Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually do it themselves. From the earliest experiences; babies chewing on books to your preschooler "writing" a grocery list for you, all literacy interactions are important. Parents and Caregivers - you are your child's first teacher.
You can help your child learn those important skills now so that they will be successful in school, and later in life. You can also lay the groundwork to show them that learning can be FUN! Don't worry about flash cards and programs. Instead, have some fun with your child and engage in activities that are fun, natural and relaxed like playing games, singing songs and telling stories. Your child will grow up associating pleasure with learning.
Researchers agree that children are more likely to become good readers if they start school with three sets of accomplishments:
This information can be found on the Born to Read website of the Association of LIbrary Service to Children (ALSC).
National Center for Family Literacy for suggestions on other family literacy projects
Reading is Fundamental for literacy information broken down by your child's age and including a section for the Whole Family. Also links to the new site Leading to Reading with interactive literacy building games, books, articles and advice to help you in your quest to raise a reader.
Zero to Three offers parents information on children's brain development, developmental milestones, early literacy, and choosing quality child care.
The Children's Library staff constantly comes across great apps for kids of all ages, and we realized that we usually only publicize our favorite Early Literacy Apps. There's a world of great apps available for older kids, and we would like to share our expertise and knowledge of educational (and fun!) iPad apps for kids ages 5-12. The list below is comprised of apps, games, and eBooks that we selected for their stellar content and unique presentation.
These apps all feature factual content either in educational or game form.
Bobo Explores Light: For kids reluctant to learn about science or math, this app will open their eyes to a new world of amazing science concepts with humor and whimsy. Ages 8+
Stack the States: A matching game that teaches geography about the U.S. states and their capitals. Ages 8+
AstroApp: Space Shuttle Crew: For space enthusiasts yearning to learn more about NASA's space explorations from 1981 to the present. Ages 7+
Weird but True: Based on the popular section in National Geographic Kids magazine, this app features wacky facts and images that are sure to enthrall kids and adults alike. Ages 7+
BrainPop Jr. Movie of the Week: App features short videos on different topics (think: science, social studies, reading, writing, math, health, arts and technology) to help peak interest in the processes and theories that support them. Ages 5+
Journey into the Deep: For aspiring ocean explorers interested in learning about the ocean and it's varied inhabitants. Ages 10+
Khan Academy: A great app for all kids (K-12) interested in learning about any topic! App features over 3,200 videos on a variety of subjects. Ages 6+
Ultimate Dinopedia: Another National Geographic app, this time with a focus on dinosaurs. Be forewarned: some of the dinosaurs can be a tad scary! Ages 7+
Kronopedia - Visual Arts: This app offers a chronological timeline of when and where famous artists lived. A great supplement and aid for middle- and high-schoolers learning about art, history, or artists. Ages 12+
American Presidents for iPad: This app is a great source for older students learning about presidents and presidential history. Learn about each president's policies, history during their tenure, and also view a photo gallery associated with each. Ages 12+
Zachy the Robot: Quest for the Museum Treasures: While traveling the globe with robot pals, children will discover facts about minerals, fossils, and dinosaurs. Ages 6+
Britannica Kids Apps: The creator of the famous encyclopedia sets now has apps on Dinosaurs, Solar Systems, Knights & Castles, Rainforest, Egypt, Ancient Rome, Volcanoes, Snakes, Aztecs, and Endangered species.
Dictionary.com App: Over 2,000,000 definitions, synonyms, and antonyms in this dictionary/thesaurus, also includes audio pronunciation and word origins.
Barefoot World Atlas: World atlas that allows users to explore regions, people, and animals. Provides a rich experience in learning about the natural world, history, and general facts about earth. Kid-friendly illustrations and animation of a 3D globe.
Flashcards*: Create and share flashcards to help study for tests or prepare for presentations. Cards can be organized.
Haiku Desk: Use this app to create simple slideshows. This app lets you search for copyright-free images and limits the amount of text per slide.
Brian Cox's Wonder of the Universe: Explore the universe from tiny particles to distant galaxies in 3D. Includes hundreds of articles, images, and hours of video.
IF Poems: 800x600 .
Puzzlemaster Deck: Brain teasers and word twisters created by NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. For kids who love a real challenge.
This list includes apps that encourage creative play but are more advanced than the apps on our Early Literacy iPads.
Art in Motion: This is a standout amongst apps that bridge the technology and art gap. Users select from pre-chosen themes and swirl their fingers to edit and move imagery on the screen. Ages 5+
Pirate Scribblebeard's Treasure with Oscar and Josephine: This app is a hybrid book/creativity app. Kids read a story featuring Pirate Scribblebeard, but also get to contribute their own illustrations to the tale. Intuitive, easy, and fun, the app also supports development of fine motor skills. Ages 3+
Super Hero Comic Book Maker: Created by stand-out app studio Duck Duck Moose, this app allows users to make their own comic book heroes and comic book layouts. Ages 7+
Doodlecast for Kids: Kids who like to draw (or trace!) will enjoy this app, which records your voice as you create a drawing on the screen. Play back your video drawing, and even send it to an email address to share your creations. Ages 6+
Sock Puppets: Users pick out sock puppet characters and backgrounds, and record a story using their own voice. The app warps voices to make them sound funny. Friends can create hilarious conversations between themselves and their sock puppets. Ages 8+
Photogene: This app helps older kids edit, change, and merge photos. Great for kids interesting in photography and content creation. Ages 8+
Color Uncovered: Explore the world of color with this fun app that uses illusions created by the Exploratorium museum. Ages 8+
Pic Collage: Create collages, scrapbooks, and posters using photos, stickers, and text. Easy to use.
A short list of some of our favorite games.
Bad Piggies: From the same creators of Angry Birds, this game allows users to make various crafts that enable the green piggies to accomplish goals like flying, jumping, or moving objects. Slightly more difficult and engaging than the original and beloved Angry Birds, but a great accompaniment app for older kids that love Angry Birds. Ages 7+
Wings Earth: A flight simulator that can be relaxing or challenging depending on settings. Great for car rides or long waits. Ages 5+
Highlights Hidden Pictures: Kids will love the app version of the classic hidden pictures puzzles from Highlights Magazine. Simple and satisfying gameplay. Ages 6+
Roxie's A-Maze-ing Vacation Adventure: This hybrid puzzle, maze, and look-and-search adventure will keep kids occupied and engaged for hours at a time. Similar to the beloved "Where's Waldo?" book series. Ages 6+
Left Right Pup: For kids learning the concept of left and right, this game will keep them on track and help to develop their concentration and focus. Ages 4+
These eBook apps feature stories that are longer and more complex than our favorite storybook eBooks.
Grimm's Sleeping Beauty is an eBook app version of the classic fairy tale, shows readers a fresh new take on a familiar story. Princess enthusiasts and story-book readers alike will delight in this fun and explorative eBook app.
The Hugless Douglas eBook app (based on the book of the same name by David Melling) includes well-thought functions and discoverable features that will keep readers of all ages engaged and amused.
Bottom of the Ninth by Ryan Woodward: A truly amazing "never-seen-before" app of an interactive graphic novel which tells a baseball story set 200 years in the future. A must for all baseball fans! Ages 8+
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen: This retelling of the classic children's book deserves a nod on our list, simply because the interactive illustrations are astoundingly beautiful. Ages 9+
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce: An Oscar-winning short film and award-winning book, this app version intentionally blurs the line between picture books and animated films. Ages 7+
Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day by Amy de la Haye: Fashion-oriented readers and history buffs will greatly enjoy this book adventure, which features famed British museum the Victoria & Albert and it's selection of clothing and artifacts. Ages 7+-->
The world lost a revered author of children's literature when Russell Hoban passed away last Tueday at the age of 86. Although he wrote more than 50 books for children and was the author of several popular adult novels, here in the children's library he is best known for his Frances books. Bread and Jam for Frances remains one of the definitive books about picky eaters, and the entire series is worth revisiting for its gentle, funny look at the life of a young badger. Check out our collection of Hoban titles at the link below.
If you and your children have been enjoying the Early Literacy iPad Kits along with the iPad mounted in the Children's Library, we have great news! We recently revamped our kits to include newly acquired apps for you and your children to enjoy! We've also organized the apps, old and new, into convenient folders.
Did you know that certain technology and devices can enhance the learning experience for pre-readers? iPads offer a multi-sensory tool for engaging a child in a creative, collaborative environment.
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.
From classics like Hop on Pop and Frog and Toad, to new favorites like Elephant and Piggie and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, the F5 Learn to Read collection features books (as well as Books with CD's that let you listen along with the story and educational computer games) designed for emerging readers.
Some easy reader series focus on phonics and sight words (like the popular Bob Book kits), while others are simply great stories told with recognizable vocabulary, ample white space, and limited text. For new readers, there are tons of excellent choices in a broad range of reading levels. Stop by the Children's Library anytime and ask us for recommendations for your new reader.
When your child is ready to branch out into slightly longer chapter books, take a look through out Kids I Read collection!
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."
Elephant and Piggie are the best of friends.
They enjoy doing many things together like going to parties, dancing, and playing catch.
When a new friend, Snake, comes along, will they all be able to play catch together?