Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zero to Three Releases Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight

Screen time for young children is a hot button topic. Research shows that what and how a screen is used is as important as when and what age. Zero to Three has just released  "Screen Sense:  Setting the Record Straight—Research-based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under 3 Years Old. This new free resource, written in partnership with leading researchers in the field of media and young children, is an authoritative review of what is known about the effect of screen media on young children’s learning and development.  It is designed to serve as a tool for guiding parents and professionals in making informed decisions about screen media use."

There are several additional resources, including a five myths infographic and the full version of the white paper available on the Zero to Three website.

Get Smart!

If you are like me, learning new ways and being inspired by my peers is what I love best in my library practice.

The Spring 2015 (well in WI, spring also includes a healthy dose of winter) schedule of UW-Madison's Continuing Education courses is out and it is filled with youth services folks from WI (and many YSS members!) presenting online courses with content of value to everyone working with kids-  whether you work in Wisconsin or not!

Here, for your edification, in calendar order are some great learning choices! Registration is open now; costs are reasonable and learning potential is unlimited!

Power Children's Programming - on a Budget
January 26-March 5
Strategic thinking and savvy tips combine with crowd-sourced ideas from students to make programming ideas and planning a snap. Everyone wins. Disclosure - taught be me!

Connecting Teens with the Best in New Teen Lit
February 10-March 21
Ruhama Kordatzky-Bahr returns with her powerful and friendly window into the world of recent teen books. Always a worthwhile course - with the bonus of gaining chops in booktalking!

Exploring South Asia through Children's and YA
February 23-March 20
Wisconsin's own Svetha Hetzler and the dynamic Rachel Weiss (THE founder and tireless advocate of the new South Asia Book Award) open up a world of books that feature children from a part of our world that we all need to discover. Global power!

Child Development, Library Space and Behavior: Set Up Your Library for Success
You've read her blog, you've heard her present at workshops and conferences, now get some direct peer-to-peer learning from our colleague Sara Bryce (aka S. Bryce Kozla; aka PLSanders). She breaks down spaces, behaviors and gives brilliant tips on making library use by kids a forever win-win.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Playing with Numbers

Math and number literacy is a part of the whole STEAM movement and an important part of early literacy. A Wisconsin-based resource is Math at Play with a website full of activities, games, resources, picture book lists, and multimedia to help those who work with children under five to play with math.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Shout-Out for Amy Koester's Heroes! A Workshop

About 75 librarians from several library systems attended South Central Library System's SLP workshop presented by Amy Koester from the Skokie Public Library who blogs as the Show Me Librarian. Amy was kind enough to share her resources and slides on her blog. More than just crafts, Amy shared her philosophy of programming which is low-key, adaptable to multiple uses, and allows for kids and teens to tune in to what interests them. Her resources looked at this summer's theme "Every Hero has a Story" from an Unprogramming and STEAM/maker perspective.
The wild guests outside the window. Photo credit: Shawn Brommer

Friday, November 14, 2014

Developmentally Appropriate Art Exploration

Art begets writing and writing and reading go hand-in-hand. When children first learn to hold a crayon or a marker, they are taking some of their first steps towards writing. Zero to Three provides a useful overview of the stages in children's artistic development and how these skills promote writing readiness. Just as with other aspects of child development, the ages given are a range and children may reach different stages at different times. Every child follows their own timetable. This information can be helpful in creating process oriented art activities in the library as a program or as a storytime craft experience. View the Learning to Write and Draw article here.

Finished watercolor doodle art project. Photo credit: Sarah Cournoyer
Intent on exploring the art experience. Photo credit: Sarah Cournoyer
More art resources:

Dresser Public Library has an Artsy Smartsy arts-based early literacy program that Tiffany Meyer shared about during the UnStorytime Programming for Preschoolers session at the Wisconsin Library Association's 2014 Conference. View the session slides here.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children has a great article on How Process Art Experiences Support Preschoolers explaining the characteristics of process-oriented art vs. product-oriented art in a bullet-point list including tips, ideas, and further resources.
The Artful Parent has many ideas that translate well into a library setting.

Monday, November 10, 2014

LaCrosse Librarians Share the Lowdown on How to Create a FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE!

Those of us lucky enough to attend the It’s Not a Tour—It’s a FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE! session at the 2014 WLA conference got to hear how Sara Bryce, Brooke Rasche, and Linda Jerome of the LaCrosse Public Library have transformed school library visits and were infused with all the enthusiasm they must share with their field trip adventurers!

Weren't there? Went to another session? Well, you're still in luck because Sara Bryce shared the awesomeness along with the fabulous Chuck Norris memes on her blog Bryce Don't Play. Read all about it here and take your school tours to the next level.

They assured us that Field Trip Adventures are possible even for small libraries with a little adaptation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Songs for Storytimes

We know that singing is one of the early literacy practices along with talking, writing, reading, and playing. So where do you find new songs for your storytimes?

Looking for new songs? Want some ideas for incorporating songs into your storytime? has videos of songs, including rhythm stick ideas and some signing on their YouTube channel. Jbrary is the creation of two children's librarians from Canada, Dana and Lindsey, who've assembled a library of storytime resources and even categorized them for us. How about this one called Five Elephants in the Bathtub: A Storytime Flannel Song?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Megan Schliesman Winner of 2014 Intellectual Freedom Award

Megan Schliesman - IF Award Winner 2014
Megan Schliesman, long-time librarian at the Cooperative Children’s Books Center (CCBC) and manager of its intellectual freedom services, is the winner of the 2014 Intellectual Freedom Award. The award is given jointly by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) and the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA). She will be recognized during this year’s WLA conference at the Awards and Honors Reception on Thursday, November 6 which begins at 5:30pm. 
Besides managing the CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services, Schliesman also manages its online forum, “What IF . . . Questions and Answers on Intellectual Freedom.” She currently serves on the American Library Association/Association for Library Service to Children Board, and is past member of the ALA/ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee. She is past chair of the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association’s Intellectual Freedom Special Interest Group, and a past member of the Wisconsin Library Association Intellectual Freedom Round Table board. 
The authors of the nomination letter recommending Schliesman note “Megan exemplifies the spirit of intellectual freedom through her unflagging support for those defending against censorship and her outreach to inform others about intellectual freedom. Being a librarian at the CCBC is more than a job for Megan, it is a calling that she takes seriously. Wisconsin is fortunate to have Megan as an intellectual freedom advocate and defender of minors’ First Amendment right to read." 
Since 2010, WLA and WEMTA have collaborated to give the annual 
intellectual freedom award. This award recognizes the contribution of an individual 
or group who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin. The award is given based on the following criteria: 
  • Role in actively promoting intellectual freedom in their sphere of influence and beyond; 
  • Degree to which an individual or group exemplifies the spirit of intellectual freedom; and 
  • Efforts to promote intellectual freedom and challenge censorship.

         Funding for the award is generously provided by and the Center for Information Policy Research and the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Easy Early Literacy Spaces, Part 2

This post brought to you by Holly Storck-Post, Youth Services Coordinator for Monroe Public Library. 

Desk Display

We used the front of our desk as display space when we were raising butterflies this summer, and I realized it was a great way to get kids and families looking at a display.

The first day that we had the alphabet up, and a toddler was walking up to the desk with his mother and exclaimed, “Mama, sing my abc’s!”

The READ posters were fun because the kids would look from us, to the poster, and back, and try to figure out what they were seeing!

The emotions idea came from here, and it has had a good response. One kid only wanted to name the “positive” emotions (happy, excited, sleepy) and wouldn’t mention the “bad” once (sad, angry, scared). Luckily, he was joined by a parent who picked up on that and talked about it with him.

More Spaces!

These footprints grew out of a desire to fill and empty spot and having something for the slightly older kids to do while a parent was busy with a younger sibling. We are on our second set of footprints, since even laminated footprints get pretty worn out after being stepped on that many times! I was also surprised to find that they get rearranged quite often. One day I came in to find they had turned a corner!

My staff member got the ideas for both our stairs and bathroom from Hennepin County. Again, I added Spanish to the stairs, and we hear the kids coming up and counting on a daily basis. This is one of the additions that I have gotten the most compliments on from community members.

The library I worked at as a page in library school had a growth chart in front of the circ desk, and it was incredibly popular. Kids measured themselves and their families constantly, and I thought it would be a neat addition to our children’s room. We have a library wide mural on one of our walls, painted by a local artist, and I asked her to do the growth chart.

As I was putting up my five practices tips the other day, I realized the singing is something that we do a TON of in programming and less so in the children’s room. Thus was born our “song of the week” station. I put it up on a day I worked alone, and then asked my staff to pretty please play along and sing if anyone asked them. So far I’ve definitely seen parents reading the sign, and the images match my song cube that I take to daycare storytimes, so some kids might start to recognize that!

Check out Easy Early Literacy Spaces, Part 1 for more ideas!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy Early Literacy Spaces, Part 1

This post brought to you by Holly Storck-Post, Youth Services Coordinator at Monroe Public Library.

I started at my current position as Youth Services Coordinator in June, and since then I’ve been adding little early literacy activities and awareness to our children’s section. Some of the things I came up with, a lot of them were suggestions from my amazing staff, and many were inspired by other libraries!

Here is some of what we’re doing. Anything not mine includes a link to the original idea whenever possible!

Early Literacy Tips

This grew out of the idea of posting early literacy tips during storytime. I don’t do our regular in-house storytimes, and I wanted the opportunity to explain why we offer so many different activities. I typed up a TON of tips, some taken straight from ECRR, some adapted from The Early Literacy Kit, and a few more that I specifically wanted to address. I put them in speech bubbles, laminated them, and now I have a backlog that I can pull from every time I change a display or put out a new activity.

Activity Board
The inspiration for this idea originally came from Brooke. I copied her idea, adding in the Spanish language since we have a growing Spanish speaking population and I am working on ways to increase our services to these patrons. At first I just taped it up to the pillar, which quickly failed, so then we added a magnet board in order to have more options.
The next activity at this station was something I came up with for a simple matching game. When I used this game in bilingual storytime, a kid quickly corrected me from “diamond” to “rhombus!”

Play Table

One of my staff who specializes in early literacy saw a post on this blog about a felt table, and suggested that we try it. I covered our table in felt (you need a LOT of tape), and pulled out some of basic felt pieces and wooden props to set out. The kids and families have LOVED this one. One child made us additional props for the animals scene using paper and crayons, and the flowers are getting sorted by color almost daily (on the other days they end up in a big pile on the floor. Those are the days I eat a lot of chocolate).

More ideas for Easy Early Literacy Spaces coming soon!