Author Archive for Karen Gordon



Language and Literacy Skills Start Early: Before Birth!

by Karen Gordon on January 31st, 2019

Families are faced with many changes after baby arrives, but implementing a daily reading routine doesn’t need to be one of them.

Today the Iowa City Public Library launches a new program – Belly Baby Reads – to help growing families encourage literacy. While many early literacy programs focus on children after they’re born,  Belly Baby Reads fosters literacy before a child’s arrival by focusing on the expecting family.

hello baby animalsThe library’s Belly Baby Reads program encourages families to develop a reading routine before baby arrives, empowering caregivers to become more confident as a child’s first teachers. By encouraging expecting families to do 50 “read alouds”  before baby arrives, parents become more comfortable reading aloud, siblings can practice their literacy skills, and families can build a routine around reading, creating a bonding experience that sets the tone and expectation that reading is important and valued at home. Families will receive a black and white board book upon registering, and when they finish 50 “read alouds.”

Belly Baby Reads is the perfect tie-in to Iowa City Public Library’s 1,000 BooksHello Animals Before Kindergarten that was started in 2016 with a generous grant from Pearson. Once families complete Belly Babies Reads, their new baby will be signed up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.

Visit www.icpl.org/kids and click on the Belly Babies link to register or find more information, or register at the Children’s Desk.

Belly Babies Reads was inspired by the Stork Storytime programming created by Jennifer Jordebrek and developed in collaboration with the North Liberty Community Library.”

Books and Music Benefits Child’s Brain Development

by Karen Gordon on January 11th, 2019

Singing – is one of the Five Early Literacy Practices, and preschoolers, toddlers, and babies love to sing! We Children’s librarians love to sing in all our storytimes! We encourage parents to sing with their children and remind parents that kids don’t care how their parents sound, they love their parent’s voices, so sing! And, not only are songs fun, but they also serve as a learning tool for children as they reinforce early childhood concepts.

Singing is a natural way to learn about language and helps children develop listening skills and pay attention to the rhymes and rhythms in spoken language. Picture books can be read by being sung. I like to model singing picture books in Book Babies whenever I can.

I also sing books with toddlers and preschoolers during my outreach visits.  I’ve noticed that when I sing using a book, it has a wonderful way of focusing and calming kids down. Sing songs more than once, because children learn by repetition. Singing with children helps them to hear different parts of words, slows language down so they notice how syllables are alike and different, and songs help boost vocabulary and general knowledge. Here are several books to share with your little ones. Check them out and have fun singing!

 

One of my favorite illustrators is Tim Hopgood. Tim’s bright and colorful pictures make these songs come alive. If you never knew the lyrics to these songs, here’s your chance and guaranteed to get stuck in your head.

Here’s a list of books you can sing along to.

Belly Babies at the Iowa City Public Library!

by Karen Gordon on November 2nd, 2017

Parents who are expecting the pitter-patter of little feet are invited to the Iowa City Public Library’s Belly Babies.bellybabies-logo

This is a pre-birth class held in the Children’s Storytime Room each Saturday afternoon from 3-4 pm.

The topic this Saturday, November 4, 3 to 4 p.m.: Staying Fit & Fabulous, with certified yoga teacher Jenna Gibbs.

Join certified prenatal yoga teacher and University of Iowa College of Public Health researcher, Jenna Gibbs, as she discusses creative ways to stay active despite appetite changes, discomfort, & fatigue throughout all stages of pregnancy. Jenna is a mom to 2 month old Gracie, and teaches yoga at the University of Iowa and Downward Dog Yoga in Coralville.

Families at any stage are welcome, whether it’s your first or later child!

Belly Babies! Bond With Your Bump!

by Karen Gordon on October 19th, 2017

Parents who are expecting the pitter-patter of little feet are invited to the Iowa City Public Library’s Belly Babies.bellybabies-logo

This is a pre-birth class held in the Children’s Storytime Room each Saturday afternoon from 3-4 pm. You’ll learn early literacy tips, songs, and rhymes. Community guests will share helpful information. Our goal is to help you build a community of support, prepare you right from the start.

This Saturday’s topic, October 21, is: What to Expect When Baby is Born?  Join Felicia Wagner, RN and Doula as she discusses postpartum mood disorders, the signs to look for, and how partners, friends and family can help.

Families at any stage are welcome, whether it’s your first or later child!

Belly Babies at the Iowa City Public Library!

by Karen Gordon on October 10th, 2017

Parents who are expecting the pitter-patter of little feet are invited to the Iowa City Public Library’s Belly Babies.bellybabies-logo

This is a pre-birth class held in the Children’s Storytime Room each Saturday afternoon from 3-4 pm. You’ll learn early literacy tips, songs, and rhymes. Community guests will share helpful information. Our goal is to help you build a community of support, prepare you right from the start.

The topic this Saturday, October 14, 3 to 4 p.m.: Finding a Balance with a Baby with Helen Kudos, MSW, LSW, of Eastwind Healing. Helen will share tips and best practices about keeping the lines of communication open and finding balance during this unpredictable time.

Families at any stage are welcome, whether it’s your first or later child!

Effective Ways to Talk to Kids so Kids Will Listen

by Karen Gordon on February 15th, 2017

I babysit my 3 year old grandson on Thursdays. He’s a good kid and he’s lucky that communication and parenting are loving and consistent in his home.

Theo and Mimi "Date" at the Children's Museum

Theo and Mimi “Date” at the Children’s Museum.

Many times we have “Grandma dates.”  Like all kids, Theo likes to test me: can he have chocolate? Can he stay up late or watch more TV?   Well, I think it’s a really important to respect mommy and daddy’s routine. However, he IS with grandma and well, it is grandma time! So every once in a while we do things out of mom and dad’s routine, and sometimes behavior issues will arise. I like to communicate clearly and fairly while encouraging Theo to do the things I would like him to do, not the things I don’t want him to do. How do I deal with behavior struggles in a positive way?

Here is a list of books worth reading. These books are practical and inspiring reads which changed the way I relate to Theo so I can become the grandparent I always wanted to be. These titles I recommend to parents, teachers, librarians, and grandparents, or anyone who works with children.

Parents need to start positive communication techniques sooner rather than later. And by the way, these same methods and techniques enhance communication between adults in all aspects of life.

easy-to-love Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The Seven Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation by Becky A. Bailey. Learn how to stop policing and pleading and become the parent you want to be.

You love your children, but if you’re like most parents, you don’t always love their behavior. But how can you guide them without resorting to less-than-optimal behavior yourself? Dr. Becky Bailey’s unusual and powerful approach to parenting has made thousands of families happier and healthier.

how-to-be-the-parent-you-alwaysHow to Be the Parent You Always Wanted to Be by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. This helpful little book under 100 pages, also has a CD so you can listen to simple principles that I was able to start right away. This method helps raise kids who are compassionate, caring feelings or others (because they have never been denied their feelings) considerate, respectful and able to make the right decision.

how-to-talk-to-kids-soHow To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.

Faber and Mazlish use real-life situations to show how you can respect and respond to your child’s feelings and satisfy your own needs.

the-emotional-life-of-a-toddlerThe Emotional Life of the Toddler by Alicia F. Lieberman.  Why do toddlers throw tantrums?  What might they be feeling, and how is it developmentally motivated?  This book is a great resource for parents struggling with the strong, conflicting      emotions of a toddler.  Lieberman explains what is behind the outward manifestations of these feelings, and gives us positive, loving, and empathetic ways to support our children, and ourselves, during this time.

 

 

Yoga with Karen

by Karen Gordon on October 5th, 2016

Earlier this year I received my yoga certificate for A Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200 hours. Two weeks ago I completed The Kids003’ Yoga Teacher Training, a 25-hour course with Dana Robinson, Founder of Sweet Feet Yoga.

I love working with families and children at the library and out at outreach. Life gets incredibly busy for families trying to balance family life, and kids are busy with school, homework, and afterschool and weekend activities. Yoga can offer kids tools to learn to de-stress!

Through yoga postures, breathing techniques, and creative movement kids will learn to listen to their bodies connecting to the 4 B’s: body, brain, breath and balance. Offering the practice of yoga encourages kids to learn and listen to their bodies

Join me on Saturday, October 15th from 11:30-12:30 I will be hosting a yoga program for kidsThe_Giving_Tree ages K-2nd grade at the library in the Storytime Room.

The theme is Loving Kindness and I will be reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Bring mats if you have one; we’ll have mats in case you come without. No registration required.

Children’s Outreach and More!

by Karen Gordon on September 7th, 2016

Wow! What a busy time in the Children’s Room this summer! Now that the kids are back at school we are busy planning fall and winter programs.

It’s also that time of year to talk up the services the children’s room offers, like our outreach program, because outreach is such a fun part of our job.

Outreach KarenIf you are not familiar with the Iowa City Public Library’s outreach service, Casey Maynard, Nancy Holland and I do children’s outreach each week and visit 40 Iowa City sites, which include preschools, daycares, Neighborhood Centers, and Hacap (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program) centers. We share 30-minutes outreach stories with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.outreach Nancy

Do you know that we have boxed thematic Storytime Kits? Please stop by the library and take a look at this unique collection.

storytime kitsThese kits are geared for 3-6 year-olds and you check-out the whole kit for three weeks! We have 80 kits and you will love sharing them for your own circle time with your children.

 

cat on booksFinally, for your convenience, you may call the library each week for a Book Pull with your topic and the Children’s Room staff will set aside 15 books for you to pick up at the Children’s Room Desk. Just give us 24 hours’ notice for this free service. Let us be your resource for the best children’s books available and fun guest storytimes!

Water Fun with Little Ones!

by Karen Gordon on June 22nd, 2016

Beat the heat! Summer is a great time to get babies and toddlers into the water. Water play encourages the development of eye/hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, and squirting. Water helps release their emotions by pounding, splashing, swishing, stamping and kicking feet.

Here are some watery nursery rhymes to share with your child. Read the rest of this entry »

Babies Learn in the Womb

by Karen Gordon on May 16th, 2016

Babies are learning more than you think. Studies show that your baby can start to hear and recognize voices of you and your partner in the womb as early as 25 weeks. This is a great time to talk to your baby or read to her.

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a part of North Liberty Community Library’s Womb Literacy initiative. Womb Literacy was created to encourage expecting families to begin developing daily reading rituals, while their child is still in the womb. NLCL’s Stork Storytime Podcast was created for new and expecting parents. The podcast makes it easier for busy parents to learn about early literacy before their baby is born. Parents can tune in to Stork Storytime Podcast and listen to a variety of guest speakers as they engage expecting parents while helping them to feel confident in their role as their child’s first teacher.

I lead the Iowa City Public Library’s Book Babies program (which is held on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) so a good part of my job is to role model reading and offer early literacy tips.  I was excited to share and talk about Narrative skills with librarians Jennifer Jordebrek, and Emily O’Sheridan-Tabor for their May Podcast.

Narrative Skills:

Narrative Skills includes: describing things and events, telling stories, knowing that a story has a beginning, middle and end.

If you would like more information about the North Liberty Community Library’s Womb Literacy visit their website at www.northlibertylibrary.org

Listen to NLPL’s May’s Stork Storytime Podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/nl-community-library/stork-storytime-podcast-early-narrative-skills-with-karen-gordon