Monday, January 30, 2012

Great Books for Grown-Ups

In addition to all the great books we have for little ones, the Children's Department has a great collection of parenting books and other resources for grown-ups!

Our Parenting Collection is located on a white bookshelf in the play area of the Children's Department. This contains nonfiction books about a wide variety of topics that parents are often interested in. These are by no means all of our parenting books - there are even more in the adult nonfiction section - but these are easily located near where you and your children play.

Also in our play area, you'll find our Parent Teacher collection. These are picture books that facilitate parent/child discussion focusing on various issues like emotions, death, new babies, and learning to go potty. These books can be incredibly helpful if you and your family are going through any big change.

We also have a small reference section behind the reference desk. Many of these books must remain here in the library, but some can be checked out. A lot of the books in this section are especially useful for teachers and include lesson plan ideas, but they're also full of activities that would be fun for parents and families.

That's a lot to chose from! To get you started, here are some of my personal favorites:

The Bilingual Edge by Kendall King
Kendall King has done mounds of research into bilingualism and raising children in two languages. She focuses on the amazing advantages that children have who can speak multiple languages from a young age. For families for whom this could be a possibility, this book is an excellent guide - and just an interesting read!

A Family of Readers by Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano
The Horn Book Magazine is a well-known publication that reviews children's literature. The editors of that magazine have put together this wonderful book about how to help your children become life-long readers and how to enjoy reading together as a family. They've also included lists of great books for children of various ages.

Reading Magic by Mem Fox
I've saved my absolute favorite for last. Mem Fox has spent a majority of her career researching early literacy and the effects of reading with young children. While this book came out a little while ago, the information in it is still incredibly helpful. It includes developmental information about how your child is actually learning, along with loads of tips about how you can help this development along. This is the book I buy as a gift for every friend and relative who has a new baby.

Happy Reading!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thank you for your support at our first Library Mini Golf!

Our first ever Library Mini-Golf was a great success! 155 people attended and explored the golf course that was set up throughout the entire library. While waiting for their turn to golf, participants enjoyed games, crafts, face painting, and a raffle drawing!

Thank you to the Library Building Committee, who sponsored the event and provided prizes and entertainment. And thank you to everyone - every family, person, business, and organization - who sponsored a hole. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make things run smoothly.

And we'd like to send out a special thank you to everyone who attended! You made this event a smashing success - shall we say, a hole in one?!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Support the library, play mini golf!

The time is getting near for WFPL mini golf.

On Friday, January 20 at 7 p.m. the library is going to transform into a two-floor 18 hole mini golf course. There will be golf clubs, golf balls, holes, scorecards etc. There will also be popcorn, prizes, face painting, the chance to hang out with your favorite librarians on a Friday evening. And of course, there is guaranteed fun.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children.

This fundraiser event is sponsored by the Watertown Free Public Library Building Committee. The Library Building Committee provides funding for services the library would not otherwise provide in the regular budget. In the coming months the children's department alone has three big programs planned--Nappy's Puppets in February, New England Aquarium's Traveling Tidepool in March and Barn Babies in April-- all funded by the the Library Building Committee. Attending library mini golf will allow us to offer programs like this in the future.

Can't make it but want to contribute? Consider sponsoring a hole. A $50 donation gets you sponsorship of one of the 18 holes. You can make a contribution here or send a check payable to the Watertown Free Public Library Building Committee: Watertown Free Public Library
                                            c/o Library Building Committee
                                            123 Main St.
                                             Watertown, MA 02472

We hope to see you on January 20. Tell your friends!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More than meets the eye...

You might recognize this as one of the toys in our play area. But did you know it's for much more than just entertainment? Of course it's entertaining as well, but it's also helping young children develop skills that will help them when they start school.

For example, pushing the beads around their wire paths helps little ones learn about cause and effect. While this understanding feels innate to us adults, little ones are still learning this very important concept.

You can also help your child learn directional vocabulary. This activity provides a perfect opportunity to talk with them about what "up," "down," and "across" mean.

One side of the block has street signs that children can manipulate. Street signs are an excellent way to begin teaching young children about symbolism. When they're ready to learn how to read, children will eventually need to understand how a symbol is a picture, shape, or image that stands for something else. Letters are essentially symbols for sounds, and written words are symbols for what they mean.

Talk with your child while they're playing with these street signs. Talking about how "this picture means this" will help them understand that a picture or symbol can mean something. You can even extend this activity and point out street signs when you're walking or driving. This will help kids understand that print and symbolism are everywhere!

The key to all of this is engaging with your child. Your little one will learn so much more if you play together than if he or she plays with a toy alone. Take these opportunities to develop these early literacy skills whenever you can!