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Early Literacy Foundations Part 5: Print Awareness


In this fifth blog post, we will explore Print Awareness.

For previous blog posts in this series, please see Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four


What is print awareness?

Print awareness means being aware of printed text and understanding that the text has meaning. It also includes knowing how to handle a book.

 

Why is it important?

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.

 

How can I help my child develop print awareness?

 

Book Handling

Before reading together, explain the different parts of a book.

  • front cover
  • back of the book
  • right side up vs. upside down
  • point out the title and author

Eventually your child will be able to answer questions such as:

  • Where's the front cover?
  • Where's the title?
  • Which way does the book go?
  • Can you open the book and turn to the first page?

Fingertracking

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.

 

Everyday Life

Point out print that exists in the real world:

  • Road signs
  • Billboards
  • Price tags
  • Receipts

Create a print rich environment around the home by labeling household objects.

For example, print and tape up signs for:

  • Window
  • Refrigerator
  • Cabinet
  • Chair

Turn everyday activities into opportunities to reinforce print awareness.

  • Before grocery shopping trips, write a list together and explain what you are doing. "We need milk, so I am going to write milk here on our shopping list." You can even spell the word out as you write.
  • When eating out, explain that the words on the menu represent different food choices.
  • Use a recipe to cook something together. Say it aloud as you go through the recipe step by step, and have your child help you collect the ingredients.

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!

 

Resources:

 

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.

 

Easy-Peasy Recipes and Kids Cook 1-2-3 are great books to use to cook with your child. They have great pictures and easy recipes that will help you get started in using print when cooking.

 Cover for Easy Peasy Recipescover for kids cook 1 2 3

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!

 Cover for Maisy bakes a cakecover for bunny cakes

Flight 1-2-3 and Backseat A-B-See are wonderful books that can introduce your child to road signs and other forms of print and symbols in everyday life.

Cover for flight 1 2 3Cover for backseat A B See

 

Keep an eye out for the next and final blog post of Early Literacy Foundations, Part 6: Letter Knowledge.



Catch a Beat - Multicultural Music and Dance for Children - Música y Danza Multicultural para Niños


Treble Clef ImageCome to the Biblioteca Latinoamericana on Thursday, February 20 2014 at 10:30 am for a special program for children and families.  Music and dance educator Tina Rogers presents a lively movement program that incorporates a variety of music and dance styles. Feel the rhythm and get ready to move! This program is recommended for children ages 4 and up and their families.  This program is sponsored by Los Amigos de la Biblioteca Latinoamericana.  (Friends of the Biblioteca Latinoamericana)

 

Vengan a la Biblioteca Latinoamericana jueves, el 20 de febrero 2014 a las 10:30 am para un programa especial para niños y sus familias.  Educadora de música y danza Tina Rogers presentará un programa de movimiento vivo que incorpora una variedad de estilos de música y danza.  ¡Siente el ritmo y preparate para mover! Especialmente para niños de 4 años y adelante.   Este evento es posible gracias a la generosidad de Los Amigos de la Biblioteca Latinoamericana



Early Literacy Foundations Part 4: Narrative Skills


In this fourth part of Early Literacy Foundations, we will explore Narrative Skills.

For previous blog posts in this series, please see Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

 

What are narrative skills?

Narrative skills include the ability to describe things, the ability to tell a story, and the ability to follow a story that someone else is reading or telling. This includes understanding a sequence of events (first, middle, last) and being able to predict what will happen next.

 

Why are narrative skills important?

Narrative skills allow a child to develop their oral language skills as well as their comprehension of what others are saying or reading. Being able to follow a story, and being able to interpret and understand what is being read, are linked with being able to read. These skills are foundational for general reading comprehension and have implications for being able to listen and understand what a teacher is saying in a classroom or what is written in the instructions of an assignment or project, later in life.

 

How can I help my child develop their narrative skills?

 

Activities using prediction

Ask questions that provoke your child to predict what will happen next. This can be done when reading together or in everyday life. Questions like: "Look the cup of milk is on the edge of the table, what do you think will happen if someone bumps it?" will help your child begin to think about cause and effect and be able to verbalize a sequence of events.

 

Summarizing

Ask questions after reading a book about what happened such as "Can you remember what it was that the girl found in the treasure chest? What happened after she opened the chest? Where did they go after that?". These types of questions will help your child recall what just happened in the book and allow them to work on their oral language skills as well as their comprehension of the book that was just read. Help your child along in re-telling the chain of events from the book.

Even in everyday life, something as simple as asking your child to recall what they did today can help develop narrative skills. Get the whole family involved and take turns having each family member describe their day at the dinner table.

 

Storytelling

Cover for show me a storyTelling stories together is a great way to develop those narrative skills, work on oral language skills and use our creativity and imagination! Making storytelling kits can be a great craft project to do together as well. A random collection of small objects (a key, a stuffed animal, a shoe, a box) can be a great starting point for any number of creative stories. You can also use object flash cards! Have your child pick five at random and help them create a story using those objects. Help them along by giving them a leading sentence or two: "Once upon a time, the child picked up a magical stick, and then..."

 

For other storytelling kit ideas, Show Me A Story by Emily Neuberger is a great book full of creative storytelling activities.

 

Another great tool for storytelling is the wordless picture book. Books such as Where's Walrus, Flotsam, and Higher! Higher! have little or no words and allow you (with the help of your child) to provide the narrative. Make sure that you spend a good amount of time on each page really explaining what is going on and asking questions about what your child thinks is happening. Take turns on each page describing what is happening and what the characters might be saying. Without printed words there are many possibilities and opportunities to work on those narrative skills.

Cover for where's walrusCover for flotsamCover for Higher Higher

 

Resources:

Cover for baby read aloud basicsIn addition to the many wordless picture books in our collection,Cover for the read-aloud handbook

the San Jose Public Library has a wide variety of resources to assist you in helping your child develop his/her narrative skills. Titles such as Baby Read-Aloud Basics and The Read-Aloud Handbook can give you strategies for purposeful reading aloud and ideas for making every book you read with your baby or child meaningful and fun!

 

Keep an eye out for the next installment of Early Literacy Foundations, where we will talk about the fifth early literacy skill: Print Awareness.



Story Times ~ Cuentos @ Biblioteca Latinoamericana


Bi-lingual story times are a great way to learn a new language.   Children and their families are invited to attend bi-lingual Spanish-English story times at the Biblioteca Latinoamericana.  Participants can listen to stories, sing songs, and meet new friends. 

 

La hora de cuentos bilingües es una gran manera de aprender una nueva idioma. Invitamos a todos niños y sus familias en asistir en la hora de cuentos bilingües (español-inglés), en la Biblioteca Latinoamericana. Los participantes pueden escuchar cuentos, cantar canciones, y conocer a nuevos amigos.

 

Story Time BearTuesdays / los martes – 6:00 PM

Bilingual (English/Spanish) Family Storytime with Stay and Play

Hora de cuentos bilingüe para familias con Quédate a Jugar

 

Third Tuesday of the month / El tercer martes del mes – 6:00 PM

Inclusive Storytime with Stay & Play

Hora de Cuentos Inclusivo con Quédate a Jugar

 

Thursdays / los jueves – 10:30 AM

Bilingual (English/Spanish) Pre-School Storytime with Stay and Play

Hora de cuentos bilingüe para niños de edad preescolarcon Quédate a Jugar

 

For more information, please call the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch at 1-408-294-1237

 

Para más información, favor de llamar a la Biblioteca Latinoamericana al 1-408-294-1237



Early Literacy Foundations Part 3: Vocabulary


In this third part of Early Literacy Foundations, we will explore Vocabulary.

(Have you read Part 1: Print Motivation or Part 2: Phonological Awareness yet?)

 

What is vocabulary?

Vocabulary in the early years of a child’s life includes knowing the names of things, concepts, feelings and ideas.

 

Why is it Important?

 

Give Your Child Their Best Chance at Learning How to Read

Vocabulary building is an essential early literacy skill for learning how to read. It is easier to learn how to read when the words being sounded out (or the sight words being recalled) are familiar to the learner.

 

Kindergarten Readiness

It is generally accepted that children entering school need to know between 3,000 and 5,000 words. Knowledge of words and concepts is a key component of kindergarten readiness.

 

Overall Academic Success

Studies have shown that the number of words a child is exposed to in their early years is a strong predictor of later academic success. It will be much easier for a child to become excited about an assignment if they are not struggling with reading and comprehending the instructions.

 

Social-Emotional Development

A key factor in social emotional development is a child’s ability to express oneself. Children with strong vocabularies have a wider variety of words to choose from when expressing themselves, not just as a child, but also as an adult. It will also help with developing a sense of empathy when they have read and learned about a wide variety of emotions. They will be able to understand when someone is lonely or overwhelmed if they have knowledge of those emotions.

 

Lifelong Learning

The act of vocabulary-building encourages lifelong learning. By exploring new words, subjects and ideas together, you can pique your child’s interest in any number of possibilities in this great big world! Who knows, by reading about planets, stars and meteors, you might be inspiring the next astronaut or, by reading about orcas, humpback whales and giant squid, you might be sparking the interest of the world’s next great marine biologist!

 

How can I help my child build their vocabulary?

 

Oral Language

Talking and reading to your baby and child is extremely important. What better way to help increase your child’s vocabulary than by sharing your own word knowledge with them? It is never too early to start talking with your child. Before your child is even able to talk, you are helping their cognitive development by exposing them to language.

 

DVDs and books for introducing new words and feelings to your baby:

Cover for Action WordsCover for Bee Smart BabyCover for How Does Baby Feel?Cover for First 100 Words

  

Repetition

Once they are able to speak, it is important to give your child many opportunities to learn new words. Repetition reinforces words they've heard once or twice, so make sure you repeat yourself even if it feels redundant. Have them repeat after you, even if you don't think they can pronounce the word perfectly yet. The goal is to get them to experiment saying different sounds and words and will help with their language development even if they don’t master the word right away.

 

Non-fiction Reading

Cover for Lots of SpotsIncorporating non-fiction books when reading out loud to your child. Often non-fiction books have a wider variety of vocabulary words and bigger words as well. Do not shy away from big words, either. Children are capable of understanding more than we sometimes give them credit for. Go ahead and tell them the full details: "Do you see that vehicle? It is called an excavator! Do you see the bucket that excavates the dirt out of the ground?" By pointing out these things, especially in everyday life, they will begin to grasp the meaning over time, if not right away.

 

Cover for InsectBooks like Lots of Spots by Lois Ehlert will introduce your child to different kinds of animals and help your child focus on the details that separate different kinds of the same animal. For example, instead of just saying “bird”, the author shows us that there are many different kinds of birds: Chickadee, Robin, Bluejay, Hairy Woodpecker and Loon. DK Press' Eyewitness Books are great for kids who are a little bit older. They have full color photographs and break down non-fiction subjects in great detail. Perfect for learning lots of new words!

 

Activity Books, Nursery Rhymes and Picture Dictionaries

Ready, Set, Preschool has a wide variety of activities, stories and poems that are great for vocabulary building. It is also wonderful for working on any of the other early literacy skills!

 

My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie and Rosemary Wells and Mother Goose's Storytime Nursery Rhymes by Axel Scheffler are great for teaching well loved and well-known nursery rhymes to your child. Nursery Rhymes often have interesting and different words than aren't commonly used in everyday language and can help expand your child's vocabulary. Folk, Fairy Tale and Nursery Rhyme Books are great for introducing new words to your little one and allowing them to learn through context. "Little Miss Muffet sat on a Tuffet", for example, will teach your child what a tuffet is, without having to explain it!

 

The American Heritage Picture Dictionary will allow you to turn to any random page and learn about many exciting things! Picture dictionaries are great for making connections between the words and the pictures. The I Spy series of picture books will provide you and your child with hours of fun with each page chock full of hundreds of obscure objects, both large and small.

Cover for Ready Set PreschoolCover for my very first mother gooseCOver for mother gooses storytime nursery rhymesCover for American Heritage Picture Dictionary

Keep an eye out for the next post in this series, Early Literacy Foundations Part 4, where we will explore Narrative Skills.



Early Literacy Tip: Read Aloud


Reading aloud promotes listening skills in young children. When they hear you talk, they pick up on the rules of grammar, sentence structure and the basics of conversation long before they are ready to start reading. You can read anything and everything, from the newspaper to the back of the cereal box.

 

Practice reading at home or attend one of our regular story times, which will be starting up again in January.

 

Cambrian Branch Storytime Schedule

Mondays @ 10:30am – Music and Movement

Tuesdays  @ 11:30am – Preschool Storytime & Stay and Play

Thursdays @ 10:30am – Baby/Toddler Storytime & Stay and Play

 

Almaden Branch Storytime Schedule

Wednesdays @ 11:15am – Preschool Storytime & Stay and Play

Thursdays & Fridays @ 10:30am – Toddler Storytime & Stay and Play

 

In addition to our regularly scheduled storytimes, look for our special events and programs on our online calendar.



Early Literacy Foundations Part 2: Phonological Awareness


In this second part of Early Literacy Foundations, we will explore Phonological Awareness.

If you would like to read part one of Early Literacy Foundations first, please read it here.

 

What does it mean?

Phonological awareness is being conscious of letter sounds. It means understanding that those symbols on the page (letters) represent sounds that we then speak. Being aware that words are a combination of sounds and that words rhyme that have the same letter combinations are both part of phonological awareness. 

 

Why is it important?

You need to have phonological awareness in order to be able to sound out words. Children who do not develop a strong phonological awareness often have trouble learning how to read.

 

How can I help my child develop phonological awareness?

Alphabet books (see the concept book area at the library), can help your child develop this skill by focusing on one letter at a time. While reading these books to your child, have them repeat you as you say the name of each letter and sound it out. 

 

Cover of Sesame Street ABC book

Another type of book that can help with developing phonological awareness are word books, such as the Sesame Street ABC book. These types of books often have many objects on the page that all start with the same letter. They also have the printed word on the page next to the object so that they can make the connection between the words on the page, the obects, and the letter that you are focusing on.

 

 

The Cat in the Hat coverRhyming books like the Cat in the Hat, are great for introducing how words with the same letter combinations can rhyme. As you point to the words, you can have your child repeat the words after you. By showing them how the words look and sound similar, you are helping them develop this early literacy skill.

 

 

 

 

Resources:

cover for Letter sounds dvdThe San Jose Public Library has a wide variety of resources available to help you develop phonological awareness with your child.  Dvds such as: Meet the Phonics: Letter Sounds, Pocket Snails Aquaphonic Adventure, and Rock 'N Learn Letter Sounds (pictured left) are great for getting your child started on developing an awareness of letter sounds.

 

 

We also have a large selection of ABC books (located in the concept book area), such as Alpha Oops! by Alethea Kontis & Bob KolarZ is for Moose by Kelly Bingham & Paul Zelinsky, Richard Scarry's ABC Word Book and ABC by Bruno Munari.  

 

Book Cover for Alpha oopsCover for Z is for Moosebook cover for abc word bookbook cover for abc

 

 

Another great resource to ask a librarian about is our bilingual kit called Books and More!. These kits contain books, DVDs, toys and tips, all for working with your child on early literacy skills.

 

 

Check back next week when we will explore the next early literacy skill: Vocabulary!



Children’s Music Even A Grown-Up Could Love


Dan Zanes and Friends: Catch That Train!Elizabeth Mitchell, You Are My Little BirdSarah Lee Guthrie & Family, Go WaggalooMoona Luna, Vamos, Let's Go!

Sharing music and singing with your child aren’t just tons of fun but also great ways to get your child ready to read. Every Child Ready to Read®, a national early literacy program, recommends singing with your child often because it:

 

  • Helps children learn new words and concepts
  • Slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words and learn about syllables
  • Develops listening and memory skills

For a lot of parents, the trick is finding children’s music you can enjoy as much as they do. Luckily, the family music genre, sometimes called Kindie (Kid-Indie), has really taken off in the last few years. It’s music that speaks to children without alienating adults--“age-desegregated” as Dan Zanes, family music artist extraordinaire, calls it. And from personal experience, a lifesaver for long road trips!

 

Here are some of my family’s favorites:

  1. Anything by Dan Zanes is a good bet but especially Family Dance and Catch That Train!
  2. You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell has lovely covers of everyone from the Velvet Underground to Bob Marley
  3. Go Waggaloo by Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family - Sarah Lee Guthrie is the granddaughter of Woody Guthrie and daughter of Arlo Guthrie, who has a guest spot on this album along with family friend, Pete Seeger.
  4. Vamos, Let's Go! by Moona Luna - An amazing Spanish/English bilingual album with songs inspired by 60s girl groups, Latin Music and Rockabilly.
  5. No! by They Might Be Giants - If you know They Might Be Giants' music for adults, it's not a huge stretch to imagine how their quirky sound might appeal to kids too.
  6. Mind of My Own by Frances England, a San Francisco-based musician who often plays in the Bay Area if your child's ready for their first concert.

What are your family’s favorite albums? Let us know in the comments.



Books to Help Raise Responsible Children


 Are you a parent interested in raising emotionally and financially responsible children? Then check out the titles below.

 

P.E.T. cover Positive Discipline for Preschoolers Duct Tape Parenting cover Book cover Raising Financially Fit Kids cover

 

Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Thomas Gordon:  This is the revised addition of an old favorite of many enthusiastic readers, which aims to teach parents to use better communication and less permissiveness to encourage children to own and solve their own problems.  The P.E.T. methods will allow the child to become more responsible in a loving and nurturing environment, resulting in less tantrums and conflict.

 

Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy: This book will teach you how to use kind and firm methods to raise a child who is responsible, respectful, and resourceful. 

 

Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids by Vicki Hoefle:  Also available as an e-book.  The author champions an interesting yet effective approach: “for parents to sit on their hands, stay on the sidelines, even if duct tape is required, so that the kids step up.”  It can be difficult to hold back from immediately satisfying your child’s needs or wants, but the author advocates that is the way to raise responsible kids.

 

The Everything Parent's Guide to Emotional Intelligence in Children: How to Raise Children Who Are Caring, Resilient, and Emotionally Strong by Korrel Kanoy:  Also available as an e-book.  A child's emotional intelligence has been shown to be one of the strongest factors in whether or not that child will be successful later in life. This hands-on guide shows you exactly how to promote core EI skills in your children, and provides you with all you need to help them achieve their greatest potential.

 

Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey:  Also available as an e-book.  This book advises how to raise your children so they will save money and be able to cope financially in life.  It lays out activities that you can do with your child to help prepare him/her for the financial challenges that lie ahead.

 

Tell us what you liked or didn’t like about these books in a comment below.  Want librarian recommended books just for you?  Check out 5forU, a service for readers.



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

Vocabulary

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.

 

Resources:

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!