Thursday, September 27, 2012

What do you want us to buy?

Are there things you'd like to check out of the library that we don't have?  Did you know that you can make specific suggestions about what materials we should add to our collection?

In order to keep our library growing, we are constantly purchasing new books, DVDs, video games, ebooks, and more.  We use all sorts of resources to decide which ones we should buy, but our best resource is YOU!  Of course, we can't guarantee that we'll be able to buy every single suggested item, but your input will definitely help us as we're deciding what purchases to make.

There are a couple different ways you can tell us what you'd like us to buy.  Here in the Children's Department, we have an ongoing list of patron suggestions at the reference desk, so you can just call or stop by.  You can also make suggestions online using our "Suggest A Purchase" form.  Either way, we are excited to find out what you're looking for!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

iLearn Preschool: Using iPads to Develop Literacy Skills

That's right, we said iPads!

They're shiny and new, and they're loaded with tons of fun, developmentally appropriate apps for the 3-5 crowd.  We'll be hosting educational sessions for caregiver/child pairs to learn how to interact with iPads in ways that help develop your child's literacy skills.

In today's world, it's important for kids to develop the ability to learn through various mediums, including technology.  As children grow older, touchscreen technology can be used in similar ways to traditional books to develop learning through interactive play.  Reading and interacting with your child (with books OR technological devices) helps them develop a wide range of literacy skills, including language and cognitive skills.  Because kids are touching and "moving things" on the screen, they're also developing fine motor skills and learning in kinesthetic ways.  Our goal is to help parents and caregivers learn how to use technology in the best ways for their children and utilize iPads and other devices to their greatest educational potential.

Interested?  We'll be offering these programs twice a month.  In October, they'll be on Thursday, October 11 and Thursday, October 25, each at 10:15am.  The program is for children ages 3-5 with a caregiver, and adults and kids will work one-on-one, guided by a librarian.  Registration is required (starting 2 weeks before each date) and will probably fill up quickly, so stop in or call us at 617-972-6435!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Comic Books - They're Good For You!

Comic books have been around for a very long time.  Most parents who come in remember reading their own favorite comic books as a child, and a bunch of those characters and series are still around today!  And countless new comic books and graphic novels have come out at various reading levels.  Many of these new books have higher linguistic levels, represent multicultural viewpoints, cover important social topics, and provide opportunities for readers to develop multiple literacies simultaneously.

Occasionally, I hear of parents or teachers who don't want their child reading comic books.  Of course, every parent has the right to choose what they want their children reading, and the responsibility to keep an eye on their child's choices.  It's also important, though, to know that comic books and graphic novels provide special benefits that regular chapter books lack.

An incredibly important - and often overlooked - part of literacy is called print motivation, or the enjoyment of reading.  Kids who think reading is fun will do it more often and will naturally be better at it.  Comic books and graphic novels are especially great for reluctant readers.  They're FUN to read, and they often provide a foundation of enjoyment that will lead to reading other types of books.  Research has found that graphic novels are especially helpful in developing print motivation in boys.  Think of them as a gateway drug to expanded reading.

Reading Comprehension:
Many kids today can read aloud and sound out words, but struggle with reading comprehension.  When you ask them what they've just read, they can't remember.  Research has found that the way graphic novels incorporate words and pictures helps children (especially struggling readers) develop better reading comprehension.

English Language Learners:
The direct relation between words and pictures can be especially helpful for kids who are struggling with the English language.  For non-native English speakers, the colloquial qualities of comic books are also helpful.  Characters in graphic novels tend to use slang and common phrases that are very helpful for kids to learn authentic, everyday English.

Sound interesting?  Want to get your hands on some of these super helpful books?  You're in luck!  Here at the Watertown Free Public Library, we have TONS of graphic novels!  In the children's department, we keep them on the shelves across from the DVDs.  Stop in and check some out today!

Curious about the research I've referenced?  Below you'll find a very small smattering of articles that have been published on this topic.  Feel free to do your own research to find out more!

A Novel Approach: Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant Readers, by Philip Crawford.  Published in Library Media Connection in February, 2004.

Media Literacy, Graphic Novels, and Social Issues, by Gretchen Schwarz.  Published in Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education in November, 2007.

Sequentially SmART--Using Graphic Novels Across the K-12 Curriculum, by Karen Gavigan.  Published in Teacher Librarian in June, 2012.  You can find the full text of this article in our Expanded Academic ASAP database, available in the Research area of our website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dive into fall fun at the library!

The school year's started, and that means that a bunch of great programs are starting up again here at the library!  We've got programs for kids of all ages!


On My Own Story Time - This program is for four- and five-year-olds to practice their school readiness skills in an independent environment where they are separated from their caregivers (don't worry parents, you're just outside the program room).  We'll share stories, songs, rhymes and crafts that are specifically designed to help kids get ready for school!  It's Mondays at 3:30pm, and requires registration.

Nursery Rhyme Time - Early literacy for our youngest kiddos!  We'll do stories, songs and rhymes for babies who are not walking yet with their caregivers.  The program ends with playtime, where we make developmentally appropriate toys available for babies to interact with each other.  Check it out on Tuesdays at 9:30 or 11:00am (shifted 1 hour earlier than during the summer).

Toddler Story Time - It's back!  During the summer we combined to Family Story Time, but in the school year we have divided up the toddlers and preschoolers so we can focus on developmentally appropriate activities.  This is for one- and two-year-olds who are walking and moving about.  We share stories, songs, rhymes and lots of movement activities.  It's in between Nursery Rhyme Time sessions on Tuesdays at 10:15am.

Preschool Story Time - These programs are designed for preschoolers and features stories, songs, rhymes and a craft for kids with growing attention spans.  Don't miss it on Fridays at 10:15am.


Music Programs - At various times throughout the month, we bring in fantastic musicians to the library!  Music helps your child develop early literacy skills through their listening skills and phonological awareness.  And, of course, it's fun!  Musicians come in on a variety of days to accommodate all different schedules, and include Music with Lenka, town favorite Ed Morgan, and Tempo Time with Regina!  Check our online calendar of events or call 617-972-6435 to find out specific dates and times.

Craft Programs - Throughout the school year we have various craft programs for all ages, including little ones.  Crafts encourage artistic expression, and also develop small motor skills in the hands.  Again, check our online calendar of events or call to find out more.

Kids in elementary school aren't left out once school starts!  Each month we do a few things just for school-aged children.  As always, check our online calendar of events or call for specific information.  Here are a few programs we do often:

Dog B.O.N.E.S. - This reading program gives kids in grades K-5 the opportunity to practice their reading skills by reading aloud to trained therapy dogs!  Check out a previous blog post or our most recent WFPL Newsletter to find out more about the benefits of this amazing program!

Craft Programs - Crafts for older kids are usually a little more sophisticated and allow for a little more creative expression.  Your child will love the feeling of accomplishment they get from creating their own piece of artwork!

And we are always coming up with new ideas for fun school-age programs.  For example, in September we're having a Pirate Party (September 19 at 3:30pm - call to register) and a performance of the Chinese Dulcimer Guzheng Youth Band (September 29 at 2:00pm)!

So as the school year starts gearing up, be sure to incorporate trips to the library into your schedule.  And as always, if you have any questions, just ask!