Helping Your Young Child Become a Successful Reader

Today’s post comes to us from Ali, Head of Children’s Services.

 

Many people assume that there isn’t much they can do to help their child learn to read until they are of a certain age. Believe it or not, you should start at birth.  The five core practices to help prepare children for reading are Reading, Writing, Talking, Singing, and Playing.  These practices are taken from the Every Child Ready to Read Initiative. You may already be nurturing these pre-reading skills at home, but it is important to use these techniques everywhere you go with your child. To learn more about these practices, you can ask any children’s librarian for suggestions or attend an early literacy program or storytime at the Cheshire Public Library.

Early literacy programs at public libraries have changed significantly over the years. Early literacy is everything a child knows about reading and writing before he or she can read or write, typically between the ages of 0-5. Traditionally, children’s library programs focused on the education of children.  Today, these programs focus on the education of the parent or caregiver.  If you attend storytimes at the public library, you may hear the children’s librarian state an early literacy tip or model a specific behavior during their programs.  This is done intentionally to encourage caregivers to use these tools at a later point.

Here are some ideas on using each of the 5 best practices in your everyday life.

  • TALKING is the most critical early literacy skill because it helps children learn oral language. You can talk to your child about things you see or ask them open-ended questions to encourage a response from them.
  • SINGING develops language skills by slowing down syllables and sounds that make up a word. You can sing in the car whenever you’re traveling and you never have to worry about other people hearing your singing voice.
  • READING together not only develops vocabulary and comprehension, but it fosters a love of reading.  Try to pick a time to read when you are both in a good mood and never force it. It is a good idea to establish a reading routine at bedtime when your child is most relaxed.
  • You can start to practice WRITING as soon as your child can grip anything. Even if they are only making scribbles, they are getting those small hand muscles ready to hold a pencil.
  • Children also learn language and literacy skills through PLAY by helping them put thoughts into words as they talk about what they are doing.

Caregivers have the most important role in developing a child’s reading skills, so it is important that you practice these techniques as often as possible. I encourage you to visit the library and check out some of the early literacy programs and resources that we have.  To see our full events calendar, you can go to https://cheshirelibrary.libcal.com/.

Check out  our Parenting section for more on early literacy and school readiness:

 

And don’t forget to sign up for our summer reading program for kids and adults : Summer Adventure! The program runs from June 21 through August 17. Raffles, prizes, and giveaways will be available to those who complete the activities. Who will take home the crown for the most minutes read? Will it be the kids, or will it be the adults?

 

Board in the Library – Exploring the rise of tabletop gaming in 2018

When a friend asked me if I wanted to go to a board game cafe (The Board Room in Middletown CT) , I pictured three mind numbing hours of pictionary, or even worse, monopoly. I have a short attention span as it is, and pretending to be a tiny banker buying properties acrossboardgamesforadults-2x1-7452 the board and keeping track of piles of colorful money never really engaged me. In reality, I spent the next three hours curing diseases in Pandemic, creating train tracks that spread the globe in Ticket to Ride, and trading spices in Century: Spice Roads. I was floored that board games had evolved so much since I had played as a kid, the art was more engaging, the stories richer, and the play more involved. In the months following this revelation I’ve added over thirty board games to my list, and I’ve expanded my idea of what a board game can be.

Now how does this tie in to the library you ask? Well, board games have actually gained a large following in the library world, and both librarians and patrons are starting to take notice. Board games are one of the many tips-on-how-to-make-a-board-gameresources in a library that encourage community and collaboration. At a time when parents and educators are concerned about the rise in digital media and isolation, board games get people of different backgrounds engaging with each other across a table, solving problems, improving a number of practical skills, and having a good time. When you look at it that way, it’s no surprise that board games are a critical part of a libraries community, and a lifelong pursuit of learning.

If you’re new to board games, or like me, rediscovering your love of gaming, fear not. Here is a quick list of board games perfect for beginners.

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Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn.

 

  • Ticket To Ride suggests 2-5 players ages 8 and up with 45 minutes of play time.

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TsuroCreate your own journey with Tsuro: The Game of the Path! Place a tile and slide your stone along the path created, but take care. Other players’ paths can lead you in the wrong direction—or off the board entirely! Paths will cross and connect, and the choices you make affect all the journeys across the board. Find your way wisely and be the last player left on the board to win!

  • Tsuro suggests ages: 8+ , with 2-8 players, and up to 20 minutes of play time.

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Sushi Go! – Pass the sushi! In this fast-playing card game, the goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi. Dip your favorite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value. But be sure to leave room for dessert or else you’ll eat into your score! Gather the most points and consider yourself the sushi master!

  • Sushi Go! suggests ages 8+, with 2-5 players, and up to 15 minutes of play time.

Just like the rest of the library, board games are designed to challenge your current pattern of thinking and keep your brain young. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that playing board games was associated with a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Board games are also great for those with anxiety as a way to step out and make new friends within a structured setting, allowing friendships to build over a collaborative goal. But, just like any other program in the library, it needs participants to thrive and grow.

Lucky for you, there’s a new board game club opening at the Cheshire Public Library this February! This club will be hosted on the first Thursday of the month, and each month will feature a new board game. Come and enjoy our freshly re-modeled third floor, have a hot chocolate and re connect with old friends, or make some new ones!

 

 

 

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough is a true children’s story about one of the first children’s librarians. Anne Moore grew up in a time where many libraries were not free, and they were certainly not meant for children. Usually, children were not even allowed inside, especially girls. But Miss Moore thought otherwise.

Anne Carroll Moore was an independent thinker ever since she was a child. While other girls stayed inside and sewed, Anne was outside sledding on the hills. When other girls got married, Anne was working in her father’s office, learning how to be a lawyer. When other women stayed home, Anne moved to New York City, went to college, and got a job in a library.

Anne Moore changed the ways in which libraries viewed children. Under her supervision, libraries no longer demanded silence from patrons, children were allowed to take books home, child-sized furniture was built, more children’s books were published, rooms became more colorful, and people were brought in to do children’s programming. Libraries all around the world followed her example, all because she always looked at things differently.

Genre: Children’s non-fiction

Setting: Maine and New York in the late 1800s-early 1900s

Number of pages: 40

Themes: History of children’s libraries, and independent women

Objectionable content? None.

Can children read this? Yes. This book is appropriate for all ages. There are interesting things for the older kids to read, and the younger kids will enjoy the beautiful pictures.

Who would like this? Anyone who is interested in how children’s libraries developed into their current focus on library users, and anyone who enjoys learning about strong women.

Rating: Five stars

Library Partners

Did you know that the Children’s Department at the Cheshire Public Library visits almost every preschool in Cheshire once a month?  Did you know that Cheshire Birth-to-Three child development experts visit library programs to answer questions caregivers have?  Did you know that the library participates at local festivals such as Fall Festival, Strawberry Festival, Touch-a-Truck and more?  Over the past two and half years the Children’s Department has been partnering with local organizations who serve youth to share resources, expertise, and reach more people.  Below is a brief summary of a few of our partners.

Cheshire Birth-to-Three:
Cheshire Birth-to-Three program has a highly qualified and experienced staff consisting of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, social worker and special education teachers. The staff makes home visits to provide speech, physical, occupational and/or educational services. In addition, B-3 hosts the Parent/Child Resource Center which is a playgroup for children ages 0-3 and their parents.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, either attend the Parent/Child Resource Center at Darcey School (call for times 203-272-9108) or call Infoline at 1-800-505-7000 and request the Cheshire Birth-to-Three Program. The Birth-to-Three Team can conduct a complete developmental evaluation in your home.

Artsplace:
Artsplace provides a creative environment for students to explore their artistic endeavors. This is possible with our fantastic teaching staff (many national award winners) of over 20 professional artists.  Art classes and workshops are offered in a wide variety that are suitable for all ages and levels. The youngest Artsplace student is three and the oldest is ninety nine. Artsplace is a most uncommon art school in that standard supplies are provided for all classes.

Cheshire Parks and Recreation:
The Cheshire Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of activities to the residents of Cheshire and maintains the beauty of the many parks in our town.  The department maintains and schedules six major park facilities, the Youth Center, and the Community Pool.

Visit their website to find classes and other activities for yourself or your young one.  They offer everything from adult yoga to toddler music classes. Visit here to learn more.

Cheshire YMCA:
The Cheshire Community YMCA is the premier child care provider by offering a safe and nurturing environment in which children are encouraged to develop social skills through age appropriate curriculum. They offer everything from enrichment classes for youth, preschool to aftercare for elementary school students.  Visit their Child Development page to find out more about their youth services.

Musical Folk:
Musical Folk offer Music Together® Program, Ukulele and Movement classes! Have you ever wondered what you can do to nurture the musical growth of your child, regardless of your own musical ability? Experience Music Together and find out how important–and how fun–your role can be!  Music Together® classes build on your child’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement while developing important musical, social, cognitive, physical & language skills.

OWL: Observe, Wait, Listen

If you’ve visited the Children’s Department of the Cheshire Public Library you’ve probably noticed the large amounts of toys we have. We love to see kids play and love to see them playing with their caregivers together even more! We view play as a fundamental building block for preparing children to read as well as the general development of any child.

There are a few easy steps that you can take to enhance play with your little one in the easy to remember acronym OWL.  This system was developed by the Hanen Centre,  a not-for-profit charitable organization committed to promoting the best possible language, literacy, and social skills in young children. We provide parents and professionals with a variety of resources and trainings to help them maximize the early language learning of all children – including those with or at risk of language delays and those with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. For more tips and strategies on building interaction into every part of the day, visit their website at www.hanen.org

Observe
Wait
Listen

Observe: Understanding what your child wants or what is going through their mind is difficult.  Taking the time to observe your child and see where their attention is focused on can help you share the moment with him/her.

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Wait: Waiting gives your child time to start an interaction or respond to what you’ve said or done.  Waiting means three things: stop talking, lean forward, and look at your child expectantly.  Waiting can be one of the most difficult things for parents/caregivers to do.  Counting to 10 to yourself can help ensure you don’t rush.

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Listen: Listening means paying very close attention to your child’s words and sounds and ensuring that you don’t interrupt him/her.  This can be difficult, especially when you are trying to figure out what your child is trying to tell you.

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 We have many books and DVDs by the Hanen Centre that expand on OWL at the Cheshire Public Library in the Parenting Collection in the Children’s Room.  Check them out today.

You can also attend our parent workshop: Helping Your Child Learn. We’ll go over ways you can incorporate the practices into playtime, reading time, and everyday activities.  Dinner and childcare will be provided.