Playtime can sometimes be seen as a distraction from the educational lessons of numbers and letters. But play is one of the most valuable ways in which children learn about their world, hone in and define their skills, as well as develop new skills in the process.
For young children, working with crayons and markers is a basic introduction to literacy. They are working on their fine motor skills by learning how to hold onto a writing tool. They are learning brush strokes, which will help with forming letters as they get older. They are learning in an easy and relaxing environment, allowing them to be creative with their designs.
Basic nursery rhymes, fun and silly songs help children develop their narration / storytelling skills. Through nursery rhymes, they learn that stories have a beginning, middle and an end. Singing allows them to develop and learn about concepts outside of their daily experiences.
Play can be done safely in the home, it can also be done outside in parks, grocery stores, the zoo, museums, or even the post office. Every outing has the potential to be a fun and educational venture. By exploring the world around them, children learn about the societal functions of their community as well as their role in the community. They learn about community helpers (police, fireman) local retailers, volunteers, organizations, business, vehicles, buildings, etc. All the details that make up the world around them.
Check out our Discover & Go for free or reduced price tickets to bay Area museums for Bay Area library cardholders.
"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious
learning. Play is really the work of childhood."
- Fred Rogers
Saturday, May 17, 2014
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
1300 Senter Road, San Jose
Join us on Saturday May 17th for Kristi Yamaguchi’s second annual Reading Adventures at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. Joining Kristi to read their favorite childhood books are celebrity authors and athletes like Bob Barner and Dave Keane. While there, experience the zoo’s amazing animal education exhibits and take part in the many literacy-themed stations, including the SJPL table for zoo animal bookmarks! Entertainment will be provided by Disney Jr.’s Choo Choo Soul "with Genevieve!"
All activities are included in the regular park admission rates. For more information, visit:
Recently, I just discovered a fantastic trick to promote reading and discourage viewing on a device: Juvenile Kits, which are audiobooks with an accompanying book. You can borrow them from the library, and they will keep a child busy for 15 minutes to an hour when you need to do something like prepare a meal, take a shower, or get ready to go to work. There are a wide range of books from which to choose, from language material to non-fiction titles. There are picture books, easy readers, or chapter books. Now,instead of allowing my child to watch something, I tell him: "No, you may not watch something, but you may listen to an audiobook and read along." I have found that my child is willing to sit and listen for quite awhile, if you choose the right title. My child loves the title The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean by Alexander McCall Smith. He even wants to listen to it a second time. Some of the audiobooks have great readers, which make the book even more appealing. In addition, the reader never gets tired. I, for one, get tired and sometimes fall asleep before reading too long. This way, my child benefits from a reader who never gets tired and keeps reading chapter after chapter. It also encourages him to keep reading a longer book, which he won't do by himself.
A great non-fiction kit series is: "Read, Listen, and Wonder." Many animals are included in this series: wolves, emperor penguins, octopus, pigs, tiger, and turtles.
For new dads having your first child can be an exciting and exhilarating time, but also one filled with lots of questions. Luckily San Jose Public Library offers a multitude of fun books to help guide you through this stressful time. Here are some books for new dads that will help you out and also help entertain:
Through step-by-step instructions and helpful schematic diagrams, The Baby Owner's Manual explores hundreds of frequently asked questions: What's the best way to swaddle a baby? How can I make my newborn sleep through the night? When should I bring the baby to a doctor for servicing? Whatever your concerns, you'll find the answers here—courtesy of celebrated pediatrician Dr. Louis Borgenicht and his son, Joe Borgenicht. Together, they provide plenty of useful advice for anyone who wants to learn the basics of childcare.
For dads who are excited to be involved with their new baby, but might not quite know where to start, Show Dad How is an ideal resource. From practical to playful, 156 awesome things every new father needs to know--one step at a time. In a series of nearly wordless, highly informative, often hilariously illustrated, step-by-step activities, dads-to-be learn how to do dozens of useful tasks.
Practical advice helping new dads prepare for the biggest event of their lives. So your partner's pregnant? If you're like 99% of the male population, two words will immediately have sprung to mind: great and arrrgghhhh! Don't panic, you won't be the first to freak out at the good news, and this handy little guide is here to talk you though everything that's going to happen in the nine months before the baby is born and the first year after the birth. Written with the dad in mind, it's full of great tips to ease your nerves, fill you with confidence, and make it sound like you know what you're doing when you talk to other new parents .
When a family pet dies it can be a sad and confusing time for your child. The following books are resources you can use to help your child cope with the loss of their beloved pet.
When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers is a useful book for explaining the loss of a pet to young children. In his usual warm tone, Fred "Mr." Rogers explains plainly the feelings of loss that accompany the death of a pet and how these feelings are normal to have. Recommended for ages 5-8.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst deals with how a family chooses to remember their family pet, a cat named Barney. Recommended for ages 6-9.
Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas deals with the story of a young girl and her dog Lulu. As Lulu becomes older and weaker the young girl must learn to accept the possibility of the dog's death. After Lulu's passing, the girl cherishes their time together and learns that even though Lulu is gone, she continues to live on in her heart. Recommended for ages 3-6.
It can be scary stepping into the library and seeing shelves upon shelves of books and trying to decide which one is right for your child.
This is a brief guide on selecting age appropriate books for your infant. Note that these are suggestions. All children are different. Children of the same age will handle the same book differently. Don’t give up after the first reading. A child’s brain is constantly in motion; thinking, analyzing and deciphering the text and illustrations they see. Repetition is one of the key ways that children learn. Even if you read the same book every single day to your infant, you are putting them on the path towards literacy and a love of learning.
Join us and The San Pedro Square Market every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. as we do a special weekly series for parents and their children. Dance, sing and move along to a variety of music and in English and other languages.
Also, interact with fun educational activities that incorporate scarves, bean bags, rhythm sticks and more!
For a fun activity you can do at home, take a classic nursery rhyme like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and turn it into your own. All you have to do is alter a few words to the tune of the song.
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.
Try swapping locations and actions with words to match whatever activity you have planned for the day.
"Ride, ride, ride your bike
quickly down the street,
"drive, drive, drive the car
quickly down the street"
"eat, eat, eat your lunch
slowly at the table"
For extra lyrics along with a funny story, check out Iza Tripani's book rendition of this classic song.
Letter knowledge includes recognizing the letters of the alphabet and knowing their names.
The first step toward developing phonological awareness (an awareness of letter sounds), starts with letter knowledge. These skills are necessary for learning how to read.
Activities that have your child focus on one letter at a time are great for building letter knowledge.
It's never too early to begin working on early literacy skills with your child! Here are some hardpage books that would be great for reading with your baby:
Books that focus on one letter at a time are great for teaching letter knowledge. Check out these books in the "My Sound Box" series:
In conjunction with books, DVDs such as Leap Frog Letter Factory are great for learning about letters. Other books like Kindergarten Alphabet Activities and Spectrum Learning Letters are also great for building and expanding letter knowledge.
To experience the six early literacy skills in action, visit your local branch for a storytime, music and movement class or early learning readiness program. If you'd like help finding more information and resources about developing early literacy skills with your child, drop in to any one of our 23 locations and ask for a librarian!
Print awareness means being aware of printed text and understanding that the text has meaning. It also includes knowing how to handle a book.
Recognizing that those shapes on the page are actually words and not just part of the picture, is an important first step in learning how to read.
Before reading together, explain the different parts of a book.
Eventually your child will be able to answer questions such as:
While reading together it is important to fingertrack (drag your finger underneath the words as you read them). This will start to develop your child's awareness that what you are saying is what is represented by the words on the page.
Point out print that exists in the real world:
Create a print rich environment around the home by labeling household objects.
For example, print and tape up signs for:
Turn everyday activities into opportunities to reinforce print awareness.
All of these activities are great ways to help your child understand that those shapes are letters, which make up words and words have meaning!
The following items in the San Jose Public Library Collection can help reinforce print awareness. Click on the pictures below to view the items in our catalog.
Reading books like Maisy Bakes A Cake and Bunny Cakes, can be a great way to show your child how someone can follow the directions of a recipe or use a shopping list at the grocery store, without having to do all the work yourself!
Keep an eye out for the next and final blog post of Early Literacy Foundations, Part 6: Letter Knowledge.