Reaching and Reading

BACK TO SCHOOL! ALREADY??? PART 4

Bedtime – try to keep the same bedtime for your child throughout the school year.  Start now by making bedtime a little earlier each night. By the time school starts, your child will be back to a bedtime that will make it easier to get up and going in the morning.

 As much as possible, try to keep the same bedtime over the weekend and during school breaks. Students need to be well rested in order to do their best at school. Make sure you tell your child what the bedtime will be during the school year.  Look at a clock and help your child to know what the clock will look like at the given bedtime (digital and analog clocks). Webmd ( https://www.webmd.com/ ) recommends that children 6 to 13 years old get 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night and children 14 to 17 years old get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.

Most importantly, spend time reading a book together.  The library has a great selection of books you can read with your child. You can read a chapter book together with your older children and a picture book with younger children.

 

BEDTIME ROUTINE
Check alarm clock
Lay out clothes for the next day
Take a bath
Brush your teeth
Read a Story
Get a drink
Go to the bathroom
Go to bed at the set bedtime

 

         

BACK TO SCHOOL! ALREADY??? PART 2

Again, routines are essential for keeping a household running smoothly. Routines are necessary and helpful for children.

 

After School – once your child is at home from school, there should be a routine.  Establish what order your child will do these things: snack, homework, play time, reading time, taking a bath, etc.  When it is time for homework, make sure your child has all the necessary supplies easily available for the homework, pencils and a small pencil sharpener, glue, scissors, and crayons.  Keeping an additional school box at home with these supplies will make it easier to complete daily homework or work that is missed when a child is absent from school.

 

AFTER SCHOOL ROUTINE
snack
homework
play time
supper

 

       

BACK TO SCHOOL! ALREADY??? PART 1

How can you make the transition of going back to school easier for your household?  Start with establishing routines. Kids really do need and like structure and routine. They may fight you on it, but they really do need and want it!

 

Morning – have your child set an alarm clock.  Keep the alarm set for the same time each morning.  Make sure the wake up time will allow enough time for your child to get ready in the morning.  Once your child is awake, have him/her follow the morning routine each day. For example: get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, eat breakfast, go out for the bus with the backpack and lunchbox (if your child has packed a lunch for school).

It is helpful to make a sign for your child with the routines listed.

 

 

MORNING ROUTINE
Get out of bed
Get dressed
Brush your teeth
Comb your hair
Eat breakfast
Get lunchbox out of fridge (if packing)
Gather your backpack (put on a coat if the weather is cold).
Watch for the bus

These books can be checked out at the library.

           

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award

The Firefly Award winner has been announced! Every year in the state of Indiana, five books are nominated by a committee made up of Indiana caregivers, librarians, project coordinators, and other professionals. These books are chosen for their ability to encourage parents and children to use the Every Child Ready to Read practices of talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing together. These five books are then voted on by children ages 0-5 years old. This year, over 5,000 children voted on the five nominated books collected at public libraries and daycares across the state.

And the winner is:

The other nominees include:

     

      

Click on each book to reserve your copy today! Happy Reading!

 

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

Kids of all ages (and adults) are fascinated with dinosaurs! That’s why I was so excited to see a new book of children’s poetry by David Elliott. In the Past is a large format picture book with a short dinosaur poem on each double-page spread; it’s perfect for sharing in one sitting or for reading in small bits.

In the Past by David Elliott

This latest book by Elliott only takes a slight turn from his previous books of poetry featuring animals in different habitats. Those of you who have attended our children’s programs in the past know that I love to share poems. It’s more than just a personal preference; there is firm research that shows poetry is a great way for kids to develop early literacy skills. Poems provide great examples of rhyme, rhythm and figurative language and also encourage us to look at the world around us in creative ways.

In the Sea by David Elliott    In the Wild by David Elliott

Pick up a David Elliott book to share with your family this April for National Poetry Month. For older readers, you might want to try Elliott’s book Bull, a novel written in verse that explores the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. You can find Bull in the teen area at the Aurora Public Library or on OverDrive.

On the Farm by David Elliott   Bull by David Elliott

Young People’s Poet Laureate

What is a Poet Laureate? Did you know we have 2 in the United States? Poet Laureates are designated by nations or groups and are frequently expected to compose poems for special occasions. The Librarian of the United States Congress designates a poet annually to work toward increasing our nation’s appreciation of poetry. This position is currently filled by Tracy K. Smith.

The Poetry Foundation, since 2006, has selected a Young People’s (or Children’s) Poet Laureate for two-year terms. The chosen poet works on a variety of projects to help instill a lifelong love of poetry among the nation’s developing readers.

Margarita Engle has held this position since 2017. Previously this position was filled by Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, J.Patrick Lewis, Kenn Nesbitt, and Jacqueline Woodson.

I love this excerpt from her poem “Tula”, found in the book The Lightning Dreamer.

Books are door-shaped 

portals

carrying me

across oceans

and centuries,

helping me feel

less alone.

Engle may be best known for her novels in verse, especially those focusing on different aspects of Cuban history. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I will tell you that you need to give these books a try! Engle has a true gift for highlighting episodes in history that are not well-known.

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle   The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle

The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle   The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle

We also have some books for younger kids that feature poems by Engle.

Orangutanka by Margarita Engle  Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle

Bravo: Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle

I am very excited about Bravo: Poems About Amazing Hispanics, our newest addition by Engle. This book is located in our juvenile biography area and is perfect for families and classrooms!

Diversity is a huge focus in children’s literature and there was so much in this book that was new to me!

You can read more of Engle’s poetry on the Poetry Foundation’s web page.

Indiana Author April Pulley Sayre

South Bend resident April Pulley Sayre has turned a lifetime fascination with biology into an amazing career researching and writing non-fiction for children. Her latest release, Warbler Wave, is available at both Library locations and features Sayre’s stunning photographs of a variety of warblers. Did you know that warblers migrate thousands of miles each year? I didn’t know that – until I read Warbler Wave! Sayre also shows off her photographic skill in Best in Snow and Full of Fall, as well as 3 food based books photographed at her local farmer’s market.

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre   Go, Go, Grapes by April Pulley Sayre

Rah, Rah, Radishes by April Pulley Sayre   Let's Go Nuts by April Pulley Sayre

Sayre is also well-known for her other “Chant” books: Trout, Trout, Trout, Bird, Bird, Bird, and Ant, Ant, Ant.

Trout, Trout, Trout by April Pulley Sayre   Bird, Bird, Bird by April Pulley Sayre

Books by Sayre have been illustrated by some amazing illustrators, including the award-winning Steve Jenkins who uses cut paper collage. I have been a huge fan of Steve Jenkins books for many years and I love the work he did in Eat like a Bear , Woodpecker, Wham!, and Vulture View.

Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre   Woodpecker Wham! by April Pulley Sayre

If your family is interested in learning more about animals or in studying how we relate to the world around us, you should definitely check out the Library’s books by April Pulley Sayre!

Splish, Splash, Animal Baths by April Pulley Sayre   Meet the Howlers by April Pulley Sayre

Here Come the Humpbacks by April Pulley Sayre   Dig Wait Listen: a Desert Toad's Tale by April Pulley Sayre

Trout Are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre   Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! by April Pulley Sayre

 

 

Learn with Jack and Annie!

For over 20 years, elementary kids have loved the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. In each of these short chapter books, Jack and Annie travel to a different location or time period. These books are very popular with kids who have only recently started reading chapter books.

If you are just introducing your child to this series, you may want to begin at the beginning (Dinosaurs Before Dark), because the books do get progressively harder in length and vocabulary.

Did you know that there is a companion series of non-fiction books written especially to supplement the Magic Tree House books? Kids love learning more about the people, places and animals from the stories. Here are just of few of the Magic Tree House books shown side-by-side with their non-fiction companion books.

Sunset of the Sabertooth by Mary Pope Osborne  Sabertooths and the Ice Age by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Dolphins at Daybreak by Mary Pope Osborne   Dolphins and Sharks by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Day of the Dragon King by Mary Pope Osborne   China: Land of the Emperor's Great Wall by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne   Mummies and Pyramids by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne

The non-fiction books present information in a reader-friendly way and often also list online resources for additional information. You may want to read the non-fiction books with your child since they are typically at a slightly higher reading level. Of course, kids usually mange to read the books they are really interested in!

We have most of the Magic Tree House fiction and non-fiction books, but if you can’t find one you need, just ask. Many of the books are also available to download through the Indiana Digital Download Center. The series is still continuing, so keep checking for new additions on our shelves!

There is also a great Magic Tree House web page, complete with book information and games. Parents and teachers should check out specials links for them in the upper right-hand corner of the web page.

Black History Month through Picture Books

Are you unsure how to introduce your young children to African American History? You might want to start with a few of these picture books They tackle difficult subjects in a way that is very appropriate for children. Read the books together and follow your child’s lead in how much additional information to share.

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford

 

 

Freedom in Congo Square amazed me when I first read it! I had never heard about the special Sunday privileges enjoyed by the slaves of New Orleans and how Congo Square became a mixing place for many African cultures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next two titles are set during the Civil War era. Hold the Flag High relates the story of Sgt. William Carney, the first African American to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. All Different Now tells of June 19, 1865 when the news of the Emancipation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas.

Hold the Flag High by Catherine Clinton   All Different Now by Angela Johnson

It’s always fun to learn history by reading about the people who left their mark on our culture. Bessie Coleman was the first woman of African-American descent, and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license. Major Taylor was a world champion cyclist from Indiana; there is an open-air velodrome named for Taylor in Indianapolis. Langston Hughes, of course, was a widely-acclaimed poet and playwright.

Nobody Owns the Sky by Reeve Lindbergh  Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo

The next four books document the struggles of African Americans to gain their rights. These are the stories of our country, and all people need to learn about not only our past, but also about our current struggles for equality.

Papa's Mark by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert  Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds

Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney  A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson

The book covers shown above are just a few of our picture books about the rich history of African Americans. If you are interested in a specific topic or event, please let me know. We also have great juvenile biographies of black musicians, artists, scientists and more! For older kids, I’d be happy to recommend other fiction and non-fiction books, including Heart and Soul: the Story of America and African Americans and We are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball, both written and illustrated by the amazing Kadir Nelson.

 

Every Child Ready to Read

Have you ever wondered what you can be doing now to prepare your toddler to succeed in school? Parents want their children to go off to school with the skills they need to do well in a classroom. Although most children do not begin reading until they are school-age, children who show up at school with preliteracy skills already in place will usually be more successful and will come to view school as an enjoyable experience. The good news is that parents and other primary caregivers can engage in a few simple activities to ensure that every child is “Ready to Read.”

Conversations help a child express thoughts, learn what words mean, and gain new information about the world. Listen to what your child says, answer questions, add new information, and listen some more! It is the give-and-take of conversation that helps kids make sense of the words they hear. Talk in the car, during meal times, during a bath, at the store, and everywhere.

Singing helps kids hear the distinct sounds that words make. Songs teach new vocabulary and moving to music helps develop motor skills. You don’t have to be a good singer – just be enthusiastic! Creating simple musical instruments from things in your home makes it even more fun.

Read with your child every day! Create a special place for shared reading and favorite books. After you read together, show your child that reading is important for letting them see you read.

 

 

 

 

Children learn to express themselves by playing. You don’t need expensive toys; in fact simpler is better! Provide old clothes for playing dress-up, use old boxes or food containers as blocks or drape a sheet over two chairs to create a puppet stage for sock puppets. Encourage creativity by asking your child to make up stories by imagining to be someone else. Play comes naturally to young children and is one of the primary ways they learn.

Writing activities help children understand that written words represent ideas, things and events. Set up a writing space with paper, crayons and pencils. Show examples of your writing in thank-you notes, recipes, or notes. Writing takes strong hand muscles, and playing with clay or play-doh is a fun way to strengthen little hands.

 

 

 

Try to work these five activities into the normal flow of interacting with your child and they will begin school “Ready to Read”. For more information, stop by the Aurora Public Library to talk to me – I’d be happy to help get you started on these important practices. I also use these concepts in our weekly Storytimes, so that’s a great time to stop in!