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I despise cancelling any storytime but especially Toddler Time for babies through 3-ish. Most of the kids are between 12-24 months, and I appreciate (and vividly remember) how difficult it is for someone that age to change gears quickly and deal with disappointment.
So I never, ever, ever cancel Toddler Time unless I have to. Which includes getting caught at a specialist’s appointment. There should have been plenty of time for the appointment (and you know how specialists are; you’ve got to take the appointment they’ve got open). But there wasn’t.
Back at work that day, I learned how the morning had gone without me. There were no tears, no fits, no meltdowns–not even a wimper. Why?
Because the parents stepped in and did it themselves!
They did rhymes, fingerplays, songs, circle games. They even read a book. They did this all with no planning and no advanced warning. And their kids had a great time!
These parents come week after week. They sit in the circle with their children and do all this “silly” stuff with smiles on their faces and excitement in their attitudes. I affirm nearly every week how important the time is for language development–and how they need to do the same outside of the library, at home, in the car, in the doctor’s waiting room, at the restaurant. Learn here and do there is the message. Learn here and do there is the purpose of Toddler Time.
What a terrific bunch of parents!
It’s Saturday, mom and dad have brought their whole crew of kiddos into the library. All the kids in their range of ages are off getting their books.
At one point I look up from working the front desk and there mom is, holding the youngest one (about two months old, much younger than the picture!) up to her shoulder.
Standing behind that shoulder is dad–with a board book, slowly flipping through the pages one by one so the baby can look at them! (Which, by the way, she is doing.)
That little girl and all her siblings will be readers!
New seasons are a great conversation starter with children. For young children, new words they hear develop meaning easiest when they are paired with direct experiences. You talk about a dog. They see a dog, pet a dog, and hear a dog bark. The word dog develops meaning–and that meaning helps create long-lasting memory of the word.
It’s easy to give children needed direct experiences of seasonal changes in the spring, summer, and fall. It’s harder in the winter when the weather really makes it enticing to stay indoors.
Yet children need the hands-on experiences. They need to feel the cold air, touch the snow, pull their coats tight against the wind, see the frost on the grass and trees. Through direct experiences, they can then “make sense” of your words as you talk about and describe the seasons.
Remember, it’s all new to them! So bundle up and head outside!
I just finished teaching a workshop on early literacy tips, those nuggets of info and encouragement that you “give” adults when you “do” an early literacy storytime. Giving tips, in whatever format (printed, oral, conversation, etc.), is one of the elements that distinguishes a “regular” storytime from an “early literacy” storytime.
Where do you find these tips? One of my favorite new sources for them is a blog call Early Brain Insights. It’s not specifically about early literacy but it is about early development. Many of the posts are about language development and even reading. Each post is just a few sentences, a perfect length for sharing in storytime.
They come to me through the wonders of RSS and my Google reader. Check them out; maybe they’ll help you too.
If you’re happy and you know it–speak your first word in Toddler Time! Oh my, what a moment! We were all singing and had reached the “Hooray!” point–when out of the blue, a just barely walking kiddo said, “Hap-py!” I’m not making this up.
We read Choo Choo Clickety-Clack by Mayo and we all got louder and louder and louder. So many great sounds to make in that book! So good for phonological awareness! So fun!
And Ring Around the Rosies was a winner as well. Lots and lots of giggles. And when the little boy with some social struggles grabbed his dad’s hand to join in–well, we did it again! We do Rosies with two verses (scroll down the column on the left to listen) and today there were children anticipating what comes next! Another name for “what comes next” is anticipation, which leads to making predictions and later reading comprehension, and sequencing, which leads to understanding how letters go together to make words (and that was the early literacy TIP for the day).
Betcha didn’t know you could have all that in twenty minutes of fingerplays and singing and a dash of reading!
Nothing but awesomeness!
- Snow Bears by Waddell (the kids get soooo tickled with the baby bears)
- Snowmen at Night by Buehner (this one always makes the kids think, hmmm, I wonder if….)
- Listen, Listen by Gershator (covers all the seasons with lots of good sounds for phonological awareness building)
- The Snowy Day by Keats (click here and give a listen for one reason why I love this story).
We also did these rhymes & fingerplays:
- Here is a snowman
- Snow is falling
- The day is cloudy
I’ll record and post those late on Friday when it’s quiet here in the office.
Finally, the Early Lit TIP is:
- Many fingerplays help with sequencing skills–and sequencing helps with telling and reading stories later.
Have fun and stay warm!
It was created in Publisher and printed on card stock. I stuck a magnet strip on the back (the kind you buy in a roll at a craft department).
It also makes an easy visual for talking to any adult about early literacy. Non-English speaking parents and low-literacy parents are also a great audience. It is very reassuring and encouraging to them to learn that there ARE things they can do to help their children be ready for learning to read and write.
Click here or scroll down the left column to click for a larger version. Feel free to use, giving credit as able and appropriate (a referral to the blog is a good credit giving method ).
The American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library website has taken all the work and worry out of the process for you!
Research based tips with scripts have been written for all six early literacy skill areas. They are available on the website free for your use. Stories, rhymes, and songs are suggested and tips are organized by age groups as well (babies to 2 year olds, two’s and three’s, four’s and five’s).
As with all teaching helps, you do not have to feel locked in by the script. Try it in your own words. Adapt it to your audience. And keep your eyes open for when “teachable TIP moments” happen–and point them out! They are some of the most exciting (oh, this stuff really happens! it really works!).
Now the bad news. I find them incredibly difficult to find on the website. So here are the links to take you there.
What can I say? tips (all ages)
Early Talkers tips (birth to 2)
Talkers tips (2 to 3)
Pre-readers tips (4 to 5)
When a baby’s eyes get big, they try to move arms & legs, and wiggle or bounce, it means they are interested in what you’re doing. If they are interested, then they are learning. So whatever it is, keep it up!
I saw this in action at Toddler Time this past week. Watch and you’ll see it too!
(And when baby”s movements become squirmy, distracted, or of the turning away variety, it means they have had enough and it’s time to move on to something else.)
Changes happen almost daily in the fall. Help kids notice them and then talk about them to build vocabulary and narrative skills.
With Halloween just over and Thanksgiving on the way, here’s the TIP I’m sharing:
Celebrating and talking about holidays helps kids build vocabulary and narrative skills. They also build background knowledge for later learning in school.
Despite having sleet here in the Valley this morning (sheesh!), we had “all things fall” storytime.
Here’s what was included:
- The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
- I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli
- Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond (not fall, just for fun)
- Old Bear by Kevin Henkes (my extra, just in case book)
We did rhymes & fingerplays (scroll down left column for words and audio):
- Whisky, Frisky Squirrel (displayed a picture of squirrel with nuts)
- Five Little Leaves (five leaves taped to white board with tree trunk and branches drawn in)
- I’m an Orange Pumpkin (sung to tune of I’m a Little Teapot).
Early Literacy TIP: Changes happen almost daily in the fall. Help kids notice them and talk about them, building vocabulary and narrative skills.