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.

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 for Kids

Funny Books for Teens

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!

Frank Einstein and Scribble Bots Go to Book Club

Our Tween Book Club, the Book Scouts, has selected Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Sciescka for the upcoming March virtual meeting. Frank, a kid genius and inventor, is trying to win the Midville Science hundred-thousand cash prize, when, one night, a robot brings itself to life in his workshop. With Klink, the self-assembled artificial intelligence, and Frank’s other invention Klank on board, all seems to be going well, until Frank’s archnemesis, the evil and greedy T. Edison, arrives and robot-naps the bots.

Book Scouts is perfect for kids in grades 3-5. Learn more and sign up today.

Along with the book, participants receive a monthly activity kit. This month, Book Club members will channel their inner inventor and bring their very own Scribble Bot to life!

Spring Break Stock-up!

Feeling cooped up? Staying home for spring break? We’ve got the cure for cabin fever!

Youth Services has a great collection of take and make/do activities available to keep kids busy. We have everything from an Owl Pellet Dissection to a Mini Zen Garden kit, and more. Stock up now so you are all set for some quality at-home time during spring break. Learn more and register today! Don’t forget to share your completed projects! Send photos to ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

While you are at it, don’t forget to stock up on great books as well. If you are unsure what to read next, let Youth Services staff lend a hand. Complete the Personalized Book Bundle form and we’ll select ten of our favorites based on your interests.

As an added bonus this spring, we are inviting all kids to complete the Spring Spotlight Flipgrid challenges:

Challenge 1: Share your favorite joke.

Challenge 2: You are the author! Write and share an original story.

Challenge 3: Complete a minute-to-win-it game. Show us your favorite or try the Food Face game: Tip your head back. Put something edible on your forehead. Without using hands, wiggle the item down to your mouth.

 

March Storytime Kits for Families

March Storytime Kits are ready for you to pick up and enjoy with your little ones. We have two types of kits available: a Baby/Toddler Storytime Kit and a Family Storytime Kit. Each one is designed to enhance your storytime experience and provide continuous opportunities for early literacy fun at home. Here’s what you can find in the March kits:


Baby/Toddler Storytime Kit

Board book: One Clucky Hen

2 wrist bells

2 activity scarves

Bubbles (you can keep)

Little Mouse color activity (you can keep)

Songs and rhymes (you can keep)

Talking Is Teaching calendar (you can keep)


Family Storytime Kit

2 egg shakers

2 activity scarves

Lace a puppet activity (you can keep)

Little Mouse color activity (you can keep)

Songs and rhymes (you can keep)

Talking Is Teaching calendar (you can keep)


We’ll use some of these materials during storytime, so be sure to have your kit ready each week in March. Haven’t registered for storytime yet? No worries! We’d love to have your family join us. Follow this link to view our Storytime Online schedule and to register: https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/storytime-online/

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to reserve a March kit.

We look forward to connecting with you and your family at storytime!

Read Me a Book Club: Narwhal and Jelly

 

Do you have a kiddo in grades K-2? Sign them up for our podtastic new Read Me a Book Club! Our next virtual meet up is on Thursday, February 25, at 6 p.m. We will read and discuss Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, the first book in the New York Times Bestselling series Narwhal and Jelly. You and your children will also enjoy a silly song, wacky mad libs, friendly camaraderie with peers, and more. Be sure to contact Youth Services by phone or e-mail to request a copy of the book and a free activity bag (optional but recommended) which contains Narwhal and Jelly activities and a craft.

For more information or to register, visit https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/read-me-a-book-club/ or contact Youth Services by phone (715-839-5007) or e-mail (ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us).

We hope you can join us!

Get Your February Storytime Kit!

February Storytime Kits are ready for you to pick up and enjoy with your little ones. We have two types of kits available: a Baby/Toddler Storytime Kit and a Family Storytime Kit. Each one is designed to enhance your storytime experience and provide continuous opportunities for early literacy fun at home. Here’s what you can find in the February kits:


February Baby/Toddler Storytime Kit

Board book: Counting Kisses

Shape drum and mallet

Bubbles (you get to keep)

Paper pals activity (you get to keep)

Songs, rhymes, and fingerplays sheet (you get to keep)

Additional handouts (you get to keep)


February Family Storytime Kit

Rhythm sticks (2)

Scarves (2)

Paper pals activity (you get to keep)

Watercolor wow activity (you get to keep)

Songs, rhymes, and fingerplays sheet (you get to keep)

Additional handouts (you get to keep)


We’ll use some of these materials during storytime, so be sure to have your kit ready each week in February. Haven’t registered for storytime yet? No worries! We’d love to have your family join us. Follow this link to view our Storytime Online schedule and to register: https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/storytime-online/

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to reserve a February kit.

We look forward to connecting with you and your family at storytime!

Read Me A Book Club

What do goo monsters, ocean creatures with tusks, and a wolf in granny PJs have in common?! They’re all coming to you this winter at Read Me a Book Club!

Read Me a Book Club is geared toward emerging readers in grades K-2 and their grown-ups. Each month will include a featured read-aloud, as well as family-friendly games and activities. Registration is required.

You do not need to read before the meeting, nor do you need to have a copy of the book to enjoy book club. If you would like to follow along while listening to the read aloud, Youth Services has a limited supply of the books for participants to check out with a library card. A limited supply of activity bags with materials that tie-in to the monthly book selection are also available.

For more information or to register, visit https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/read-me-a-book-club/ or call Youth Services at 715-839-5007.

 

Storytime Kits Return!

January Storytime Kits are ready for you to pick up and enjoy with your little ones. We have two types of kits available: a Baby/Toddler Storytime Kit and a Family Storytime Kit. Each one is designed to enhance your storytime experience and provide continuous opportunities for early literacy fun at home. Here’s what you can find in the January kits:


January Baby/Toddler Storytime Kit

Board book: Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?

Scarves (2)

Bubbles (you get to keep)

Five Little Ducks finger puppet activity (you get to keep)

Songs, rhymes, and fingerplays sheet (you get to keep)

Additional handouts (you get to keep)


January Family Storytime Kit

Wrist bells (2)

Scarves (2)

Polar bear craft (you get to keep)

Five Little Ducks finger puppet activity (you get to keep)

Songs, rhymes, and fingerplays sheet (you get to keep)

Additional handouts (you get to keep)


We’ll use some of these materials during storytime, so be sure to have your kit ready each week in January. Haven’t registered for storytime yet? No worries! We’d love to have your family join us. Follow this link to view our Storytime Online schedule and to register: https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/storytime-online/

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to reserve a January kit and schedule a pick-up.

We look forward to connecting with you and your family at storytime!