Posts Tagged ‘Early Literacy’


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.

Looking for a Level ____ Book?

by Casey Maynard on October 16th, 2018

Have you ever come to the children’s desk and asked “Where can I find the level 1 books?” or “Where are your books with a Lexile number of….?” and received a long-winded round about answer? At the ALSC National Institute in Cincinnati, I attended a wonderful session on the history and uses of leveling and I thought that since I hear the leveling question often, this information would be useful for our community.

It is well known that leveled reading is a dominant educational structure that most if not all caregivers and children learning to read will find themselves functioning within. Leveling books can be an extremely helpful tool in terms of finding books that children will be able to read independently. But it is just that, a tool, a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. If you take one thing away from this blog post I hope it is this: there is no such thing as a book that is ‘too easy’ or ‘too difficult’ for a reader at any level.   That’s a bold statement right? But when you think about the why, it really starts to make sense. Read the rest of this entry »

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 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!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? celebrates 50 years!

by Anne Wilmoth on May 3rd, 2017

This week only, stop by the ICPL Chilimg_4509-1dren’s Department and bask in the rainbow glow of our homage to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, a children’s classic celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Eric Carle, already successful in the advertising industry, never planned a career in children’s books.  But Brown Bear‘s author, Bill Martin, Jr., spotted one of Carle’s advertisements featuring a red lobster in his distinctive collage style.  “The art was so striking,” said Martin, “that I knew instantly I had found the artist to illustrate my next book.”

After Brown Bear was published in 1967, Carle went on to write and illustrate over 70 more children’s books, many of which are similarly beloved by generations of readers.  Brown Bear has been translated into 31 languages and is a wonderful read-aloud for the very young, with its rhythmic text and bold animal illustrations.  (It was the first book I ever read aloud to my firstborn, when she was just four days old.)

If you want to chImage resulteck out the book, the library owns this beloved children’s favorite in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Braille, as well as a board book and “big book” format.  (Find it in the catalog.)  Once you’ve found your copy, you can also go on a scavenger hunt around the Children’s Department for all 11 hidden Brown Bear characters (get a special Eric Carle prize!) and make a Brown Bear stick puppet.

At toddler storytime on Tuesday, each child created one of these stick puppets.  The room was filled with a rainbow of horses, fish, frogs, cats, and birds!  We then told the Brown Bear story three ways simultaneously: with the book, with flannel board characters, and with puppets – children held up their animal when it appeared in the story.

Happily, this week is also Children’s Book Week, an annual celebration of books for kids and teens.  Children’s Book Week was launched in 1919 and is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.  So we expanded our celebration at storytime to include another Eric Carle favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which I told with puppets and giant story cards.  “I know this book!” one child excitedly whispered.

For more Brown Bear, check out the website of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for a video of Carle talking about Brown Bear, printable activity sheets, and a slideshow of fun facts about the book (a grey mouse and a pink elephant appear in the 1970 edition!).

 

 

What are your baby’s favorite books?

by Melody Dworak on September 29th, 2016
Karen and Morgan read a high-contrast book on baby's first trip to the library.

ICPL’s Karen and Morgan read a high-contrast book to my 6-week-old baby on his first trip to the library.

Today my baby turns 10 months old. That’s 10 whole months of me learning firsthand about early literacy. He doesn’t sit still much these days. Rather than listening to a book beginning-to-end, he’d rather turn their pages, or pull as many books off the shelf as he can, which staff in the Children’s Room found out Saturday at close. Still, he has delighted at many of the books I’ve put in front of him, and I’d like to share the types of books that have captivated him even before he can understand their words and stories.

ICPL’s board book collection in the Children’s Room is one of those high-turnaround beasts. They take a beating and we buy whatever we can to replace them when they are mangled. If you can’t find one of these titles, look for the following features that make them attractive. 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