I’ve been following the Parents’ Choice blog: Read More. Play More. Learn More recently via Twitter. The Parents’ Choice Foundation was established in 1978 as a nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys. You may have seen their round labels of recommendation on toys, but they also review books, audiobooks, DVDs, music, magazines, television shows, videogames, websites and software – including mobile apps for kids. You can use their online product finder to search for their award winners by type of product, the age of the child for which the product is designed, and more.
But their blog caught my attention because the title echoes philosophies of Children’s Services at Monroe County Public Library: reading is a key to learning, children learn through play, and learning is fun! Our Summer Reading Game is designed to promote these concepts, and now as children head back to school we find ourselves thinking more about essential skills and knowledge for children. Traditionally, essential skills have been described as the 3Rs: Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmetic. But as a recent post to the Parents’ Choice blog reminded, essential skills for the 21st Century include the 4Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Read more »
I recently attended a fascinating seminar on reading sponsored by the Monroe County Community School Corporation. The presenter was Dr. Timothy Rasinski, a professor at Kent State University who authored From Phonics to Fluency: Effective Teaching of Decoding and Reading Fluency in the Elementary School . The topic of the seminar was fluency in reading. While some school systems equate fluency with reading speed, Dr. Rasinski described it as a bridge between reading mechanics and comprehension. Children need to achieve accuracy in the surface or mechanical level of reading which includes phonics, spelling, and vocabulary to progress to the deep level where they make meaning. The link between the two is fluency. Fluent reading involves automaticity, or dealing with the mechanics of reading without stumbling and struggling. Fluency also requires prosody, the ability to read aloud or silently with proper phrasing and expression. Dr. Rasinski shared several methods that teachers and parents can use to help students improve their fluency. I was thrilled to hear that we public librarians have been promoting and supporting these activities at MCPL for years. His presentation focused on singing, poetry, and reader's theater. Read more »
Looking for a fantasy story that treads new ground? Look no further than Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch. This refreshingly offbeat graphic novel tells the story of a young girl in an isolated community who wants to be a dragon slayer. Mixing elements of fairy tale, Yiddish folklore, and small town dynamics, Barry Deutsch has created a coming-of-age hero tale that is also a magical and poignant picture of Orthodox Jewish life. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
Did you get to go to the Monroe County Fair this year? We hope you stopped by the library’s booth, went on our mini jungle walk and pet our giant stuffed orangutan! You can visit with the orangutan this Monday night between 6 and 7:30 pm. He will be welcoming everyone to our Library Carnival in Meeting Rooms 1A, B and C. We’ll have games, prizes and ice cream treats for you to enjoy. And it’s all free – thanks to the Friends of the Library! Read more »
The library has a growing collection of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for children. But for young children, the pictures are still an essential part of story. You can access a wide variety of ebooks and audiobooks with pictures for children through our Tumblebooks subscription. This online collection of animated picturebooks include sound and music, and you can choose to have the story read aloud to you, or read on your own. The Tumblebooks site also features stories in French and Spanish as well as puzzles and games to play. You can search for titles in a variety of ways, including by subject and by reading level. To access the collection without having to enter a login, visit the Children's Services home page and click on the Tumblebooks button. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
In a couple weeks, I get to visit the Adirondack region of New York State. (Can't wait!) On the way, we plan to stop at Niagara Falls. When I get there, I'll be thinking of a woman named Annie Edson Taylor, who in 1901, on her 63rd birthday, dared to cram herself into a wooden barrel and go over Niagara Falls! I had never heard of Taylor, but author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg brings her back to life in Queen of the Falls, the fascinating tale of a determined ex-teacher who wanted to make her mark on the world. Watch Van Allsburg talk about how he created this carefully crafted book here. Recommended for grades 1 and up.
I purchased a copy of The Daring Book for Girls for myself a couple years ago and was reminded of all the cool content it contains when I conducted a program this week featuring hopscotch games and jump rope rhymes. Perhaps I'm partial to this book since it was written by women who, like me, "were girls in the days before the Web, cell phones, or even voicemail. Telephones had cords and were dialed by, well, actually dialing."
Today, you may have your own cell phone, email account and iPod, but certainly a deck of cards and a good book should still be included on the list of "essential gear" you keep close at hand. In The Daring Book for Girls, you'll find the rules for playing card games like "Hearts" and "Gin" as well as the rules for outdoor games like Four Square, various games of tag and hopscotch - a game that was initially played by Roman soldiers and is now played in countries around the world. Read more »
I have never been one to watch the stars and find constellations. I could pick out the Big and Little Dippers, find the North Star and a couple of planets but that was about it. One night my neighbor knocked on my door and invited me outside to see the International Space Station pass overhead on its earthly orbit. On another evening, he taught me how to see the moons around Jupiter with my binoculars. Then I turned them on the full moon and saw the mountains and craters in a clarity I had never dreamed of before. I didn't know how much I could see with ordinary binoculars. Now I am a fan of the sky and I am fascinated by what astronomers are learning about the origin of the universe through telescopes. Read more »
Learning how to be patient can be a difficult skill to acquire – as many parents of young children can attest! Recommended for ages 3-6, the new picturebook Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan with delightful watercolor illustrations by Stephane Jorisch, humorously portrays Betty Bunny’s efforts to tame her desire for instant gratification and perfectly captures this battle of the will that so many of us (younger and older alike) struggle with! Read more »
The Troll With No Heart In His Body and Other Tales of Trolls, from Norway consists of tales retold by "The Troll Lady," Lise Lunge-Larsen, with striking woodcut and colored ink illustrations by Betsy Bowen. Lunge-Larsen is a storyteller who emigrated to Minnesota from Norway, bringing with her mythic Norse stories of giant trolls with tiny brains. In her introduction, she says, "Nothing can truly show children, even adults, more about how to live, about who they are, and about their place in the world, and the struggles of life than a good folktale, and these troll stories I count among the best."