milk.



The whimsical story begins with a fairly typical uninspiring conundrum, there is no milk for the children to eat their breakfast cereal or for Dad to have with his tea. Mom is out of town for the week on a work trip leaving Dad in charge of the house and family and he has forgotten to pick up more milk. Dad leaves his two children staring at their bowls of dry cereal to quickly pick up some milk. Time goes by, "ages" according to the children, until Dad finally returns home with the milk in hand. The children ask what took him so long, curious whether he was held up chatting with a friend at the market. Indeed, he said hello to a friend, but that was not what held him up. He was held up due to his run-in with various crazed snot aliens obsessed with redecorating the Earth. To escape, he had to use the emergency exit through the space-time continuum door, which only led to more dangerous encounters. Reader, are you enticed yet?!

Upon entering the emergency exit, he is dropped into the ocean only to be scooped up by the Queen of Pirates and her crew. He is saved by a genius stegosaurus in a hot air balloon time machine, or a "Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier" as Professor Steg calls it. Dad travels through space and time with the amazing dinosaur, clutching his container of milk the entire time. The two of them meet many other raucous, unfriendly characters along the way and eventually must face off with the disgustingly drippy aliens once again. Aliens who are bent on replacing the Earth's trees with plastic pink flamingos I must add.  



The story is a great, short read filled to the brim with hilarious scenes and unlikely creatures (ahem, enter dinosaur police force). I laughed and giggled out loud at many passages and the book is filled with Gaiman's signature humor. The illustrations by Young are equally impressive and lend a further lightheartedness to this slightly absurd story. This is a good middle grade pick for readers who may not be drawn to Gaiman's other wonderful, but significantly darker, tales. Fortunately, the Milk would be a splendid reading option for adventure, fantasy and science fiction fans alike. What better way to spend a rainy October afternoon then traveling through time with a genius stegosaurus in a hot air balloon?


Gaiman, Neil. Fortunately, the Milk. Illustrated by Skottie Young. 114 p. Harper. 2013.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Every Child Ready to Read~ Singing

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) is a national initiative from the American Library Association.  ECRR is a learning model to showcase skills and activities to help build literacy skills for young children.  We follow this model at the Grafton-Midview Public Library and would like to share some  activities and resources with you!  For more information on Every Child Ready to Read, here are some sites for you to peruse:
Ohio Every Child Ready to Read, Early Literacy Crosswalk offers a basic overview of what Every Child Ready to Read is all about.  They also have another site to discover the second edition of ECRR and sample activities for each skill and activity.


We don't want to overload you with information all at once, so each week we will focus on a new  activity outline in ECRR.  This week we wanted to share some resources for bringing music alive. Singing is an excellent way for children to hear the sounds that letters make.  When we sing, we naturally break up the words and slow down.  We also hear new words and learn new vocabulary when we sing.

A wonderful resource for songs and rhymes is the StoryBlocks site, a project of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy.  The site offers an assortment of videos or parents and their children acting out songs and lap bounces, while offering up a literacy tip.  The King County Library System has put together an incredible selection of youtube videos of songs and rhymes to share.  The Association for Library Service to Children has a nice variety of songs and rhymes to share with young children. Kidz in Tune has a ten-page list of songs and activities that are appropriate for different age levels.  New York's Wadsworth Library created a handout for their books and babies program with songs and their movements.  A favorite site of mine is the Idaho Commission for Libraries' Day by Day site.  Each day of the year has a selection of songs, videos, rhymes, and books to share.   

 
Finding books you can set to music is another way to get kids to hear the sounds that words make.  I like to share Lindsey Craig's Farmyard Beat with rhythm sticks.  Sue Williams' I Went Walking lends itself well to being sung.


Jim Gill and Raffi are amazing educators and music men that have a great variety of songs that get the whole family involved.  Check out our collection of music today at GMPL. We also offer a variety of programming for young children that gets participants moving to the music.  Lap bounces and songs are a fantastic way to bond while building literacy skills. Do you have a favorite activity that gets you jammin'?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Every Child Ready to Read ~ Writing

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) is a national initiative from the American Library Association.  ECRR is a learning model to showcase skills and activities to help build literacy skills for young children.  We follow this model at the Grafton-Midview Public Library and would like to share some  activities and resources with you!  For more information on Every Child Ready to Read, here are some sites for you to peruse:
Ohio Every Child Ready to Read, Early Literacy Crosswalk offers a basic overview of what Every Child Ready to Read is all about.  They also have another site to discover the second edition of ECRR and sample activities for each skill and activity.

photo from www.lakeshorelearning.com
We don't want to overload you with information all at once, so each week we will focus on a new  activity outline in ECRR.  This week we will focus on the skill of writing.  Writing at this stage may not actually look like what we would consider writing, but they are grasping the initial skills that words and letters have meaning, or print awareness. Follow The Line books by Laura Ljungkvist each include a continuous line for readers to trace throughout the entire book. 
 
Check out any of the 'Follow The Line' books from GMPL!
Any activity to build fine motor skills is going to help children ease into writing.  Using clothes pins or stickers, learning to turn pages, grasping and sorting objects, bending pipe cleaners, and painting or coloring are all great ways to build fine motor skills.  For a sample of more activities, check out Love, Play, and Learn's list.  Playing with play-doh is another great way to work those little muscles in their hands.  Click here for a quick, easy, and cheap recipe to make your own at home. To practice writing and tracing, Twisty Noodle and the Writing Wizard offer printable pages that you can customize to make a unique writing experience for your child.
Tracing books let kids learn the shapes letters make.

Playing 'I Spy' may seem like a stretch when it comes to building writing skills, but looking for  shapes and pictures isn't much different than seeing letters.  To a beginner letters are just another shape to memorize.  No Time For Flash Cards offers a list of alphabet books and alphabet activities that can help children distinguish letters and their sounds. 

Pick out an 'I Spy' book today to help your child see shapes.

Dare to Dream is a poetry writing contest that happens annually for students in grades 3 through 8.  The poems submitted should be biographical about someone who has made a difference through taking action.  What a neat way to get kids involved with writing!  Book Week Online has provided several different writing prompts, authored by famous writers.  Kids can complete the prompts with their original ideas.  How fun would it be to try them all and make a book?  What activities do you do to build writing skills?  We would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Every Child Ready to Read ~ Play!

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) is a national initiative from the American Library Association.  ECRR is a learning model to showcase skills and activities to help build literacy skills for young children.  We follow this model at the Grafton-Midview Public Library and would like to share some  activities and resources with you!  For more information on Every Child Ready to Read, here are some sites for you to peruse:
Ohio Every Child Ready to Read, Early Literacy Crosswalk offers a basic overview of what Every Child Ready to Read is all about.  They also have another site to discover the second edition of ECRR and sample activities for each skill and activity.

We don't want to overload you with information all at once, so each week we will focus on a new  activity outlined in ECRR.  Because we recently purchased literacy kits and assorted toys from Lakeshore Learning, we thought it would be a perfect time to showcase the importance of playing to learn.

Books with interactive elements get children involved in reading and make it more like a game.
 When children play they are using many skills that they need to develop literacy skills.  When children play with others they are learning new vocabulary.  Kids are using their imaginations to problem solve and use symbolism, such as when a stick becomes a magic wand.  Symbolism is an important skill because it helps them eventually learn that letters and words can stand for stories and feelings. We currently have 15 literacy kits available for check-out that come with many hands-on manipulatives and activities.  Each kit comes with 5 books on the theme of the box and an activity guide so you can play together with ease.  

photo from www.lakeshorelearning.com
 When children are building with blocks they are learning and practicing spatial skills, balance,  problem solving, and creativity.  

photo from www.lakeshorelearning.com
 When using imaginary and dramatic play, such as with a doll house, children are learning to express themselves.  Dramatic play can help children work out tricky situations or emotions they are dealing with. 
photo from www.lakeshorelearning.com


We have several sites we visit for inspiration for playing with our young friends.  Growing a Jeweled Rose shares a ton of ideas for sensory play, or playing that appeals to your senses.  She showcases scented play-doh, different themed baths, or just bins of goop for kids to touch and feel.  So many of her creations are brightly colored or scented, appealing to many of the senses beyond just sight.  Modern Parents, Messy Kids has an entire make and play vault of ideas!  This site really appeals to us because the ideas get kids outside and involved with nature.  The ideas for play shared on this site are broken down into types of play including, but not limited to, dramatic play, sensory play, and even arts and crafts.  No Time For Flash Cards is another site with tons of ideas for dramatic play, cooking activities, and fine and gross motor play.  If you're unsure of how to play with your baby, check out Today's Parent for ideas on baby games.
Stop by GMPL for the next four Wednesday evenings for our Explore the Floor program.  You'll get a chance to play with our awesome toys and practice these skills together with Miss Kristen!  Email gmplkids@gmail.com to register.