Sunday, June 27, 2010

This Week at the Library

Yes, the tadpoles stayed home this week. They're really hard to transport in the car, and I had a lot of running around to do before heading to the library, so I left them at home. They don't have legs yet anyway. Actually, I'm a little worried about them. It seems like every day there are fewer and fewer, but the strange thing is, I never see any dead ones. They just disappear. Hopefully a few will make it to froggy-hood.

Preschool Storytime

This week the theme was "Cows." We got to make lots of farm animal noises along the way.

We read:

Too Many Pears, by Jackie French. Belinda just loves pears, so to get her to stop eating so many, they let her eat all she wants. Now she likes apples.
Daisy the Firecow, by Viki Woodworth. Hey, Daisy has black spots, so why can't an adventure loving cow be the fire station mascot?
Does a Cow Say Boo?, by Judy Hindley. This is where we got to make lots of noises!
Herd of Cows! Flock of Sheep!, by Rick Walton. Oh, the drama! How will the animals save the farmer from floating over the waterfall?!

I did a very simple flannelboard story called "Hungry Farm Animals."

Toddler Time

I introduced a new little song to the kids that you adults may have learned when you were at summer camp. I don't know what it's supposed to be called, so I'll just call it "Once There Was a King".

Oh once there was a king.
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when you're up you're up.
And when you're down you're down.
And when you're in between
You're neither up now down.

With the preschoolers, I also did it the fun way where you do movements opposite to the words. So when you sing "up," you squat down, and when you sing "down," you stand up.

The books I read were:

How Many Bugs in a Box, by David Carter. The kids LOVE this one!
Peek-a-Moo!, by Marie Cimarusti. It's not easy to say "Peek-a-Cocka-Doodle-Doo!"

Baby Time

The bubble machine is humming along again and it's so much fun to see the babies who have been coming for a while get so excited when the bubbles start flying. They wave their arms, kick their feet and bounce on their bottoms with huge smiles on their faces. I love it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why Do You Sing So Slow?

You might have noticed that when I sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," or "If You're Happy and You Know It," I sing it way slower than you normally would. That's on purpose! Our little ones are trying to learn the sequence of the song and match their movements to the words. It's a pretty complicated task for them. Their brains aren't as fully wired as yours, so remembering the words and movements together happens a little more slowly. We want them to feel successful in their attempts, so it's important to slow down and give them a chance to do the movements along with me. Imagine joining a Zumba or Jazzercise class where you're expected to sing the songs too - in a foreign language! You'd probably want them to slow down! It's kinda like that for our toddlers. We'll cut them some slack.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Exciting News!

I've received an offer from Scholastic Professional for my book And Then...Cliffhanger Stories to Ignite the Imagination. I don't have many details yet, but I'm excited that my dream is becoming a reality!

On August 7 I'll be at the Relay for Life at Sherwood High where I'll share some of these stories with the audience and we'll do some storytelling together!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Week at the Library

(Insert complaint about the weather here.)

Now that we have that taken care of, we can get back to business.

Preschool Storytime

"Bathtime" was our theme this week. We read:

Huggly Takes a Bath, by Tedd Arnold. This author is such a master! Huggly is the monster under the bed, and he explores the bathroom looking for snacks (toothpaste, soap) and plays in the slime pit (the bathtub) with the magic slime (bubble bath, shampoo, etc.). Very cute.
Bubble Bath Pirates, byJarrett Krosoczka. Two boys play pirates while Mom gives them a bath. The favorite part is where the boy runs off and leaves his towel in Mom's hands.
Dad's Car Wash, by Harry A. Sutherland. A boy and his dad pretend he's a car in a car wash while he takes a bath.
I Don't Want to Take a Bath!, by Julie Sykes. Little Tiger plays with all his friends and gets dirtier and dirtier, but refuses to take a bath.

I told the story "The Bath" on the flannelboard and we played a guessing game with the pieces. The kids closed their eyes while I removed a piece, then they tried to guess what was missing. Lots of fun!

Toddler Time

Well, since I had the bubble machine out for the preschoolers, I thought I'd give it a try with the toddlers. I had replaced the batteries so it made TONS of bubbles, and I figured if I spread the kids out and made lots of bubbles all over the space, it would be okay. It was fine on Tuesday, but Wednesday's group was huge, kids collided, tears were shed, and I don't think I'll do that again with a group so big. Too bad.

We read a couple of Eric Carle favorites - The Very Busy Spider, and From Head to Toe. I love books that get the kids up and moving. And I love how most of Eric Carle's books use a repeated sentence for the kids to master. "She was very busy spinning her web." "I can do it!" They really love it.

Baby Time

It's so much fun to see babies interact with each other. They're always fascinated. Even though they don't appear to be playing with each other, time spent with other babies is very important to their social development.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer at Storytime

This summer I'll be keeping the regular schedule of Storytime, Toddler Time and Baby Time. I know that many of you have school age kids and you'd like to bring them along so your little one can keep coming to the program.

At Preschool Storytime, I love having the school age kids come. It's the only time I get to see some of my old friends who have "graduated." There's plenty of room for everyone.

At Toddler Time, space becomes an issue. As usual, four and five-year-olds can sit by the adults and do all the activities the toddlers do, just staying on the outside of the circle. I'm asking that six-year-olds and up to sit in the chairs and read a book, or sit at the side tables and draw or color, so we can keep room in the circle for parents and toddlers.

Baby Time isn't a problem for older kids. There's room for them to sit with Mom or play with the "Big Kid Blocks," or hang out in the chairs.

So please keep coming even though your older kids are home, just plan ahead so it stays comfortable for our little ones.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This Week at the Library

Like my new look? Blogger came out with some new stuff and I got really excited when I saw this new background. Wish I could figure out a way to put my favorite titles on those books!

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Dragons" this week. I had fun with the storyprop for Purple Hair? I Don't Care by Diane Young. I love the message (that probably only the parents get) of loving your baby no matter how he/she comes out.

We also read:

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent. Another great message for the adults, that ignoring an issue only makes it grow, but kids think this story is pretty funny.
The Best Pet of All, by David LaRochelle. A boy convinces his mom that a dog is the best pet by having a misbehaving dragon move in for a while.
The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch. I love the twist on the "prince rescues the princess from the dragon" story. Here, the princess rescues the prince, who tells her to go away and come back when she's cleaned up. She calls him a bum, and they don't get married after all. Pretty funny!
The Dragon's Cold, by John Talbot. I like the way the children are brave, resourceful and compassionate in this story. And they even convince the adults that there's nothing to be afraid of!

I showed the kids the pictures in a book called Where Did All the Dragons Go?, by Fay Robinson. The pictures are incredible, but the story is a little too slow for Storytime.

Toddler Time

Once again, I recommend coming at 9:30 on Tuesdays instead of 10:15. We had about a dozen kids at 9:30 last week, and over 40 at 10:15. Wednesday at 11:30 is the next smallest, so that's a good option too.

The stories were:

Cat's Colors, by Jane Cabrera. Oh the suspense!! Which color is Cat's favorite?
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. This book is so fun! Pop-ups are always a hit, but I love the repeating phrase "I sent him back!" The little ones who can barely say three words together are encouraged to try such a simple sentence. I see the looks of satisfied accomplishment when they figure it out. It's also cute to see how emphatic they are.

Baby Time

Keep recommending Baby Time to your friends with babies! There's plenty of room. It's kind of funny how one week we'll have to scoot to make room for everyone, then the next week we only have three! I guess it's the nature of having a baby - you never know how your day is going to go.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Learning to Read

The foundation for learning to read begins way earlier than most people realize. It's not just learning the ABC song, and it's not just learning to recognize letters. It starts way back when you hold your baby on your lap and read the first little board book out loud. Babies learn that books have pages that turn, and pictures that are different on each page, and that when you use this book, you always hear this story, but when you hear that book, you hear that story. Next comes print awareness, knowing that print has meaning, and the same print always has the same meaning. They may recognize the word "McDonald's" even though they don't understand how to sound out the letters.

I think many children can begin to read on their own well before kindergarten. Of course, it's also like learning to ride a bike - for some it just clicks way before others. But there's no need to wait for kindergarten to start teaching your child the basics, just like you don't need to wait 'til the magic age of five, or six to try to teach your child to ride a bike.

One of the best ways (in my phonics-biased opinion) is to get a very simple alphabet book, one that shows just the letter, a picture, and maybe the word. And make sure the word represents the main sound of the letter, not something like "owl" for "O". (My one big complaint about my blue alphabet rugs.) Read the book aloud by saying "A says a like apple. B says b like ball. C says c like cow." Read it over and over and over. I found a great alphabet book like that when Lauren was about 15 months old. She fixated on that book, and I didn't really understand why until I saw her looking at a book (not the alphabet book) and pointing at a word, saying "f". I looked at her book, and sure enough, she was pointing at the letter f. I quizzed her and she knew lots of letters. She knew the whole alphabet by the time she was 17 months old, and I definitely credit that alphabet book. Something just clicked with her, like a child learning to ride a bike at 4. I do believe, though, that kids are capable of getting started way before kindergarten, even before preschool. You are your child's first and best teacher!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cruisin' Sherwood

I hope to see my friends at Cruisin' Sherwood next Saturday. I'll be in the kids' area from 2:30 to 4:00 reading stories about cars and transportation. Come say hi and listen to a few good books!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This Week at the Rainy Library

Today I visited my garden and was surprised to see peonies, roses and some budding lilies. Then I remembered, Oh yeah, it's June! Mentally, I'm stuck in early April because of this CRUMMY WEATHER!

So we'll just gather at the library and have fun there!

Preschool Storytime

This week we read stories about birds.

Pepito the Brave, by Scott Beck. Pepito is afraid of heights, so to get to his new home, he runs, hops, swims, burrows and climbs. His brothers and sisters are so impressed, they know he must be brave enough to fly. So he does!
Pelican, by Brian Wildsmith. Paul hatches a pelican egg and must try to teach it how to fish before his father loses his patience. The alternating half-pages make this book particularly visually appealing. In the end we discover the secret the pelican had known all along. He was a girl!
Beaks, by Sneed Collard. This nonfiction book has great illustrations about how and why birds' beaks have different shapes.
Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. Most of the kids didn't believe penguins were birds! I LOVE telling this story! The sweetness of Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly and Perfect. The silliness of Tacky - CANNONBALL!! And the rough and tough hunters. So much fun!

I told the flannelboard story of Inch by Inch, by Leo Leonni. After measuring lots of different birds, the poor inchworm has to figure out how to measure the nightingale's song before he gets eaten for breakfast!

Toddler Time

I love how there's something new and surprising with our little ones every week. The last week or so one little boy has decided to throw himself on the floor in despair every time I finish a book and put it away. Another little boy makes a beeline for his friend every time his mom lets go of him so he can body slam him to the carpet. Do we know what's going through their minds? No. But I hope it doesn't bother you, because it doesn't bother me. It's just part of being a toddler. We teach, we remove, we remind and remind again, and we tell ourselves, "This too shall pass." It's only a phase. I've never seen a ten-year-old cry over the ending of a book. And I don't think the body slamming will be going on six months from now (wait for the teenage years for that to start up again).

Our books this week were:

Machines at Work, by Byron Barton. This is a great book to challenge your child's reasoning. When the workers knock down a building and bulldoze a tree, ask "Why did they do that?" Wait for your child's reponse. Let them think a while.
Little Gorilla, by Ruth Bornstein. Little gorilla is still loved by everyone, even after he grows up.

Baby Time

Today we had quite a few older siblings along (and some cousins) and it went very well! We put some toys off to the side, and handed out stuffed animals to be used as substitute babies, and everyone had a great time. We read an adorable lift-the-flap touchy feely book called Eyes, Nose, Toes Peekaboo!, by DK Publishing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our Passionate Children

I know people call them the "Terrible Twos," but I love this age. The world is a magical place to them, and they are so joyful about discovering new things. Imagine, you walk into a small room, the doors close behind you, and when they open again, you're in a whole new place! Magic! (No, just an elevator.)

This is also the time of passionate feelings, intense and sometimes uncontrollable, made all the more so by the inability to express them in words. We can help with this. These little ones are acquiring words incredibly rapidly. I've read statistics that say a typical 18 month old knows eight to ten words, and by 36 months knows 1,000. Phenomenal! This is obviously a time when we can help them match words to these feelings. When your toddler wants something she can't have and throws herself on the ground in hysterics, tell her "I know this makes you feel frustrated and angry, but I want to be a good mommy so I can't let you have a doughnut instead of lunch." When your little guy thought he was going to the park, but it started to rain and he cried, tell him "You must feel so disappointed. We'll go after it stops raining."

When your toddler has heard these words repeated many times, you can ask her/him next time these intense feelings crop up, "Are you feeling mad? Are you disappointed?" And your child will feel better knowing he/she can communicate those feelings.