Friday, September 28, 2012

Finding the Needle in the Early Reader Haystack

Early Reader Books; a thorn in the side of parents and librarians everywhere.
You are elated to find that your little one is beginning to read (great job getting them prepared for reading, by the way)... and then you move across the aisle from the picture books to the early reader collection only to be overwhelmed with the sheer volume and variety of books available. How do you pick the right one?
One place to start is our 'Great Books for Kindergarten and First Graders' Booklist, which you can find online here and also in the library with the rest of our booklists.  It provides a list of a variety of picture books you can read to your emerging reader, and a few easy early reader books they can start reading on their own such as those in the Fly Guy series. 
One way to help your child make the transition to reading on their own is to read a type of book called We Both Read.  Each book has a series of two-page spreads that begin with a paragraph for a parent to read and end with a word or sentence for the child to read aloud.  This can be very encouraging for emerging readers as they feel comforted that their parent will be reading the bulk of the text.
One way that we help you find books that will be easy for your emerging reader to read is with a sticker placed on the spine of the book.  This 'Easy Reading' sticker can be found on several books within the collection and looks like this:
Once your child begins reading, the amount of time he or she will spend reading books in the early reader collection on the 2nd floor is small.  They very quickly jump in reading ability and will move on to harder and harder books until they are reading full chapter books.  Even as they become more independent in their reading, don't forget that they still might want to be read to.  There are plenty of chapter books that can be read aloud.  You can try trading off chapters or paragraphs with your child.  It will build their confidence as a reader if they can finish a longer book and encourage their love of reading.
If you have any questions or would like any recommendations, don't hesitate to stop in the library and ask.  We are always happy to help!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Eating and Exercising for Your Health

Concerned about your family's health? You should be! I just read an article on the Chicago Tribune's website titled "Fat and Getting Fatter: U.S. Obesity Rates to Soar by 2030." That's a scary headline to read. Earlier this year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released stats about the United States at the moment: that 16.9% of kids age 2-19 are obese. What's the percent for adults? 35.7%. The report projects that by 2030 half of U.S. adults will be be obese (if we don't change our ways). That means children who are 3 now who will be 21 in the year 2030 could be part of that 1/2 percent. Scary!

So what steps can you take? First don't panic. The library has plenty of books about healthy eating, fruits, and vegetables. While it's too late this year, why not plant a vegetable patch in your backyard next spring? Kids have fun watching things grow and the satisfaction of making a meal from what they grew. Pick up a cookbook that will show you how to make delicious, nutritious food.

You can also spend more time being active outside. As I previous wrote in Kidding Around, the CDC recommends 60 minutes of physical activity a day. You can spend that 60 minutes in so many different ways!We have lots of books about outdoor games you can play together, games like tag, hopscotch, and jump rope. My favorite thing is to go for a family walk after dinner.

One of the hardest things to do might be to set the positive example for your children. Let's face it, kids follow adult behavior. And while you might tell them to eat their veggies, if you're not eating them they might wonder why they should. Besides, eating healthy and being active is in all of our best interests right? We all want to be strong, healthy role models for our kids.

Find it at the library! Click on the link to go to our catalog.

Healthy Eating Books

Helpful Websites

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Free Days at the Chicago Museums!

Are you looking for something fun (and educational) to do with your family on a fall weekend?  Take advantage of free days at the museums in Chicago!  A number of museums are offering free days throughout the fall for Illinois residents. Visit Sue the dinosaur at the Field Museum, journey through space at the Adler Planetarium, find Nemo (or his friends) at the Shedd Aquarium, climb aboard the Pioneer Zephyr at the Museum of Science and Industry, or travel wherever your imagination takes you at the Chicago Children's Museum.  Click on the links above to view the free days at the Chicago museums this fall.

If the hustle and bustle of the city is too much for you, you can always check out a free Museum Adventure Pass for suburban museums at the library. View the list of museums available and then visit the 2nd floor information desk to check out your free museum pass.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Heading into Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15-October 15 each year, a time frame that is historically significant for the claiming of independence of many Latin American countries. This year's theme is "Many Backgrounds, Many Stories...One American Spirit." You can read more about the nationwide celebration from the Library of Congress web site. Here in the Youth Services Department, we will commemorate the occasion by offering a display of books, music, and other materials that celebrate language, culture, people, places, and history.

My favorite way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month is to cook (and eat). I have a great recipe for empanadas (stuffed pastry) with a filling ground beef, onions, red peppers, green olives, raisins, hard-boiled egg, and seasoning. I buy my dough in packages of what are called discos (pre-cut circles of dough) and I tuck the beef filling inside, bake, and...tan bueno! Empanadas with different fillings are traditional in many countries around the world.

I will be traveling to Mexico at the beginning of October, and I look forward to sharing stories in both English and Spanish with my young niece, now almost two years old. It gives me an opportunity to brush up on my Spanish language skills, something I find extremely useful as I prepare to perform our Drop-in Dual-Language Storytime in Spanish and English this fall. One of my favorite stories in English that we also happen to have in Spanish is Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems. It's Spanish counterpart is El Conejito Knuffle, which I like to pronouce El Conejito "Ke-new-flay" because I think Mo would find it funny.

I will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by sampling a variety of foods from different backgrounds, traveling to new places, and sharing many stories.
How will you be celebrating?