Marysville Library Blog

Friday, September 24, 2010

Twos Are Terrific: What Am I Doing, and Why?

This year in my “Twos Are Terrific” storytime for two-year-olds, I am concentrating on one letter per week, going through the alphabet. The first week we talked about a-a-a-apples and a-a-a-ants and a-a-a-airplanes. This last week we talked about b-b-b-babies and b-b-b-bears and b-b-b-boats. During each storytime I read stories, we all sing songs and we exercise our large and small muscles in various ways. What do I expect your two-year-old to learn?

  • Most of all, I want children to learn to associate books with fun. Two-year-olds are very honest, and I know when I’m losing their interest or attention; so I keep the books short and dramatic.
  • I expect the children to become comfortable with a predictable storytime structure. As they come back each week, and start hearing some of the same songs and activities, they will gain confidence and start participating more.
  • Children need to acquire six pre-reading skills before they can become successful readers. As I concentrate on one sound or letter each week, I expect the children to learn that words are made up of a string of different sounds. This is one of the six pre-reading skills. They will also be picking the other core skills as well, but this is what I’m concentrating on this year.

Do I expect two-year-olds to actually learn their alphabet? No, not really; although a very few may pick it up if they’re getting more at home.

What do I expect the parents to do?

  • I expect parents to continue to read to their children all week. Parents can observe and learn from how I read the stories. Not only do I read very expressively, which gives two-year-olds additional clues as to the meaning, but I also involve them in some way in the story by helping to make sounds or asking them questions.
  • I expect parents to talk to and play with their children all week. I have a handout available each week of everything I do. That way parents can easily repeat the songs and fingerplays all week, as often as the child wants and the parent can stand.

I don’t expect or want parents to feel stressed about “teaching their child to read”. I do expect that I am giving parents skills, ideas and resources to take home and use with their children very day. I also expect that reading will eventually come because the children will have learned the pre-reading skills through these activities.

Ready Readers: The Six Core Skills
1. Story Awareness (Narrative Awareness)
2. Using Books (Print Awareness)
3. Understanding Sounds (Phonological Awareness)
4. Understanding Letters (Letter Knowledge)
5. Understanding Words (Vocabulary)
6. Loving Books (Print Motivation)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Salmon and Tattoos-How to Find What You’re Looking For

Some of my favorite interactions with patrons start off with the patron telling me that he (and it’s almost always a “he”) hasn’t been in a library since high school. Many times when this happens, they’re looking for car repair manuals, and I happily show them both our print collection and our automotive databases.

This afternoon, however, was even better. The patron wanted a tattoo of a salmon; the tattoo artist wasn’t getting what he wanted, and his Internet search wasn’t helping either. Someone directed him to the library, though he wasn’t quite sure how I would be more successful. After some discussion as to exactly what he had in mind, I started off by searching for “Salmon art” as a Keyword search, and found “Mythic beings: spirit art of the Northwest coast” by Gary Wyatt. This was cool art, but more stylized than he was looking for.

Next, I looked up our general tattoo and body art books. We happily browsed through the pictures, some of which made both of us shake our heads in disbelief. But even though we found some great tattoos and some that he definitely wanted to avoid, nothing quite fit. On the other hand, in the bibliography at the back of one of the children’s books I found a good possible reference, “The tattoo encyclopedia: a guide to choosing your tattoo” by Terisa Green, which is in our system.

Finally, I looked up our books about salmon. Some of the cover art was exactly what he was looking for, and the field guides - though not artistic - could help him choose realistic colors. The best was actually a picture book called “Salmon stream” by by Carol Reed-Jones, though I got several others for him as well.

Why am I writing about this? Okay, I’m weird in that I get a kick out of helping people find things; that’s why I’m a librarian. But the techniques I use are ones you can use as well:

  • Look at what you want from several different angles. In this case I searched for art, tattoos, and salmon, both together and separately.

  • Broaden your search if your first search pulled up little to nothing, or narrow your search if you get too much. In this case, I went from “salmon art” to “salmon”.

  • Find a book that sounds good, then go to that place on the shelf and look before and after it to see if there are other similar books that would be even better.

  • Look in the bibliography to find good online and print resources. Children’s books are great for this!

My patron left, new library card and several books in hand, happy with the arty pictures of salmon he found with my help. If the techniques I’ve outlined here don’t lead you to where you want to go, please don’t hesitate to come in and ask: we love to search for the information to make you happy, too.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Annual Bookmark Contest

The start of the new school year is right around the corner and I have exciting news for you about Sno-Isle’s annual bookmark contest. In the past, there have only been winners in each age/grade category across the entire system, leaving hundreds of local entries scant chance of winning. But beginning this year, there will be a winner in three categories from each branch community, which means that Marysville is guaranteed to have its own trio of winners. There will be one, local Marysville winner from each of the three categories listed below:

  • Preschool
  • K-Grade 2
  • Grades 3-6

Winning bookmarks will be printed and distributed in Sno-Isle libraries during Children’s Book Festival in November and we are planning to have a celebration/congratulatory event here at the library for the winners and their families toward the end of November—date to be announced.

We are distributing entry forms through the Marysville schools (in English and in Spanish), and additional entry forms are available here in the library. The deadline for entries to be returned to the library is Friday, October 8th. Winning entries will be chosen during the second week of October and we will post them on the Sno-Isle website on November 1st.

We encourage your budding artist to draw the best bookmark ever!