Read with us this summer!

The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library’s annual Summer Library Program kicks off today!

Nurture your child’s interest in reading by signing them up for the Summer Library Program. Reading during the summer months helps prevent summer slide, a decline in reading ability and academic skills. Research shows that participation in summer reading programs can increase reading skills, motivation, confidence, and enjoyment. Find out how to get started below!

Summer Reading Program

Youth ages 0 to 18 can earn a free book this summer by participating in the Summer Library Program.

It’s as easy as 1–2–3!

  • Sign up anytime, June 1–August 14.
  • Read (or be read to) and complete activities.
  • Complete your reading goal and activities by August 14 to earn your free book!

How to Start…

Want to know more? Check out our Summer Library Program page to sign-up, download our event flyer, and so much more.

Questions? Call 715-839-5007 or email ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us

Two New Permanent StoryWalks®!

The library’s Youth Services team is delighted to announce the installation of two all-new, permanent StoryWalks® in Eau Claire. The walks were created in partnership with the City of Eau Claire’s Parks & Forestry Division and made possible through a COVID Recovery Grant from United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

StoryWalks® combine literacy with physical activity, placing large, colorful book pages at regular intervals along a walking route, encouraging users to walk (or run or skip or hop) as they read the book and/or enjoy the pictures.

Andy Neborak, Executive Director of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, says, “We’re honored to support this project. The StoryWalk® project advances the development and learning of children and also supports the mental and physical well-being of these children and their families. These were all primary goals of our recovery grant process. After a long year, people are eager to get outside and enjoy a wonderful Wisconsin summer.”

Open now, locals will find the walks in Owen Park and Carson Park. The Carson Park walk is located around the main playground. The Owen Park walk can be found along the Chippewa Valley State Trail, starting near the playground. Each park features a different story, which will be switched out on a regular basis.

Extra, extra! The library’s popular BookBike and Dabble Box team will be visiting the StoryWalks® this summer so you can check out books, sign up for a library card, register for the Summer Library Program, grab a take and make bag, ask reference questions, and more. Beginning June 1, the BookBike and the Dabble Box will be in Owen Park on Mondays, 9 a.m.–noon; and in Carson Park on Wednesdays, 9 a.m.–noon, weather permitting. Learn more about the BookBike here.

Try it out with your littles! Take a pic of your family enjoying the StoryWalks® and tag @ecpubliclibrary on social media or email it to Youth Services (listed below). We may feature your photo on our website and social media pages.

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to learn more. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

Meet the Parenting Collection

Parents and caregivers, let me introduce you to Youth Services’ new(ish) parenting collection!

Launched at the end of 2019, this collection contains materials for both children and adults on a range of family topics. You’ll find picture books for children about welcoming a new baby, potty training, adoption, divorce, and managing emotions. You’ll also find informational books for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-8 that focus on four main categories:

Click on the links above to see book suggestions in each of those categories.

Browse the whole parenting collection online, or visit the library in person during our appointment-free library service hours. Find our current schedule here.

Great Books for New Readers

One of the most common questions I get from parents in the library is how to help their child learn to read.

The first answer is that reading out loud to your child early and often is the number one way to help them become a good reader. Not only do they learn many pre-reading skills by watching you read aloud, but they also very importantly learn the love of reading from you. For more early literacy tips, check out these recent blogs from Jerissa. TalkReadSingPlay

When my own son was learning to read, he started by pre-reading books like “Great Day for Up,” where he gleefully picked out every occurrence of the word “up” and read it to me as I read the story. He also loved “reading” the book “Bears on Wheels” back to me, reading the pictures and telling me the story as he went.

When he was ready to start really reading and decoding the words on the page, he started with the Bob Books from the library. These super short books with just a few words per page really helped build his confidence as well as his reading ability. He loved when he could declare that he read a whole book by himself!

I have compiled a list of great books to help get your child started on their reading journey. These books range from those with one or two words per page to some with easy sentences. I hope that these books can help start your child on their lifelong love of reading!

Storytime OnDemand with Miss Kelly

It is fun to tell a story, but did you know that you can tell a picture, too? Join Ms. Kelly for Monkey’s Picture, a silly story about a monkey who makes a gift for his mama.

The Animal Antics full storytime line-up includes:

  • Monkey’s Picture
  • Roly Poly
  • Put Your Hands Up High
  • Tiny Tim
  • Going to Kentucky

When you are done quacking like a duck and swimming like a turtle, be sure to check out our other Storytime OnDemand and Fingerplay Fun videos!

Book Recs from our Young Adult Advisory Board

Did you know that Youth Services has a special advisory board for teen services, run by the teens themselves? The Young Adult Advisory Board (YAAB) meets each month to discuss ideas for programs, teen materials, and much more! Teen members recently created a booklist of some of their favorite teen reads to share with you all.

Check out these book recommendations for you or the teens in your life. Teen reads recommended by teens for other teens. What’s better than that?

Young Adult Advisory Board Teens Recommend…

To find out more about our current Young Adult Advisory Board, head over to the Teen Lounge @ Home Blog for member profiles.The Young Adult Advisory Board (YAAB) is open to teens in grades 6 through 12. YAAB currently meets virtually on the 1st Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. to discuss ideas for programs, materials, activities in the Teen Lounge and ways to make the library a better place for teens. Always accepting new members: apply today!

Building Brains by Reading with Your Children

Parents, did you realize that children develop essential skills that help them learn how to read long before formal reading instruction begins? These are called early literacy skills, and they include vocabulary, print motivation, phonological awareness, print awareness, letter knowledge, and narrative skills.

How do children gain these skills, exactly? The answer is simple. Through everyday nurturing interactions with you! When you talk, read, sing, and play with your children, you are helping them build these foundational skills, and you’re strengthening your bond with your child in the process. Win, win!

*This is the second post in a series of blogs about utilizing the early literacy practices (talk, read, sing, play) to foster your child’s development. This entry focuses on the practice of reading.

In “Becoming a Nation of Readers,” a landmark 1985 report, experts declared that “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” The positive effects of regularly reading aloud to your children are numerous and include the following:

  • builds connections in their brain
  • develops their language and vocabulary skills
  • supports their social/emotional development
  • strengthens their relationship with you
  • teaches them about themselves and the world in which they live

There is simply no denying the incredible and dynamic power of reading aloud to your children.

But with so many books and so little time, where does a parent begin? A great answer to this question is only three words long: your public library. Library staff is knowledgeable about the collections and eager to help your kiddos find books that match their interests and abilities. Reach out to us by phone (715-839-5007) or email (ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us) to start a conversation.

In the meantime, check out our staff curated book lists on a variety of topics for a variety of readers on our website and on our Bibliocommons profile. You’ll find great books to share with babies, toddler-tough picture books, funny stories, books for dinosaur fans, not your average lift-the-flap interactive stories, and so much more.

Okay, I’ve got some great books. Now what?

The greatest benefits from reading aloud can be achieved when you and your child are engaged in the reading experience. Enhance your child’s engagement and your own enjoyment by utilizing these tips:

  1. Read with expression! This may take some practice, but your kids will love it! 100% money back guarantee! Here are some vocal contrasts to add expressive flair:
    • Play with your pitch. Experiment with using a high voice and low voice to add depth to a character.
    • Adjust your volume. Perhaps you’ve reached a suspenseful part of the story and want to speak quietly for dramatic effect. Perhaps a character is surprised and speaks at an elevated volume.
    • Consider your speed. Avoid rushing. Relish each word. Make use of pauses and silence. Read quickly only when the action of the story calls for it. In general, a slower rate of speed gives your child more time to process what they are hearing and seeing on the page.
    • Experiment with your tone. Play around with the quality of sounds your voice can make. Gravelly, airy, nasal, etc.
  2. Be interactive! Invite your child to actively participate in the read aloud experience by doing the following:
    • Discuss the cover art and illustrations. Remember, while you focus on the text, your child is “reading” and deriving meaning from the illustrations. Talk with your child about the art and how it relates to the story.
    • Ask open ended questions. These enable a child to demonstrate their understanding and practice their narrative skills. Here are some examples:
      • What do you notice? They may observe something you haven’t yet noticed.
      • Why do you think he feels sad? This can help build emotional intelligence.
      • What do you think is going to happen? This is an opportunity to use critical thinking skills.
    • Include your children by inviting them to:
      • Do the actions. Many picture books include bold actions. Don’t just read it, do it!
      • “Read” the repeated phrases. Your child will quickly learn any repeated refrains in a story. After two or three times, start the phrase and let your child finish it.
      • Finish the sentence in a familiar text. Likewise, your child’s favorite books will soon be memorized. Invite them to finish the sentence or even “read” the book to you.
      • Complete the rhyme. Rhyming books are great for developing phonological awareness—an early literacy skill. Start the rhyme, but pause at the end to see if your child can finish it.
    • Discuss the book afterward. What did your child like? Dislike? What was their favorite part? What do they think the characters will do next?

Reading aloud with your children every day is beneficial for their development and can be both joyful and rewarding for you and your child. For more information and ideas on this topic, check out these great additional resources:

Enjoy reading with your child! Find information and tips about the other early literacy practices here: talking, singing, and playing.

Check Out Our Handy Guide to Great E-Reads

We love helping readers find the perfect book, and over the past year, we’ve had to get creative in how we get them into your hands. So we’ve been doing things like creating recommendation lists on Bibliocommons, which link right to our catalog listings. (Check those out here.)

But! Do you realize that, as a library customer, you also have access to our many digital media services? With these services, you can easily download or stream e-books, e-audiobooks, and other media—and many items are available on-demand. No wait lists!

To help you navigate these services, our Youth Services team has compiled a collection of our recommended e-books and e-audiobooks. You can find links to these Great E-Reads on our KIDS website, as well as details about which services offer each title. Many of them are available on-demand with no waiting list.

➜ Does your child loves mysteries? We have a list for that! Looking for picture books? We have those too! Need more books that are just like Wimpy Kid? We’ve got you covered!

Check out all of our recommended Great E-Reads, and find your next favorite book!


Pssst! If you are new to these services, we’ve made a great overview video explaining how to use Hoopla. And you can find support for all our other digital services HERE. Don’t have a library card? No problem! You can sign up here for an e-card, which will give you access to all of our digital services.

Funny Books for the Family

April Fool’s Day isn’t just about pranks; add a laugh to your day with one of these hilariously funny books!

Youth Services has compiled a list of books guaranteed to get you giggling. Laugh along with these books while developing language and a love of reading. Books on this list are for babies to teens and in-between.

Access the titles here:  Funny Books

Happy reading!

Read So Much More with Hoopla!

This past year has greatly changed my reading habits. Before we found ourselves safer at home last spring, I was a reluctant e-reader. I sought the weight of a real, paper book in my hands, and relished the time away from a screen.  Since then I’ve discovered, at times out of necessity, a whole new appreciation for e-books and e-audiobooks.

Hoopla, in particular, has become a go-to for on-demand reads. Hoopla is a streaming platform available with your library card. All items on Hoopla are available on demand, so there is no wait. You can check-out e-books and e-audiobooks, and stream movies and TV shows.

Learn how to get started with Hoopla and how to find great e-book and e-audio recommendations!

You can also follow these step-by-step instructions.

Want to know more about Hoopla? The Public Library Reference staff has an excellent video on setting up Hoopla available as a part of their A Little Help from the Library video series. Since you will need your library card PIN to sign up for Hoopla, we also recommend checking out their video on creating a PIN.

You can also give us a call at 715-839-5007 or send us your questions ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

Happy Reading!