Help Your Child Get Ready to Read…With Demco’s Upstart and “Every Child Ready to Read”

In our storytime planning, we like to incorporate the “Every Child Ready to Read” 5 pre-literacy practices. These seemingly simple practices help us to model to and encourage parents on how to help their child become a great reader.

Here are those five practices:

1. Talking: Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation.

2. Singing: Singing develops language skills. Slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words. Helps children learn new words and information.

3. Reading: Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading, and motivates children to want to learn to read.

4. Writing: Children become aware that printed letters stand for spoken words as they see print used in their daily lives.

5. Playing: Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. They learn about language through playing as the activities help them put thoughts into words and talk about what they are doing.

As a parent, you can incorporate these five practices very easily in your daily routine!  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Talking:  Keep up conversations as you go about your daily routine, for example, as you walk down the sidewalk, point out a street sign and say “Here’s the name of our street!  It’s called Main Street”.  Or talk about the color socks they are putting on.  Or count the number of crackers or apple slices they are having for a snack.
  2. Singing: Sing familiar songs together – I’ll bet your child sings some storytime songs at home!  Ask him or her to sing it again, or teach it to you.
  3. Reading: It goes without saying that you should be reading to your child every day.  If you haven’t already, enroll your infant-preschool aged child in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
  4. Writing: Drawing, scribbling, and practicing letters all help those emergent fine- motor skills and print recognition.
  5. Playing: This is the work of childhood!  Play with your child often!

If you need more ideas to help you incorporate these five practices into your daily routine, here’s a link to a fun calendar produced by Upstart (part of Demco, a library supply company).  This calendar prompts you to do one fun thing each day of the month that will that will help your child build pre-reading skills:  Daily Fun with Your Little One!

Download a free calendar each month!

Miss Teresa


Fun Music for Kids

I love to incorporate music into my story time sessions, and I think it’s very popular with our attendees, too. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers often tell me their child “has been singing that song all week!”  We know music is fun, but are there other reasons to include music into play?

According to a 2014 article in School Library Journal,  the answer is yes!

The author of that article, Sarah Bayliss, reports that “A growing body of research is affirming the central role of music in early literacy. Librarians are listening—and designing programs with a deep mindfulness of how music supports PreK–learning. Music has been proven to do everything from boosting numeracy to developing empathy among children; from improving speech-language delays to augmenting comprehension. One study from the Music-Science Lab at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev showed that young children who played hand-clapping games had better cognitive and social skills than those who didn’t.”

The article goes on to detail other reasons to include music in programming, complete with online music links, artists and CD’s kids love, and academic resources.  While I found the author’s suggestions to include some fantastic resources, many of which I use, I thought it might be fun to let you know what three of my favorite children’s musicians are! So, in no particular order, here they are, complete with links to our library catalog and YouTube videos as well!

Laurie Berkner

Whaddaya Think of That?

On this album is her famous “I Know a Chicken” song, AKA the Shaky Egg song from storytime!  Pick up any album by Laurie Berkner for a fun time. Or, connect with her via YouTube and sing along to “We Are the Dinosaurs”.  While you’re at it, she also has picture books that you can read and sing along with, such as Pillowland

Jim Gill

Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho

My favorite storytime song on this album is “List of Dances” – it’s a list that is sixteen dances long!  Kids have a great time following along with this one, and after going through all 16, Jim Gill sings that it would be fun to do them again, this time from the bottom to the top.    Click on this link to watch him in concert!  By the way, we are very excited to let you in on a secret ….. Jim Gill will be doing a concert here at the Moline Public Library this summer!  Details coming soon!

Greg and Steve

My all-time favorite song on this album is “The Freeze”.  Click here to listen! I think I like these guys because they’ve been entertaining kids since the late 70’s and early 80’s, but they are still going strong and still relevant!

I hope you check out some of  these kids artists, and if you ever need any other music ideas, just ask one of us in the Children’s Department for suggestions!

Miss Teresa

There’s a Book for That!

From There’s a Book for That

There’s a Book for That! is a really good read on the importance of reading with your child to promote their language and literacy development! Written by a speech pathologist, this article has great talking points across specialties and job titles and should interest all parents as well! This article originally appeared in:

The ASHA Leader, December 2017, Vol. 22, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.22122017.34



Miss Teresa

Book Gift Giving

Books make great gifts for children but it can be difficult to know what is age appropriate, especially if you are not with the child on a regular basis. Going through many pictures books at a bookstore can be a lot of fun but it can also be overwhelming. Below is a guideline to help you in choosing a book for a little one.

For infants to children about 9 months, the word to keep in mind is simple. Their eyesight is developing so books with simple pictures is a must. Look for board books, or books with indestructible pages as babies are reaching out and grabbing. Touch and feel books work great with this age group as are books that feature babies. Simple text and rhythm and rhyme help to keep a child’s interest.

Once the child is crawling and starting to walk—up to 18 months, add books with simple stories with bright illustrations. Rhymes and songs are great to share. As children start to say simple words, find books with objects they can easily find and point to. You’ll probably want to still keep with board books with this age group.

Toddlers are developing their attention span. They like books that have some action in them. Look for books with simple plots, sounds and repetition. They will become more involved in the story, pointing at things, repeating words and asking questions. Books that introduce colors and numbers are good too.

Preschoolers can sit still between 5-10 minutes for a picture book if you have their attention. They are interested in the world around them and are starting to ask questions including for books they want to hear read such as dinosaurs, trucks, trains, TV characters. Sounds, action, repetition are still of interest but you can also start picking out books with more involved plots. Introducing ABC books can be fun for preschoolers as well as some simple information books.

Kindergarteners and older preschoolers will enjoy longer stories, fairytales, and participation books. Your child may enjoy hearing chapter books as well, so starting with chapter books that have some pictures may be a good transition.

The above list is not a hard and fast rule, and you may discover that some books that appeal to Toddlers still have a great appeal to children in Kindergarten. You can also give a favorite book to a child to be shared with them when they are older. What is important, is that you like the book you are giving to the child. After all, you want to share a book you enjoy!

Miss Christina

Learning is Everywhere

December brings a lot of craziness. However, the next time you stop by the library to pick up holiday books or Playaways and Launch Pads for the car rides to relatives, make certain you take a moment to stop by the children’s desk to pick up a free copy of United Way’s new 2018 calendar.

This calendar has a daily activities for you to do with your child, plus tips and suggestions of things you can do to boost you child’s language development to help prepare them for Kindergarten. There is also an animal connect the dot activity for each month to help children develop writing skills. The animals are so cute, my first thought was they would make a great puppet by cutting them out and taping it to a craft stick after each month was over.

What I really like about the calendar is that even though it is meant for the preschoolers, the activities work well for the entire family to do together. Activities like play Hide and Seek, take silly selfies, and go on a scavenger hunt. (If you have troubles with ideas for that last one, ask us for the scavenger hunt kit you can check out from the library.) There are practical things like practice fire safety and washing hands and there are more quiet activities like share a favorite book or practice being quiet for a minute. (No giggling!)

Just like sharing a book, sharing this calendar can be a fun way to help your child mentally and physically develop while bringing your whole family together. Plus, it is a great reminder that learning is everywhere. It doesn’t have to be costly, or time consuming and it can be a lot of fun for everyone. Enjoy!

Miss Christina

Nursery Rhymes and Songs

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. People are gathered together. There’s lots of food, and talking. Unfortunately, your toddler is not happy and ready for a meltdown. It may be because of the obvious hungry, tired and diaper needs changing, or simple overload from so many people and being ignored.

If your usual trick of distraction doesn’t work, try a nursery rhyme or two. I’ve had enormous success with singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with many children. Of course it may be that having a stranger waving her hands and croaking out a tune is  so alien to the child they stop crying in amazement. Or, it may be that a familiar tune has a calming effect and someone else is paying attention to them.

In any case, carrying around an action play or song in your mind is a lot easier than carrying around another toy that could easily be left behind. Get the entire family involved. See who remembers the most rhymes and songs from their childhood. If you can’t remember the words, make some up. You may not have noticed that many of the tunes to nursery rhymes are used over and over. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for example, uses the same tune as the ABC song.  Getting your little one familiar with the tune, puts your child that much closer to learning their ABC’s.

Nursery rhymes and songs also help teach your young  child to hear the beat and rhythm of language which is linked with  the skill of syllable separation and to help teach prediction. Knowledge of nursery rhymes can also be a strong predictor of later reading success. So sing with gusto with the entire family this Thanksgiving. You’ll be doing both you and your child a favor.