The media complains that kids don't read anymore--they are too tired, too distracted, and too busy to read books for fun. In fact, in Darien, only 22.5% of students in grades 7 to 12 said they spend three hours a week reading for pleasure (Search Institute Youth Survey Results, 2008). Would that change if we changed the way we think about reading?
Ariel Aberg-Riger, Chief Creative Officer at Fourth Story Media (NY), explores interactive fiction for teens in this talk about multi-media narratives and the new reading experience for young people.
This talk will explore how an interactive fiction series for teens works--what's in books versus on the web, how the community interacts with a story and with each other, and present examples of members' creative writing. There will be a discussion focusing on exciting reading-based interactive projects and initiatives, and where the future of multi-media narratives for kids and teens is headed.
Parents of boys and girls in 3rd and 4th grades are invited to join this 10-week Parent Discussion Group held in the Darien Library Conference Room. Using the Raising Our Sons and Raising Our Daughters Parenting Guides you will meet weekly with parents of children of the same age and gender to help prepare you and your children for the tween and teen years.
The first session will meet on Tuesday, February 15 at 10 AM in the Library's Conference Room.
Darien Library is a member of Thriving Youth: Connected Community, an initiative of the Human Services Planning Council for developmental asset building through meaningful relationships, experiences, skills and opportunities that benefit all our children. Thriving Youth: Connected Community is a movement in Darien to address the needs of our young people which were brought to light in the Fall when the Search Institute conducted the 40 Developmental Assets survey in our Middle and High Schools. If you missed the results when they were announced you can still view the presentation as a pdf here.
To see the list of Developmental Assets that will be discussed in this series, click here.
According to a new study in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, it can! Researchers found that toddlers who possess a spoken vocabulary at 24 months show an increased ability to later on control their emotions and self-regulate. The rationale behind the findings is that children who have the ability to verbalize their frustrations are able to more effectively control their own behavior.
And what time-tested method have parents and caregivers used for generations to help babies and toddlers begin to develop language skills? Reading aloud! So, stop by our Children's Library and pick up some Tantrum Stoppers... ahem.... that is, books.
These are questions that we children's librarians are asked almost every week. Parents, caregivers, and children will frequently come to us with a Leveled Reading list or instructions from their teachers to find books on the Guided Reading scale (this method of reading instruction, also known as the Fountas and Pinnell system, uses a scale from A to Z to indicate increasing levels of book difficulty.)
Since public libraries are organized and arranged to facilitate browsing, searching, and to inspire a lifelong love of reading, you won't find our Children's Library organized by the A to Z levels. So, how do you locate books that are appropriate for your child's reading level?
We pride ourselves on knowing great children's literature and enjoy making recommendations. We will usually begin by asking you or your child what kinds of books you've read recently and whether those books felt "just right" or not. We can help you find similar titles, ones that are a little harder, or a little easier.
For children just learning to read on their own, a great place to browse is in our F5 Learn to Read area. These books, also known as beginning readers, are designed to help newly emerging readers recognize common vocabulary, anticipate rhyming words, construct meaning through carefully placed illustrations, and build confidence.
For children who are reading independently but not quite ready to delve into Harry Potter, check out our Kids I Read section. Filled with popular chapter book series, these books help keep new readers engaged but not overwhelmed.
What is a level H or K or D anyway? What does it mean? It can be frustrating for both parents and children to locate books on their assigned Guided Reading level. Oftentimes, the Guided Reading lists given to parents contain titles that are out of print or unavailable.
One simple and effective way to judge whether any given book is too hard or too easy is The Five Finger Rule. Here's how it works:
Looking for more information on finding great books for your child? Stop by the Children's Library anytime or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raising "digital natives" presents new challenges for parents. Are you ready?
Darien Library presents a series of programs exploring the role of technology in the lives of kids and families. Join us for film screenings, lectures, and hands-on learning opportunities for parents this winter.
Special thanks to YWCA Parent Awareness for co-sponsoring many of these programs.
You are raising kids in a digital world. Facebook, Twitter, and a growing number of websites and social tools are becoming increasingly important in most aspects of our 21st century world. Information literacy is crucial to your children’s success in school and technology is now completely integrated into your child’s life. Today’s students want Web 2.0 tools to be a part of their learning lives because these are the tools that enable them to connect, collaborate, create, and engage in learning that is relevant, contextual and experiential.
Why should they have all the fun?
Join us in 12 weeks of learning through engagement in online technology, in 21 simple activities that you can do on your own time, at your own pace. This program is designed to help you learn about, and how to use, Web 2.0 technologies so that you may better support, guide, and parent your digital native kids safely and confidently through both the perils and the possibilities that this brave new digital world offers.
This program is inspired by the Learning 2.0: 23 Things program developed by Helene Blowersat the Public Library of Charlotte &Mecklenberg County and adopted by many other libraries and organizations since then. Content and style for 21 Things for 21st Century Parents has been borrowed and duplicated under a Creative Commons license. We thank them for sharing the program so that we may spread the ideas and make learning fun for parents too!
National Adoption Month goes back to 1976 when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced the first Adoption Week. The idea spread rapidly and in 1984 President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week. In 1995, President Clinton expanded it into the entire month of November.
In 2009, President Obama issued the following statement as part of the National Adoption Month Presidential Proclamation:
"All children deserve a safe, loving family to protect and care for them. In America, thousands of young people are waiting for that opportunity. During National Adoption Month, we honor those families that have strengthened America through adoption, and we recommit to reducing the number of children awaiting adoption into loving families.
America is a country rich in resources and filled with countless caring men and women who hope to adopt. These individuals come from all walks of life, united in their commitment to love a child who is in need of the protective arms of a parent. We must do more to ensure that adoption is a viable option for them. By continually opening up the doors to adoption, and supporting full equality in adoption laws for all American families, we allow more children to find the permanent homes they yearn for and deserve.
This month, we also focus on children in foster care. These children are not in the system by their own choosing, but are forced into it by unfortunate or tragic circumstances. These young people have specific needs and require unique support. Federal, State, and local governments, communities, and individuals all have a role to play in ensuring that foster children have the resources and encouragement they need to realize their hopes and dreams.
The course of our future will depend on what we do to help the next generation of Americans succeed. This month, we celebrate those families brought together by adoption and renew our commitments to children in the foster care system."
Check out the Darien Library's wonderful collection of picture books, informational books, and stories about adoption. Stop by anytime this month to pick up Adoption booklists created by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.
We are super pleased to invite Darien Teachers, Specialists, and Faculty to the Darien Library this fall!
How do your students use the Library for assignments and book reports?
The Children's Librarians will showcase the Library's physical and virtual collections; highlighting the ins and outs of the Library website, and a tour of the Library.
According to one expert, infants begin by making squealing sounds without any identifiable syllables. By the age of six months, babies (typically) start forming vowel sounds ("aaa" "ooo") and with practice, consonant sounds ("mmm") by the end of their first year.
An interesting takeaway from the NYTimes piece was this advice derived from the results of a recent study on language accquisition of babies:
"....if a baby looks at an apple and says, “Ba ba!” it’s better to respond by naming the apple than by guessing, for example, “Do you want your bottle?” Offering new vocabulary words, even to children too young to form those words, helps strengthen their understanding of language and ability to name new objects.
Perhaps the most important result of all these new studies on language development was the discovery that "Babies have to hear real language from real people to learn these skills." There is something irreplacable about the face-to-face contact between a parent and a child that television, even educational programs, cannot duplicate.
One of the best ways to facilitate this brain-building interaction is by sharing a book with your baby. As Horn Book editor Martha Parravano so elequently states in A Family of Readers, "Despite all of our society's technological advances, it still just takes one child, one book, and one reader to create this unique space, to work this everyday magic."
A new article in the New York Times, Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children, suggests that the picture book is slowly going the way of the dinosaur. According the to article, parents are increasingly encouraging their children, as early as kindergarten, to read "big kid" chapter books in order to help their children in an ever-competitive educational environment. As a result, bookstores are stocking less picture books and publishers are offering less new picture books each season.
I'm curious if the NYTimes' Julie Bosman has visited her local library recently. I wish she could stop by our Children's Library here in Darien. She might be quite surprised at the extraordinary number of parents and caregivers curling up with a picture book in one of the big comfy chairs, or on the carpet, or at the puzzle table, or over a hot chocolate by the Cafe. Her eyes might well pop when she notices the foot-high stacks of picture books that moms and dads routinely check out for their children (of all ages).
We Children's Librarians know the power of a great picture book. Using picture books is staple in our baby and toddler programs. But did you know that we also use them in our preschool and elementary-aged storytimes?
The picture book is a unique work of art. Combining text, illustration, and design elements, a good picture book does more than simply tell a good story. Picture books can teach and engage a child's understanding of visual literacy (a skill that this new generation of digital natives will absolutely require to be successful in both academia and professional life.)
Parents invited to be Mystery Readers in their child's classroom often ask us for read-aloud suggestions. Whether they are visiting a first-grade class or a fifth-grade class, can you guess what kinds of books we nearly always offer? We even have a special section in the Children's Library filled with picture books specifically for older students. These gorgeously illustrated works may look thin, but are full of rich themes, well-developed characters, history, and humor. Perfect for older children who are reading independently.
Graduating from being a pre-reader to an independent reader doesn't have to mean the end of enjoying books with artwork. Chapter books and picture books can live happily together on a child's bookshelf. Whether it's revisiting favorite picture books to read again or discovering a new crop of more sophisticated illustrated reading choices, independent readers will flourish when encouraged to read variety of books.
Stop by the Children's Library soon with your reader and tell us about some of your favorite picture books and let us help you find some new favorites, too.