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Early Literacy Foundations Part 1: Print Motivation

Early Literacy Foundations

In this series of blog posts we will explore the six early literacy skills that a child must have in order to be ready to learn how to read and write. These six skills are pre-reading skills that focus on developing cognitive abilities. Why are these skills important? Reading is the foundation for all learning so taking the time with your child in their early years will enable them to start school prepared and excited about learning and ensure they have a strong foundation for their whole academic life and beyond.


The Six Early Literacy Skills (in no particular order):


Print Motivation

Phonological Awareness


Narrative Skills

Print Awareness

Letter Knowledge


In this first post, we will talk about Print Motivation.


What does it mean?

Print motivation means being interested in books and reading and being motivated by stories and books. It means having a positive relationship with books and reading so that a child genuinely enjoys these activities.


Why is it Important?

 If your child is excited about reading and books, they will be excited about learning. Setting up this relationship from an early age can help them tremendously in setting the course for a strong academic future. Reading and learning will never be seen as a chore for them if they truly love it.


How can I help my child develop print motivation?


Start Early and Read Often!

Book Cover for ten tiny babiesStart reading as soon as possible with your child, it's never too early to start exposing your child to books. Even as a baby, your child can handle books, play with them and touch them while you read. The most important thing is to make sure you take the time with you child to read every day. Try for ten minutes a day and make a habit of it. Stress the importance of this time together with books as it is a special time to be cherished and that will encourage the positive relationship so that your child we be a motivated learner through preschool, kindergarten and beyond.


Monkey See, Monkey Do!

If your little one sees you reading, they will be interested in it too. Modeling a good relationship with books is one of the most important things you can do. Take the time to explain to them what you are doing and why you are doing it. "I am reading these words on the page because I want to know or learn about ____" or "I am reading this story about a boy that goes on an adventure because it is fun and I want to know what happens next!" Remember, you are not only your child's first teacher, but also their first role model! 


Make it fun!

If you are enthusiastic about the book you are reading together, your child will take an interest in it as well. Reading in silly voices, acting out parts of the book as you read--these are all ways that you can make the books you are reading more entertaining and interesting for your child. Take your child to the library on a regular basis and allow them to spend time picking out books. They will look forward to taking those books home and reading them together if they picked them out themselves! 


And last but not least, don't forget to make reading a social activity! Take your child to one of our many storytimes or literacy-related events offered throughout the San Jose Public Library system. Making storytime a habit is a healthy one and can add to the joy of reading if your child looks forward to seeing, interacting, singing and dancing with other kids at storytimes and other events.



Book Cover for LMNO Peas

The San Jose Public Library has a wide variety of resources available to help you develop print motivation with your child. All of the San Jose Public Library branches have a large selection of Picture Books, Concept Books (books that focus on ABCs and 123s) and Fairy Tale Books for your child to fall in love with. Also, don't forget to ask a librarian about our bilingual kits called Books and More! that contain books, DVDs, toys and tips, all for working with your child on early literacy skills.


Check back next Friday where we will explore the next early literacy skill: Phonological Awareness!

Pink Me UP

cover of "Pink Me Up"

Young Violet is so looking forward to attending the "PINK" picnic for mothers and daughters.  Everyone will be wearing lots of PINK! Alas! Something unexpected happens.  What to do next becomes quite a plight for Violet. What about the "Pink-nic"? Will this be the worst day of her life? With the help of a surprise guest, Violet is able to face the challenges ahead of her.


Violet learns a valuable lesson: A temporary setback does not equal failure nor does it mean something is impossible to achieve. Violet and her parent have a "Perfectly-Pink" time at the "Pink-nic".


A delightfully "pink story" by Charise Mericle Harper.

Gobble Gobble - Books for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. Here are some great picture books to help get the little ones in your life ready for the holiday.


  1. Bear Says Thanks coverBear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012) - Bear thanks his friends for bringing food dishes to his dinner party and finds a way of sharing something of his own.
  2. I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson, illustrated by Judith Byron Schachner (Puffin, 1997) - This book provides a fun Thanksgiving twist on an old song by throwing in Thanksgiving food from pie to squash to cider.
  3. I’m a Turkey! by Jim Arnosky (Scholastic, 2009) - This nonfiction book features the life of a wild turkey in a spokenw word song with rhyming text.
  4. My First Thanksgiving by Tomie DePaola (Putnam Juvenile, 1992)- This simple board book explains the origins of Thanksgiving for the youngest of readers.
  5. ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic, 1990) - This fun parody mimicks the Night Before Christmas poem. School children on a trip to a farm save the lives of eight turkeys. 

Book Signings in San Jose!

Hicklebee's is an independent bookstore full of dedicated people who are willing to help any eager reader walking through their doors! And during the month of November, Hicklebee's will be holding two book signings at their store!



Curtsies and Conspiracies cover

On November 5, 2013, Gail Carriger will be coming to Hicklebees to celebrate the launch of her second book in her Finishing School Series. You can check out her first book Etiquette and Espionage at the library, and come to the book signing to get the sequel: Curtsies and Conspiracies. There is will also be a steam punk costume contest for those who wish to dress up, and Gail Carriger herself will be one of three judges.


The Launch Party and book signing will be on November 5, 2013 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at this address:


1378 Lincoln Ave. San Jose, CA 95125

(408) 292-8880




ODiary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck covern November 14, 2013, Jeff Kinney will be coming to Campbell Christian School on behalf of Hicklebees to talk about his brand new book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (book 8). You can check out the first seven books at your local library: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Last Straw, Dog Days, The Ugly Truth, Cabin Fever, and The Third Wheel. Pre-order Hard Luck at Hicklebee's and get your ticket to attend the event!


The event will be held on November 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM at this address:

Christian School
1075 W. Campbell Ave., Campbell, CA 


Important: In order to go to this event, you must have a ticket. To get tickets, you have to buy Hard Luck from Hicklebees. One book = two tickets.

Classic Halloween Titles!

Halloween is in just TEN days! Here is a list of some of the best Halloween titles to read with your family.

Cover of Bone DogCover of FrankensteinCover of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of AnythingCover of Frank was a Monster who Wanted to DanceCover of Vunce Upon a TimeThe Monsters' Monsters


Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann -- How does Halloween help a boy reunite with his faithful furry friend? Find out in this bittersweet story of love and friendship.


Frankenstein by Ludworst Bemonster -- A parody of the children's classic, Madeline, which concerns a certain monster and his companions who reside in  Miss Devel's castle laboratory.


The Little Old Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams -- A classic tale of gumption in the face of fear, follow a little old lady and her trip into a spooky wood.


Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance by Keith Graves -- One of a growing number of parodies centering around the average lives of....monsters. This one is fun!


Vunce Upon a Time by  J. Otto Seibold and Siobhan Vivian -- A quirky vegetarian vampire who loves candy, stumbles upon a sweet tooth's favorite holiday, Halloween! A wonderful story about being open minded.


The Monsters' Monster by Patrick McDonnell -- A group of monsters aim to create the "biggest, baddest" monster in the history of monsters, what they actually create is someone a bit different! A wonderful lesson on the importance of caring, politeness, and being grateful. Written and illustrated by the award-winning comic strip creator, Patrick  McDonnell of Mutts fame.

Early Literacy Tip: Nursery Rhyme Time!

Did you know that everytime you sing Humpty Dumpty or Mary Had a Little Lamb, you are actually giving your baby a head start on their literacy skills? When reading, children need to decode both the words and the storyline at the same time, and this can be hard for new readers. Once children learn that that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, it gives them an opportunity to anticipate what might happen next, using the illustrations and actions as clues.


Giving children experiences with story arcs and patterns before they become readers is one way to give them a little head start with their literacy skills. Songs such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Jack & Jill and Little Bo Peep are great examples of these pre-reader mini-stories you can share with your child.


Next time you are in the library, look for one of these titles to take home with you. Don't forget about our baby/toddler storytimes for more ideas and activities to help turn your little one into a lifelong reader.



The Nursery Rhyme Book cover30 Nursery Rhyme Songs coverMy First Nursery Rhymes coverMy Very First Mother Goose cover

Halloween Fun at your Library!

kids in halloween costumesWould You Let A Ghost Borrow Your Library Book? Story and Craft for Kids


Would you like your children to love books? We would too! Come to this special storytime and craft. You and your child will listen to stories and make a felt ghost bookmark to take home. For ages 4 – 8.





Halloween Story Times and Crafts

Get in the Halloween spirit with this special storytime for young children. Enjoy books and songs about all things Halloween, and make a cute pumpkin craft.


Halloween Parades

Join us for a fun Halloween Parade and trick or treating through the library!


Costume Contests

Don't forget to dress up! 


Haunted Houses

Come to the Haunted House… if you dare! A chilling, thrilling experience featuring some special tricks and treats!


7th Annual Harvest Festival and Holiday Boutique at the Almaden Community Center and Library

Spooktacular Family Fun! Come in your most spooktacular outfits and take part in costume parades through out the day.


Check out Halloween from previous years at the library on Flickr!

Funny Books about Awkward Boys

Do you know someone who likes to read funny books about awkward boys? Here are some great titles for kids in grades 2-4:


Stuart's Cape book jacketAlvin Ho book jacketMy Rotten Life book jacketMelonhead book jacketKnucklehead book jacket


My Rotten Life by David Lubar: Sick of getting picked on, Nathan Abercrombie uses a serum that is supposed to block emotions, but instead it turns him into a partial zombie. Adventures involving half-dead body parts and staying up late ensue... 


Stuart's Cape by Sarah Pennypacker: Moving to a new home and starting third grade at a new school has Stuart worried, until he realizes all he needs to overcome his fears is a magical superhero cape. This quirky beginning chapter book makes a great read-aloud!


Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look: Alvin Ho is afraid of everything! In fact, school is so scary it leaves him unable to say a single word. This laugh-out-loud book is great for reluctant readers.


Melonhead by Katy Kelly: Adam "Melonhead" Melon has a knack for getting into trouble. He loves to invent things, but his inventions--including his science fair project-- never quite turn out as planned.


Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka: The popular author of books, such as Time Warp Trio and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, chronicles funny (and sometimes awkward) moments in his childhood.


Do you have any books to add to this list?

Talk Like A Pirate Day!

How I Became a Pirate coverAvast, me hearties! This Thursday, Septembarrrr 19th, be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Are ye scallywags prepared?


First ye need to pick up one of me favorite books, How I Became A Pirate by the lovely Melinda Long. This tale will bring a tear to ye eyes, as well as a grand sense adventure. Perfect for yer little ones, and ye'll be yammerin' like a pirate in no time.


Anotharrr favorite of mine be The Pirate Cruncher, written and illustrated by the talented landlubber, Jonny Duddle. After this, you'll no longer want to dress like a landlubber.


Fer the teens (and adults if they like), Pirates! : the true and remarkable adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington, is a true tale about women with pirattitude!

And if yer thirsting fer some more adventarrrr, I reccomend anything from the Cap'n Gideon Defoe, such as The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists.


I then whole heartedly demand that ye get yer family together and watch The Pirates!: Band of Misfits. Done by arrrmazing folks at Aardman Animations, this film will make pirates of all ages roar with laughter. Have yer own ham night and feast like a pirate!


There ye go! Ye now have what ye need to walk, talk, and eat like a pirate! But most importantly, have fun! Pirates are all about havin' fun. And if ye be needing more, check out the endless treasure trove of pirate bounty at ye public library. Yarrrrrr!

Posted by J Novak on Sep 18, 2013 | Comments: 1 |

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