jump to navigation

Chicken Preschool Storytime April 5, 2009

Posted by swegene1 in Ready to Read, Storytimes, Youth Services Training.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

My boss came to observe this storytime, and I was pretty nervous. I actually recorded myself doing the storytime in advance so I would have plenty of practice, and so I would make sure I was panning and pacing correctly. That was a really good experience, and periodically I will do this if I’m worried about a flannel or activity. Fortunately my boss had lots of good things to say, just suggesting I make sure the volume on the CD player was high enough to reach the back of the room.

Opening Song: Jump Up, Turn Around, Jim Gill

Intro: Chicken puppet and eggs! (the chicken puppet actually laid eggs, we talked about vocabulary, and we had an egg in a shell puppet to talk about how chicks hatch from eggs)

Book: Cock-a-Doodle Quack! Quack!, Ivor Baddiel Cock-A-Doodle Quack Quack

Song: Milkshake Song, Songs for Wiggleworms

Book/Flannel Little Red Hen Little Red Hen Big Book
(First we read the book, then the children helped me tell the story with the flannel, and I told the parents about the importance of ready to read narrative skills, and encouraged the children to tell the story at home.)

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It!

Flannel Where’s the Chicken? (I omitted this, as we were running short on time)

Book: Hungry Hen, Richard Waring Hungry Hen

Craft: Chick in Shell (children cut out shapes that came together to make an egg shape, which were hooked together with a brad, so a baby chick popped out)

Overall, this storytime was a lot of fun, and the excitement was added to when the flannel board unexpectedly came crashing down when I went to start the “Little Red Hen” flannel. The entire room of 65 children (mostly preschool age, but some toddlers and infants) and parents went dead silent, and fortunately no one was hurt, not even the flannel board. Everyone recovered quickly–and since I had everyone’s attention, we were able to continue with the story!


Reading August 26, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

My creation

Originally uploaded by swegene1

Even before my brother and his wife had their baby girl, I begun collecting board books for them to share with her. My brother told me that they didn’t have that kind of specialized thing in the college town where he lives. This still makes me laugh, both because he thought board books are specialized, and because that town has all kinds of places to buy specialized things even if they were that hard to find. This encouraged me to buy even more for them. I still have a stack on my book shelf waiting to be sent off, but the first thing I sent them was this little cloth book with a rattle. My sister-in-law uses it with the itty bitty baby girl to read to her while she is stretching her tummy. I think this is a great example of how books can be used even when babies are very young.

Alphabet Collages May 27, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Alphabet, books, Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

This week is my last week at my old job, but hopefully it wont be the last week of Ready to Read activities at the center. I have been working hard to get instructions and supplies together so that these activities can be pulled out and used after I am gone to work at my new job. The plan is to provide enough supplies so that each activity can be used at least once without any further preparation then looking at the instruction sheet and grabbing the box of glue sticks and the box of crayons along with the prepared supplies.

For some reason, I’d forgotten that it would be a shorter work week because of the holiday, but I’m still sure that I can pull it all together. Well at least I hope so! This week’s activity is pretty simple. We will be making collages on large letters. I have boxes with a huge assortment of different scraps of different types and colors of paper. That and glue sticks and scissors is all we need for a lot of fun! We made samples on Thursday and stuck them on the Fridge door in the break room–they looked nice and were fun to put together. Plus kids love to work on cutting paper and gluing, skills they get lots of practice in this activity, along with practicing some letters.

Reading Corner Themes! May 22, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Library, Ready to Read, Recommendations.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

This summer I will be reading Mon-Thursday for an hour to any kids in the library around 1pm. It promises to be enormously entertaining, and hopefully will give me the opportunity to read more picture books. Plus, picture books are fun and the smaller groups will allow more interaction.

To keep what books I’ve read straight, I plan on compiling lists of books for each day. Though I’m scheduled to read for an hour, most likely I will not be reading the whole time, so my goal is 10 books on each topic, for different age levels. A couple for toddlers, a couple for pre-schoolars, some for k-2 grades, and at least one for older kids.

Some of the themes I have lists for already–others I will be compiling as I go along based on what we have at the branch. I don’t want to track down too many books at other branches, so hopefully I’ll be able to find enough for each week.

Here are some of the topics I’ve brainstormed, any suggestions would be great–as well as recommendations of good books on these topics!
-Camping -Farm -Family
-Sports -Clothing -Fruit and Veggies
-Folktales -Colors -Ponds
-Birthday -Creativity -Transportation
-Bedtime -Beach -Alphabet
-Dinosaurs -Jungle -Friends
-Dogs -Emotions -America
-Cats -Ocean -School
-Zoo -Weather -Diversity/multi-cultural
-Bugs -Picnic -Vacation

Some of these I have a lot for, but lots of these I don’t have more then one or two–so I could use suggestions for any read-alouds!

New Job May 19, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

In two weeks, I will be starting a new job, which I am super excited and nervous about. It is an amazing position, with the potential to do a huge amount of good in the community, as well as giving me TONS of good experience. I will be coordinating the new center to assist students k-12 with their homework. The job is one that combines advocacy, programing, and hands on, one-on-one interaction with youth. Plus, it is the sort of position that responds to the needs of the community and the season, meaning that I will have a ton of freedom to design new programs and visit new locations to market the center to students and recruit potential volunteers.

Another advantage of this position, is that I will be full time working out of one location. This will make it so much easier to arrange my schedule and plan ahead. Even though I wont begin for a couple of weeks, I’m bursting with ideas for the upcoming Summer Reading Season and the build up to the new school year at the end. It will be adventure to get to know a new branch, new customers, and a new job!

For the next two weeks, I’ll be getting the R2R activities set up to continue after I go, and wrapping up all the other details of my two jobs. I’m sure that I will have lots to post as it gets closer to the time for me to start my new job.

Brainstormin’ May 15, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Alphabet, books, Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

So for the rest of this week, and all of next week, I will have a practicum student to supervise and assist. While she is under the direct supervision of our teen librarian, she is all mine for these two weeks to learn about the ready-to-read after-storytime program. In addition, she will be observing storytimes. This week she is shadowing me and assisting with the activity, and is developing an activity for next week.

Lots of the time on Tuesday was spent explaining the program, its purposes, and where things were. Armed with a stack of books, she has been brainstorming ideas to do after storytime. It is a fascinating experience to work with someone else on a project that is so near and dear to me. She has a lot of great ideas, and it isn’t my position to shoot down any ideas, rather to help her see how they will fit into the program. Since I developed it, and have a sort of rudimentary set of guidelines on what doesn’t work, I some times have to say “That is a great idea–how will we encourage children to complete the whole project in the time frame?” or “Will we have time to get that all ready for next week?” Perhaps I should just let her learn this on her own, but that seems kind of mean to allow her to embark on a project that will suck every waking moment of her time and still not complete it.

Anyway, she brainstormed a lot of good ideas–and the one she settled on will be a great deal of fun. It marks an enthusiasm for the program as well as an understanding of the ways that parents use the resource. In watching parents make sets of alphabet cards to take home, she thought it would be great to provide something else they could make that they could work with. Building off of an old childhood favorite Memory, she will cut out shapes and cards and allow children to make cards with one on each to play a matching game with another card.

Tomorrow, she will work on preparing materials and pulling together books for the display–and I may have to leave her in charge for the set up of the program.

Alphabet Rubbings! May 13, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Alphabet, books, Ready to Read.
Tags: , , ,

This is a variation on an activity we did a month or so ago–that time it was using numbers, while this involves letters. Fortunately, I learned a lot while doing the previous activity, and have the forms mounted on foam already. I also have a lot of paper cut up for the activity.

Each square features the capital and lowercase letter and two items that begin with that letter. This provides vocabulary and letter awareness practice, as well as further developing motor skills. I hope since we have children returning to the center to participating in the activities they will learn how to do this activity and develop the motor skills required.

There are lots of great alphabet books to go with this activity, and it is such a simple take down and set up. Though I plan on covering the table to prevent children from scribbling everywhere.

This week I will have a practicum student observing the activities and planning her own, so I wanted something simple that she could help with. Not that she couldn’t figure out something complicated, but so she has time to work on her program for next week and figure out where everything is and how everything works. It is so hard to go into a new system and figure out where things are and how they do things there.

Working on the Ready-to Read Center May 12, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Over the past few months, the children’s department has been working to improve the reading readiness center to promote the ready to read program. This has taken three forms: increasing programing, adding new resources, and changing the physical facilities.

My reading readiness activities following storytimes are a major part of the changes that have taken place over the past months. Having a staff member around to illustrate and communicate the 6 R2R skills and demonstrate ways to enhance this in interactions with their children. In addition, the library has offered R2R training for all staff and at many locations for parents and childcare providers. This week a practicum student from the local Library Science School will be observing and planning an after-storytime activity like mine for next week. I’m hoping that this experience will encourage her to incorporate these types of pre-literacy activities into her library.

Earlier this spring, the R2R center received a whole bunch of new toys to encourage narrative skills, vocabulary, and a whole bunch of other pre-reading skills. My favorite is the kitchen/market area and the toy food. The food is incredibly realistic, and has an enormous variety of foods. This allows children to learn the names of new foods and see what goes together. When I have the time, I’ll bring my bunny puppet and encourage the children to find out what food a bunny would eat. We’d discuss if bunnies ate spaghetti or bagels or cauliflower.

Just last week, we took the first steps towards improving the physical facilities–taking down the shelving units and installing new counter tops. We will be doing some more painting and installing some new shelves, and hopefully some new activities to foster reading readiness.

Lots of learning and changing going on!

Advocacy May 8, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

This semester we had a guest speaker who came to my teen services class to talking about gaming and advocacy. To me, none of the presentation was entirely new, but was interesting to hear confirmation of some of the things I’d already been doing as part of my ready to read activities. Advocacy is a lot of things to a lot of people, and I was thinking about it this morning when I was making copies at the copy machine we share with HR. A new employee from HR was waiting for her prints to come out and I started talking to her about the ready-to-read program, how the materials I was preparing fit in, and all of the different groups we were trying to reach out to. While she is a library employee, and doesn’t have children, sharing my enthusiasm for the program and what we are doing is a large part of advocacy.

Yesterday, I was coming back from the coffee shop and encountered a young child coming from story time with his mother and younger sister. I encouraged them both to return to participate in the program the next day. The next day when they came they shared their enthusiasm with another family that came in that had never heard of the program before. They commented that they’d never had so much attention at the library before.

That attention is another part of advocacy. I love the programs that I design and hold, but they aren’t always mobbed by children right away. For one thing, many parents who are not regulars think that the table and activities are for special groups, they need to be specially invited and encouraged to participate. Some kids are scared of strangers or not in the mood, so part of my advocacy is helping parents understand the literacy skill behind the activity. That way, even if the child does not have the patience or confidence or skill to work on the activity, the parent can incorporate the skill into their interaction with the children at home.

Sometimes parents will take books with them to work on the concept at home, while other times we have an activity they can work on at home. Either way, advocacy is in communicating to parents and caregivers the importance of these literacy activities. Once parents become excited about the program, then they join in with my efforts to advocate continuing these programs.

I frequently wish I could expand my efforts at advocacy for my program, as I think many of my activities and others like them, could be incorporated into the branches with ease. So when I talk to co-workers at other locations and even in other systems, I like to tell them about my programs, and I suppose this blog even helps!

Why Rhymes? May 8, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Library, Ready to Read.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

So this is a second post starting with a question, but this is what prompted me to post. Today during our rhyming activity, a parent asked incredulously if rhymes really helped children. What good are rhymes? So I thought I’d discuss some of the ways rhyming helps children with their literacy skills.

Rhyming words help children increase their awarenesses of the sounds that make up words–this is called phonological awareness. The elements that repeat in rhymes are phonemes, they are similar sounds even if they are spelled different. Children who can identify words that rhyme and invent or look for more words using those sounds are demonstrating a grasp of how language works. Phonemes are the building blocks of language, and students who can grasp sounds can understand words.

A simple rhyme demonstrates this concept–it uses rhyme and invented words to help children trace the patterns and identify the phonomes, this is particularly good for groups of kids:

“Wibbly wobbly wee, and elephant sat on me.
Wibbly wobbly woo, an elephant sat on you.
Wibbly wobbly woosan, an elephant sat on Susan.
Wibbly wobbly wicheal, an elephant sat on Micheal.”

Some children will be able to follow the pattern to see what the next word will be, and others will understand the way the phonemes are being used. This pattern and repetitiveness is why rhyming is one reason while rhyming is important.

The ready to read skills that rhyming helps develop include: phonological awareness, narrative structure, print awareness, and book motivation. These skills can be seen in a set of simple word rhymes:

Cat, Bat, Hat, Rat.

Each of these simple words rhymes, and differs in their spelling by one single letter. Children who know their letters and some sounds can identify these words when prompted. “C makes a “cuuu” sound, which word has a C at the beginning? or Can you see a C on the page?” The sense of achievement when children place each rhyming image next to the word is a great motivator. A story with rhymes at specific places in the sentence allows children to anticipate what is going to happen next.

For all of these reasons, and for their pure enjoyment value, rhymes are an excellent tool for children young and old to learn or continue to learn language and literacy skills. It is why so many books and poems continue to include rhymes in so many ways!

Here are some of my favorites: <a href=”Five Little Ducks“> Chuck's Truck
Silly Sally (Red Wagon Books) A Counting and Rhyming Book