Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

Oskar Loves Letters!

This is Oskar playing his favorite game. He knows the names of all the letters in the alphabet and he loves to take these magnetic letters off the wall and carry them to his parents. They were wise to help him make learning fun. All children need to know the names of the letters and the sounds they make before they begin school and learn to read. Oskar is on his way to becoming a great reader!

As Oskar grows, his parents can expand on his knowledge by introducing new games about the look and sound of letters. Here are some ways all caregivers of young children can grow a young child's letter knowledge.

  • Point out the shapes of toys and other objects, and talk about how they are alike and different. Comparing and contrasting shapes helps children notice the differences between letter shapes.
  • Help your child notice environmental print such as names on food cartons or words on road signs. Point out letters as you go through daily routines.
  • Play games like, "We are going to go to a place to eat that begins with the letter M. Where do you think we are going?"
  • Talk about the letters that are most interesting to your child, like the beginning letter of his or her first and last names. Help your child find those letters on signs, food boxes, mail, and other objects. Repeat this activity using the beginning letter of other things your child likes.

Read more about our Learn and Play Space here, then visit us and help your child find fun ways to learn!

April is National Poetry Month

ISBN: 
9781423108054

Sonnets, Haiku, Free Verse... Shel Silverstein, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost... There is a poet and style of poetry to suit you. You can sample a wide range of poetry in the juvenile nonfiction collection between 808.81 and 821.92: individual poems, collections of poems, poems to ponder silently to yourself, poems to read aloud. If you want to memorize a special poem, you might peruse a collection like: Poems to Learn by Heart, selected by author Caroline Kennedy, pictured to the left.

You can also create your own poem -- from your imagination or observation. If you look carefully enough, you can find poems all around you -- like on the spines of books at the library -- just waiting to be discovered:

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Find other ideas for celebrating National Poetry Month at ReadWriteThink. Read more »

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

ISBN: 
9780062110589

Pete the Cat has been a cool cat fixture in children's literature for a couple of years now. He first appeared on the picturebook scene in 2010 with Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, followed by Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes in 2011. Each story features Pete singing a little ditty, which you can listen to and download for free through the publisher's website. (You can also watch a short video of each Pete the Cat through the website, too.)

In 2012, Pete managed to save Christmas -- and sing about his four groovy buttons. And 2013 has already proved to be an impressive year for Pete as he launches a beginner reader series and earns a Geisel Honor Award. Pete was charming as Santa's substitute, but it was Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons that earned kudos from the Association for Library Services to Children, which cited it as one of three Honor Books for the 2013 Geisel Award. Named for the great Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), the Geisel Award is presented annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States.

Up, Tall and High! a cleverly designed lift-the-flap book was the 2013 Geisel Award winner. This humorous story, with limited text and an interactive format will certainly appeal to beginning readers. And the other Geisel Honor books are both delightful. But while Pete The Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is notable for its accessible vocabulary, repetition of phrase, and rhymes which serve beginner readers so well -- it also did an outstanding job of incorporating simple math into the story. As (spoiler alert!) Pete's buttons pop off his favorite shirt one by one, large numbers appear at the bottom of the page, showing that 4-1=3. And later, 3-1=2, and so on...

My newly 5-year old daughter and I had great fun with this story talking about numbers and math, as well as the definition of groovy. And giggles abounded as we discovered that in the end, Pete is left with one button after all. Can you guess what type of button he still had?

 

Light and Shadow: Preschool Science and Math

Light and Shadow

Groundhog's Day has come and gone, but the shadow of its promise of longer, warmer days lingers! For preschool science in February, we explored the world of light, reflection, and shadow. These activities are meant to promote lively discussions between children and their adult partners, which builds vocabulary and knowledge of the world.

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And the winner of the 2013 Caldecott is...

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It's that time of year again, awards season! Sure the Oscars and Golden Globes may get the most media attention, but the announcement every children's librarian looks forward to is the Caldecott Medal. Each year the Caldecott Medal is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children to "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children". The ALSC may also name a few runners-up, or Honor Books. We'll learn the 2013 medal winner tomorrow, Monday, January 28th.

So who will win the 2013 medal? In anticipation of this year's announcement our Children's Department pulled as many contenders as we could find. We chose our books based on recommendations from School Library Journal, Horn Book, and the more populist list put together by Goodreads. We dubbed our cart of thirty-some books "The Caldecart" and over the past week we've read as many of them as we could, making notes and picking our favorites. Was there a consensus? Nope! But here are a few of the books we liked the best and a few on which we couldn't quite agree. Read more »

I Spy with My Winter Eye...

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At MCPL, we think it is important that families come to the library to learn and play. One of the ways we enrich our environment is through interactive displays, "early literacy spots." These displays are designed to promote language and knowledge for preschool children. Here's what to look for winter: Read more »

Mahjong, Soybeans, and Sisters: Growing Up Chinese in Indiana

ISBN: 
9781600604423

I'm a bit biased about how wonderful Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic and Mahjong All Day Long are. Full disclosure: I'm from Illinois and I've lived in Indiana. And I'm moving to China in a month! (And I have 2 awesome sisters!) So, they're the perfect books for me, but they might just be great for you too. They are such a sweet celebration of  family traditions, so culturally specific and yet so universally heartwarming, that I can't help but want to share them with everyone I know! So let's travel from place to place, book by book.

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Animals in Winter: Preschool Science and Math

ISBN: 
9781429622004

 

As any parent knows, young children are curious about the world. At the library, we explore a range of topics during Preschool Science and Math. When the weather turns cold, I turn to one of my favorite themes for preschool science: Animals in Winter. Here are some of the activities we did in December!

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Playaways!

ISBN: 
9781616378882

Did you know MCPL now has Playaways? In Children's Services, we have over 30 titles available for check-out (or for placing a hold if already checked out). Simply insert an AAA battery and some headphones, and you've got yourself a portable audiobook. The player itself is smaller than a deck of cards, and they're packaged in bright orange cases.  We've placed them near our books-on-cd. Come check one, or more, out!  (3-week check-out.)

TumbleBooks eBooks Updated for the iPad

TumblebooksIncreasingly, our patrons are asking about downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for children. You can search our online catalog for downloadable materials, and when you connect to our partner provider - Indiana Digital Media (also known as Overdrive) -- you can further limit your search to juvenile materials. These items can then be downloaded to a number of different mobile devices.

Many parents and teachers have also turned to TumbleBooks, an online collection of animated picture books and "read-along" chapter books, as another way to access ebooks for children. Available for free through the library's website, TumbleBooks offers a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles especially for young children. (Find a link to TumbleBooks on the right side of the Children's Services home page: mcpl.info/childrens.) Read more »

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