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Author Archive for Karen Gordon



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

 

 

 

Celebration of the Young Child at the Iowa Children’s Museum

by Karen Gordon on April 13th, 2016

Last Saturday families from all around the corridor area explored the Iowa Children’s Museum in “Celebration of the Young Child” event with free admission. Kids attended performances, created make and take crafts and had “Permission to Play” with dozens of community groups devoted to children and families.kids playing

The Iowa City and Coralville Public Library’s staff volunteered their time along with a variety of other organizations dedicated to early education, health and well-being.

The library’s booth had sensory play dough for kids to play, pat, pound, and squeeze. The play dough we provided was made out of simple ingredients found at home and needless to say our booth was a big hit! Recipes at the booth were available and quickly ran out. For families who did not get a recipe, here it is:

4-Minute Play Dough Recipe

It’s the easiest play dough you can make. Get creative and add, essential oils, extracts, 1-2 packages of Kool-Aid, food coloring, cinnamon, cocoa powder, fresh or dried herbs, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water

(Adding in increments until it feels just right)

  • Food coloring (optional)

Few drops glycerin (optional- adds more shine!)

Instructions

  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  • Add food coloring to the boiling water then into the dry ingredients (color optional)
  • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  • Add the glycerin (optional)
  • Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone.    * This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!*

(If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right)

Did you know?

by Karen Gordon on January 15th, 2016

It’s a new year and Kathy, Nancy and I are busy doing children’s outreach storytimes out in our community. This is a perfect time to talk up the services the Children’s Room has to offer to preschools and daycare facilities in Iowa City.
Did you know that you can call the Library every week for a Book Pull? Leave a phone or email message with your topic for your curriculum and the Children’s Room staff will set aside 15 of our favorite books for you to come in and pick up at the Children’s Room Desk. We ask for 24 hours advanced notice for this free service.

Big Books
We have big books for check-out, too. I love using big books at storytime and out at my outreach sites. Kids love the big pictures, and I never worry about a child not being able to see from the back row.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention our Storytime Kits! If you aren’t familiar with our collection of boxed thematic Storytime Kits, please stop in the library sometime and take a look at this unique collection. These kits contain 10 picture books and a puppet, rubber stamp, lacing cards, puzzle, etc. They are geared for 3-6 year-olds and you check out the whole plastic bin for three weeks. We have over 80 kits to choose from and you will love using them for your own circle time with your children.

Frog kit

IMG_2201Finally, I’m excited to tell parents and teachers about the new initiative the Library will be launching in February. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, sponsored by Pearson in Iowa City, is a program that encourages parents and caregivers to provide positive, nurturing early learning experiences by regularly reading aloud to their children . More information will be coming soon.

Children’s Outreach Services

by Karen Gordon on December 22nd, 2015

Last Wednesday was my last outreach before schools’ Winter Break. The kids say they’ll miss me. They give me hugs before I leave for the library…what’s not to love about my job?
Katherine Habley, Nancy Holland, and I do children’s outreach every week. Maybe you’ve seen us leaving the library with bags of books or puppets hanging out of our wheeled library suitcases. Between the three of us, we visit 40 Iowa City sites, which include preschools, daycares, Neighborhood Centers, and Hacap (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program) centers. We share stories with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
While manning the desk, we’ll often encounter a family whose child runs to us with arms open. The child’s parents are somewhat confused and ask how we know their child, so we explain our outreach program and are acknowledged with immediate smiles and gratitude for our services to the community.
Part of our strategic planning for fiscal year 2016 is to create a bookmark informing parents about our 30-minute storytime. Hopefully, the bookmark will encourage parents to talk and ask open-ended questions about encouraging early literacy in the home.

 

Outreach bm

  Here are the bookmarks we’ve been handing out to sites since the beginning of the school year.

Outreach is a big part of the joy we get from our jobs. We get the “warm and fuzzies” after each visit. There’s nothing better than reading books and getting smiles, hugs, and kisses after storytime. Our job is as Mister Rogers sings, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Teach Math with Picture Books!

by Karen Gordon on June 11th, 2015

GiraffeNumberCountRhymeWhat I’ve learned during many outreach visits is that math is another important skill to bring to storytime. There are so many wonderful books to get kids counting.
Without a doubt, kids are willing participants . I like to use flannel board activities or fingerplays, because they allow us to count up and count down together. They also learn about subtraction and addition through fingerplays. The kids are so enthusiastic about learning math and I notice these activities give them an extra boost of confidence.
Research shows how important and critical it is that parents read to their children every day from birth up until kids enter school. Well, it’s also critical that parents make an effort to incorporate math, too. This is where picture books can help.
Counting using picture books can spark the interest in, and nurture a wonder of, math the same way reading books can nurture a wonder of books. In math, kids can find imagination and wonder in so many ways.

Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins  Counting w Maisy cheep is an adorable flap book that will keep any toddler’s attention: “It’s almost bedtime. Mommy Hen is looking for her 10 chicks.” And Maisy is there to find them. Little readers can help by lifting the flaps to see who’s hiding in the stable, the tractor, and the apple tree. This game of hide-and-seek will keep little ones busy and eager for more.

More counting – Look for these new counting books in the Children’s Room.

Count on the subway Count On the Subway by Paul DuBois Jacobs

llustrations and rhythmic text describe the  sights and sounds of a subway ride in New York City as a mother and child go uptown, counting their way from one to ten and back again.

Counting Crows by Kathi AppelCounting Crowst The reader is invited to count hungry crows as they hunt for savory snacks.

1 to 2o Animals a Plenty by Katie Viggers1-20 Animals                                    This beautiful and simply written counting book teaches kids to count from 1 to 20 as they meet a menagerie of amusing creatures.

Robot burp head

Robot Burp Head Smartypants! By Annette Simon
On your mark, get set, belch! The green and purple robots from Robot Zombie Frankenstein! are back for a second round of “Top This” games! Burp to ten? Easy! Burp the alphabet? No sweat! Burp by tens while blindfolded, juggling, and skateboarding? Yikes! Reluctant readers won’t even notice that they’re learning as they laugh out loud at the wacky antics of these irreverent robotic pals.

Book Babies with Sonia Culver

by Karen Gordon on May 7th, 2015

Enrichment Therapy

 

Boy with Dad

 

 

Friday, May 8th, 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 – 2 p.m.

Join the fun with Sonia Culver from the Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.

Soina will share stories, songs, and rhymes, with information about helping your baby develop language skills. Specifically planned for babies. This program is an active program intended to stimulate infant language development. We ask that there be a lap for every baby.

http://www.speechtherapistincoralvilleia.com/about/

 

Book Babies – Spirit In Motion!

by Karen Gordon on April 29th, 2015

 

music_programs_babies_and_toddlers_program

On Friday, May 1st at 10:30 am
Come sample Spirit in Motion! Nurturing joy through music and movement.
This is a fun, engaging program offered here at Book Babies. You and your baby will explore activities with guest Deb Singer. This early childhood music and movement program includes singing, cuddling, rocking, and dancing.

http://www.spirit-in-motion.org/creative-movement
This program is free.

Hug Machine!

by Karen Gordon on February 27th, 2015

51Xr6DU634L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I got some big hugging energy this week at my outreach visits. I was greeted with hugs–lots of hugs! Those cute little hug machines! This is a picture book with some big hugging energy. I’d say it’s perfect for any time of the year, and double the fun around Valentine’s Day.
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell is about a little boy who is very good at hugging: “No one can resist my unbelievable hugging. I’m the Hug Machine!” He hugs people to calm them down and cheer them up. His hugs make the biggest feel small and smallest feel big. He even takes on extra special challenges like hugging a spiky porcupine and the too-big whale who says, “Surely I am too big for you to hug,” to which Hug Machine says, “Of course not! Not for the Hug Machine!” After a brief fueling of pizza, the hug machine is at it again and ready for more hugging action.9781442459366_02_interior.480x480-75
By the end of the day the boy is exhausted from all of the hugging, and can hug no more. But, he does have hugs for a special person in his life…Mom. It turns out Hug Machine is always open for business.  2PHugsMachine_int-17
I love the illustrations in this book. They are gentle and sweet. I’ll bet after you read this book before bedtime your little ones will walk around with arms stretched out saying, “I’m the Hug Machine!”

A Book Babies Special!

by Karen Gordon on January 23rd, 2015

sing-play-grow-logo

Baby-Girls-Instruments

On Friday, February 6th at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.

Come sample West Music’s own early childhood music and movement program with your baby, Sing & Play & Grow!

This is a fun, engaging program offered here at Book Babies. You and your baby will explore activities with guest Becky Foerstner. This early childhood music and movement program includes singing, chanting, cuddling, rocking, dancing and instrument exploration.

This program is free.

 

Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs!

by Karen Gordon on January 6th, 2015

I’m a dog person, so naturally if I see a new dog picture book on the shelf I grab it. All of us in the Children’s Room will agree that a dog storytime is always a hit!

In 2014, there were lots of picture books about dogs published and so many of them are funny, clever and of course, cute!

Maggi and Milo by Juli Brenning

Maggi and MiloMaggi is an adventurer and a pretty good songwriter. Her border collie, Milo, is her best friend. Maggi gets a package from her grandma with all the necessities for a frog hunt, boots, and a book about frogs. Why frogs? A quick look at her bedroom reveals a fascination with frogs, including frog drawings, slippers, etc.
“I’m a frog hunter and he is Milo!” she announces, and together they wander off to the pond. After waiting a “million minutes” for something to happen, she’s bored! Milo wanders off. A panicked search for Milo in the muck reveals Milo has found a frog! Milo finds even more frogs and at the end of the day,”Side by side, they sat on the edge of the world, just listening to the frogs say good night.”

Here are a few more doggie books to enjoy:

This book just ate my dog!This Book Just Ate My Dog! By Richard Byrne
“When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right.”

If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson.If you were a dog
Easy-to-read text invites the reader to imagine life as a dog, a cat, a fish, a bird, and even a dinosaur.

 

Gaston words by Kelly DiPucchio; pictures by Christian RobinGastonson
A proper bulldog raised in a poodle family and a tough poodle raised in a bulldog family meet one day in the park.

Time for bed fred

 

 

 

 

Time for Bed, Fred by Yassmeen Ismail.
A child has a very difficult time getting Fred, the dog, to bed.

 

Eddie and the Dog by Alison Brown  Eddie and Dog
Eddie longs for a friend who likes adventure and finds the perfect match in Dog.




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