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Come to Walmart in Alamosa on Thursday, October 8, from 3:30-6:30 p.m.theveryhungrycaterpillarl and be a part of breaking a record!

Jumpstart for Young Children is sponsoring Read for the Record, the one day world-wide reading of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Last year 700,000 children heard Corduroy. This year the goal is for 1 million children to all hear The Very Hungry Caterpillar on one day.

I’ll be at Walmart (one of the sponsors for Read for the Record) in Alamosa from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. reading to all children who want to be a part of the record breaking.

I’ll also have information on early literacy and Southern Peaks’ library services for adults.

Can’t make it to Walmart that day? You can still go to Jumpstart’s website and pledge to read to a child that day.  Every child counts–whether for the record breaking on October 8, or more especially, for the life and blessing they are to us all. Let’s give them the best.

Change a life; read to a child!



Quick, what quote do you remember Mr. Miyagi for in the movie Karate Kid?

You got it! “Wax on, wax off.”

Here are fifteen more. See how many you agree with. (I disagree with Yoda’s. Can you guess what I’d pick?)


In my last post about early childhood education (click here), I talked about the “two buckets”–one for children from deprived environments and one for Dad and sonchildren from “good enough” environments–and how educational needs are different for the two.

This video, Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything, beautifully illustrates the point for the “first bucket” kids, the kids who are doing without the basics and who likely will never regain what’s lost.

It’s only 4 minutes. It’s really well done. Please watch. Please pass it on.

Passionately inspired!


If you’re like most of us, you’re not real accustomed to dealing with what statistics really mean.

This article from the New York Times highlights one of the most misunderstood statistical factors about vaccinations especially the flu vaccine. What does it really mean when someone has a problem after getting a vaccine?

It also reminds us of the hazards of 24/7 news coverage. And the hazards of black and white thinking (all vaccines are good and necessary; all vaccines are bad and unnecessary). I encourage you to read and think about these issues before you need to make a decision.

I am very grateful that this virus has remained mild and not mutated toward the virulent end of the spectrum (especially since one son had it while away from home this summer).  But it is still early in the game and it’s a bit like trying to predict a hurricane. Where, when, how bad, too much, too little, too soon, too late, what are the best steps to take? It’s science at work in the real world, and some of the best of it out there comes from the CDC– but there are limits to human understandings, and decisions can only be made one day at a time and only with the info available right then. Life is still as much art as science.

I am grateful for people who are willing and able to put themselves on the front lines of making these really, really tough judgment calls.



When I stumble across something like this, I just want to pump my fisted armmusical note and yell, “YES!” You can talk all day about why music is important, how cool it is, how important it is to children (not to mention adults), and on and on. Most folks will nod their heads, mostly in agreement, but it’s hard to explain with words in such a way that they truly get it.

Leave it to Bobby McFerrin to make it oh so get-table!

It’s so remarkable–but it happens and it works because it’s part of who we are and how we are wired. Just like language ( 😉 yeah, you wondered when I was going to get to that connection, huh?).

I’ll try to find out more about this conference and Bobby’s part in it, but I gotta finish a workshop!

So just marvel and enjoy!


BTW, a pentatonic scale is composed of five notes, and those five notes can be combined in any fashion and “sound good.”

This is one of the most popular rhymes & fingerplays we do. I think kids really enjoy it because it connects so clearly with their experience during the fall. two leavesJust think about how truly remarkable it is that leaves fall off of trees; there’s no reason to expect that to happen if you’ve never seen it before! 🙂

This fingerplay is also a great example of how kids can learn without being taught. Every time you do it with your child, they will hear the difference between “fives leaves” and “one leaf!” It just works; it’s just that simple!

So have fun! And go find some leaves to rake, gather, observe and have fun with!


If you have a young child and they are prescribed the “liquid” (oral suspension) type of Tamiflu, please read this alert from the CDC and FDA.

Many kids’ liquid medicines are dispensed in milliliters (ml). Tamiflu, however, comes in milligrams (mg) and it should be measured out with a dispenser marked in milligrams (mg).   Do not measure out a mg type prescription using a ml dispenser. It will not be the proper amount as ml and mg are not the same.

If you have questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.


Sometimes, with some folks, you just need a good number to make your point stick.

It’s certainly true in the world of early literacy. How do we get decision makers, purse-string holders, and even parents to listen and pay attention? Reading to children just sounds too easy. It’s so easy that’s it’s hard to imagine that it could really make the huge differences that it does.

That’s where and when I use statistics. And this article from Jumpstart is full of them!

Here’s just a few to get your wheels spinning:

  • Only 18% of Americans know that children who lack early literacy skills are less likely to succeed as adults.
  • Seventy-three percent of Americans wrongly believe that if children enter kindergarten unprepared, they will catch up in elementary school.
  • Research proves that children who enter kindergarten behind their peers will most likely never catch up and are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years.

Hope these help! And remember, change a life; read to a child!


We had fun with “Mouse and Mice” in storytime today!

We read:circle time

  • Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley has nice rhymes and lots of pictures to talk about.
  • A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker develops print awareness and narrative skills plus you can add fun voices and a suspenseful build-up.
  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh is great for playing with colors afterwards.

We played and sang:

  • Hickory, Dickory, Dock stand-up game
  • Little Mousie fingerplay
  • and Buenos Dias and If You’re Happy and You Know It since it was a new group.

Rhymes, games, songs, and fingerplays are all available under Rhymes & Fingerplays; scroll down the left-hand column.

Have fun!


Last week I posted about my concern for children when adults try to do too cribmuch with them and too soon. (Read No Curriculum Needed here.) I also said that I would write more.

Actually I will probably write more about this topic many times. Today, let’s start with a couple points and then some recommendations.

First, these waters are murky because we pour everything about early childhood education into one bucket when there really need to be two buckets. One is early childhood education for children from environments where things are missing. The other is early childhood education for children from “good enough” environments.

Children from deficient environments need all the help we can give them. They are fighting an uphill battle and much of that fight is running against the clock. They do not have the nutrition they need to nourish their bodies and minds. They do not have the human interactions they need to stimulate  attachment and language development. They do not have a safe environment to discover, explore, and experiment with. These children from deprived environments end up with deprived brains and stunted capabilities for human relationships if intervention does not happen at critical times in the years between birth and age 5. They are like the babies in Romania that David Elkind writes about here.

They are also like many, many children here in America who live in poverty, with homelessness, and within families devastated by violence and drug addiction. Don’t kid yourself. We may not have them locked up in orphanages, spending their days and nights in cribs, but their deprivations have the same effects on their brains.

The good news, though, is that in the 60’s with the war on poverty, the beginning of Headstart, and programs like Sesame Street, we discovered something amazing. Early intervention made a difference in the lives of these children! The emphasis, though, was on early. Why? Because that’s when a big chunk of brain development takes place including a full 85% of language development.  (Most recently, numerous brain imagery studies have confirmed what that 60’s experience had found.)

So whence comes all the confusion? Well, middle and upper class families thought their children needed the same things. In a foundational sense, they certainly do. ALL children need proper nutrition, human interaction, and an enriched safe environment (to name just a few).

But in a practical sense these kids don’t need the same things. Why not? Because they are already getting them.

And giving them more doesn’t help. It hurts.

Think about it. We all want the best for all children. But we need to step back and clearly look at what each child and each demographic of children need.

If a child is deprived nutritionally and we intervene and get good food to them in the right quantities and they begin to grow and play and learn again, magnificent! But it does not mean that “good enough” parents, caregivers, and schools then need to give the same meals to kids in “good enough” environments. They are already being fed well. More is not better. It does actual harm, making the kids fat.

The child taken to the park, given blocks to play with, and read to every day simply does not need anything more to develop as he or she should. The child locked in the crib needs far more than he or she is getting. That child needs the trips to the park, the blocks, and the cuddles and books and reading aloud.

Can you see the difference?

I’ll be back with more.


It was a quiet group today but raucous books!punk farm

On the reading list were books about sounds, music, and dancing.

  • Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka
  • Barn Dance by Bill Martin, Jr. and
  • Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin

Of course, we had to sing Old MacDonald with the kids picking the animals. And I did finally get them to be a little noisy, filling in the moo’s on click, clack, MOO!

Early literacy skills today included:

  • Print awareness (Click, clack, moo)
  • Narrative skills (sequencing) (Punk Farm and Old MacDonald)
  • Phonemic Awareness (rhymes) (Barn Dance, animal sounds, and Old Mac)

The school year’s still young. They’ll soon learn that it’s ok to talk about books with the librarian and sing and play along. They always do!


“The book, despite its humble and ancient beginnings, is still the mostbook
compact and efficient entertainment system available today. It requires no
batteries, no peripherals, no software, no upgrades. It is compact and can
easily fit in a pocket or handbag. It provides more entertainment, hour for
hour, than ten video games, fifty movies, or a thousand cellphone
ring-tones. It’s study and durable: Kept away from water, a book can last
centuries. Keeping a book with you is excellent insurance against those
empty moments on the bus, subway, in the waiting room or between activities.”

Charlene Swansen, Youth Services, Mancos Public Library District, CO

And I’ve posted this comic before but it goes along soooooo well that here it is again from Penny Arcade.

Go read a book!


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Contact Info for Babette

email babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail(dot)com
snail mail
73 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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