Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

Summer Reading Fun: Beginning Reader Book Club

Q is for DuckLike any skill, reading takes practice. For young children, “practice” can sound like a chore. Sometimes reading is more fun when friends and family join in. Book clubs provide an opportunity to read and discuss books socially, even helping children make the connection between reading and “real life.” What’s more, learning to read requires lots of skills that do not involve decoding words on a page. Drawing, writing, storytelling, rhyming, word play, and meaningful discussion, all play a part in a child’s comprehension of text. Our Beginning Reader Book Club includes all of these activities, along with the opportunity for adults and children to read together. Some of our featured books include: Q is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game, Penny and her Song, and Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping.

Our Beginning Reader Book Club meets for three Thursdays (June 13, June 20, & June 27) from 1-1:45pm in the Children’s Program Room. Please register by phone (349-3100) or through our website (mcpl.info/childrens). Hope to see you there!  

   

Summer Reading - Why it Matters

ImageAbout this time of year, my colleagues and I begin to ponder just why it was we chose careers that see us at our busiest in the summer months -- at a time when it seems the rest of the world is looking to kick back and relax. Along with other public libraries around the country, we spend months planning and preparing a Summer Reading Program, we spend weeks visiting area schools and encouraging students in grades K-6 to participate in our Summer Reading Program, and then we have thousands of kids come through our doors eager to pick up a Summer Reading game board and attend special events. Why? Why do we do this? Couldn't we just quietly go about our business and slip away to the lake more easily in June?

And then we remind ourselves. We do it because it matters. We invite kids to take part in our Summer Reading Program because studies have shown that "students who participated in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year." (Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Reading Gap, 2010)

We know that developing and improving reading skills takes practice. The more you read, the better you get. And we know that when kids get to choose what they want to read, they are more likely to read for fun. Yet, when schools close for the summer, many students no longer have access to reading materials that appeal to their interests and suit their reading ability. Your public library fills that gap. Our free Summer Reading Program is all about encouraging kids to read for fun so that they sustain and build a reading habit over the summer. They can choose books, magazines, graphic novels, audiobooks, ebooks, fiction, nonfiction -- they're all included in our summer reading program.

Visit our Summer Reading website for details about our program, or give us a call at 349-3100. But most of all -- we hope to see you here at the library this summer. As we've been reminding kids recently: We're open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends. In between the other fun things you have going on this summer, we encourage you to stop in to the library and choose something fun to read. We won't even be jealous if you tell us you're going to read it at the lake.

For more information about the benefits of library Summer Reading Programs, see our Get Reading, Get Moving page. And to see how much fun we have with our Summer Reading Program, watch our video: Dig Into Reading!

How Gutenberg Changed the World

ISBN: 
9781596435421

While some predict the imminent demise of the printed book, some profess that the printed book will continue on in perpetuity. I stand with the second group. As much as I enjoy the convenience of ebooks, there is a majesty to a beautifully illustrated and bound printed book that not even the most colorfully animated ebooks can equal. There is so much ephemeral electronic correspondence today that a printed book, by its sheer mass and substance commands a certain amount of respect. Or, perhaps it's simply the history of the printed book that I revere.

From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the World lavishly presents the early history of the printed book as pioneered by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450.  Categorized as a biography, this new picturebook by James Rumford focuses more on Gutenberg's revolutionary invention of the printing press, than on the life of Gutenberg himself. Each richly illustrated double-page spread describes the process of creating a book as a mystery of sorts, asking the reader to guess the elements that formed the finished product: "What was this thing made of rags and bones?" and answering on the next page: "It was paper, and it was ready."

The epilogue to this book notes that Gutenberg's invention remains a bit of a mystery, as no one knows for sure how he was able to produce such beautifully crisp and clear letters in the 1400s. But some of the books he produced more than 500 years ago endure to this day. In fact a copy of one of those books resides in Bloomington at the Lily Library on the campus of Indiana University. The Gutenberg Bible rests in a glass case on display in the Lily Library, open for anyone to visit. 

From the Good Mountain concludes with an illustration of computer circuitry, suggesting that as hand copied books gave way to printed ones, and printed books give way to ebooks, perhaps it doesn't matter at all what books look like -- what form they take -- as long as people keep writing and reading them. What are you reading today?

Happy National Library Week!

ImageFounded in 1958 by the American Library Association, National Library Week grew out of a desire to encourage more Americans to read as a leisure activity and to promote the use of libraries. Those desires have remained constant over the years, but as Monroe County Public Library looks to the future and the role the library plays in our community, we see libraries as a place that nurtures reading - and so much more.

Our Mission: To enrich lives and strengthen our community by providing equitable access to information and opportunities to read, learn, discover, and create.

We offer some special events this week to help celebrate National Library Week, April 14-20:  Meet author Amy Krouse Rosenthal on Monday, or pick a night Monday through Thursday to attend the Vital Quiz Bowl which supports adults learners.

But you can come in any time to find fun materials to read, or view or listen to. You can even share your thoughts about what you've read by creating your own local review. Access our Research Tools to learn something new like how to make smart financial decisions with Morningstar, or learn a new language with Mango Languages. Check our calendar and discover opportunities to take part in special events and participate in community organizations at the library. Use our public computers to connect to Scratch and create your own interactive story.

These are just a few of the ways we strive to help Monroe County residents read, learn, discover and create. We have big plans for additional opportunities as we develop a Digital Creativity Center especially for teens, expand our meeting room facilities, and increase access to ebooks and other downloadable materials. These initiatives stem from expressed needs and desires of our community members.

Read more about our vision for the future, and MCPL's Strategic Plan to help us get there together. This week, and every week, we'd like to learn from you: How do you use the library to Read, Learn, Discover and Create? And what more would you like your library to be - and do for you?

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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Read more »

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 »

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