Friday, March 30, 2012

The Language Collection’s in a New Spot!

Looking for books in languages other than English? We recently moved them to a much more prominent and noticeable part of the library! Now they’re on the shelves facing the picture books, on the other side of the graphic novels.

We’ve also focused the collection on fewer languages – Armenian, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – since these are the languages we have the most resources for. You’ll also find our books in Braille over here. Don’t worry, we still have books in other languages. They’ve just moved to the nonfiction section (look for them with a Dewey Decimal number in the 400’s).

We’ve also added a brand new section: the Language Learning collection! Interested in helping your child learn a new language? You’ll find dictionaries, activity books, and DVD’s. We’ve even purchased a brand new set of Muzzy Language Courses!

Be sure to stop in and check it out!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sign your child up to read with a dog!

Why are there dogs in the library?

It's Dog B.O.N.E.S., an awesome opportunity for beginning readers to improve their reading skills by sharing books with a dog!

Once or twice a month, volunteers bring in registered therapy dogs for kids to read to. Children sign-up for twenty-minute sessions and share any story of their choosing. The dogs are excellent listeners (and the dogs' owners are too!). The dogs never interrupt the reader, never laugh, never correct them. Kids build reading fluency and confidence by reading out loud to a calming companion.

We work with an organization called Dog B.O.N.E.S., which stands for Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing & Emotional Support. They help coordinate the volunteers who donate their time to make this program available.

All sorts of research in recent years has found that reading to dogs is very beneficial, especially for struggling readers. Check out a few resources below for more info:

Interested? We've got two Dog B.O.N.E.S. dates coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Saturday, March 31 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. AND
Sunday, April 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Call 617-972-6435 or stop in to register for a 20-minute session!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nursery Rhymes: How Many Do You Know?

How many nursery rhymes do you remember? How often do you sing or say them to your kids?

Nursery rhymes are one of the best ways to help young children learn a skill called phonological awareness, or the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. When babies are first learning what sounds make up our language, they need to be able to break the words down into smaller sounds. Talking, talking, talking with your baby will help them do that. Nursery rhymes will give an extra push to this important development.

As children grow older, rhymes help them figure out what sounds are made by different letters. In her book Reading Magic, Mem Fox writes that studies have shown "that if children know eight nursery rhymes by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight" (p. 89, 2008).

So many parents, though, can't remember the nursery rhymes they learned as children. Or, perhaps, they never learned them in the first place.

What can you do?

Never fear! We have a wide array of nursery rhyme books and CDs to get you started or refresh your memory! Stop in and find some to take home, or request some using our online catalog (try a keyword search for "Mother Goose").

Happy Rhyming!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tender Topics

Have you ever had a difficult subject to discuss with your child? Most parents have or will, and sensitive picture books can often help jumpstart the conversation. Here at the Watertown Free Public Library, we have a special collection of books for just this purpose. We call it the Parent/Teacher Collection, and it contains books that discuss a wide variety of tender topics.

These helpful picture books are kept on a special bookshelf in the early literacy play area. They are organized by topics. Each book has a sticker with a picture of a baby on it, along with a color-coded label indicating the topic.

We intend for parents (or teachers and caregivers) to share these books with children and spark thoughtful conversation. Currently, our topics are:
  • Adoption
  • Bullying
  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Emotions
  • Family
  • Health
  • Learning
  • Moving
  • New Baby
  • Potty
  • Separation
  • Social Skills
  • Special Needs
Of course, the books in this section are not exhaustive. There are other books throughout the library that deal with these topics, but we've gathered a wide selection in a convenient location. It's the perfect way to begin addressing those tender topics when you just don't know where to start.