Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Curious About Hurricanes?

After this week's brush with Hurricane Sandy, many kids may be curious about what causes hurricanes and how they work.  Never fear, we have plenty of resources for you!

Stop in at the library to explore a whole bunch of books about hurricanes and other natural disasters.  If you're interested in browsing books about all sorts of different weather and natural disasters, take a look in our nonfiction section around the Dewey Decimal Number 550.  And of course, you can always ask a librarian if there's something specific you're curious about.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

In addition to wonderful books, we can also connect you with a wealth of other electronic resources.  The Watertown Free Public Library subscribes to all sorts of wonderful, kid-friendly databases that you can access for free with your library card!

You can access all of our databases either in the library or by visiting our website from your home computer.  (If you're accessing them from home you'll need to type your library card number.)  Pick a database that looks good to you and just type "Hurricane" (or whatever else you're curious about) into the search box.

Kids InfoBits - This database is great for kids in grades K-5.
InfoTrack Junior - This one's excellent for upper elementary and middle school students.
PebbleGo - This one's great for the younger crowd.  First choose if you're interested in Animals or Earth and Space (for hurricanes, choose Earth and Space), then browse or use the search box.
World Book Encyclopedia Online Student Edition - World Book Online for Kids is great for elementary, and World Book Online Info Finder is best for middle school students.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Audiobooks for Little Ones: Reading and Listening Together

When you walk into the Children's Department, one of the first things you'll see are a bunch of hanging bags. Many people walk by without knowing what these bags contain, and they're pretty great.  Each bag contains a book, along with a CD with the audio for that book!  These book/CD combos are wonderful tools to help little ones feel more independence in their reading experiences.

We have a very wide collection of book/CD combos.  The majority of what we have are picture books, but there are a few nonfiction and easy reader selections mingled in there.  They're great for use at home or in the car, and teachers and childcare providers often check them out to use in listening stations and classrooms.  (They're located right next to the audiobooks on CD and the Playaways, which are also wonderful, and are usually for readers who are a little older.)

Additionally, the Watertown Free Public Library subscribes to a wonderful service called Tumblebooks.  Tumblebooks has a wide variety of books, ranging from picture books through chapter books, where the child can visually see the pages and hear the text read to them.  Additionally, the words change color as they're read aloud.  To explore this wonderful resource, click on the link and then enter your library card number.

All of these resources strongly support literacy development.  Reading and listening at the same time helps children learn using multiple modalities, so they're learning with both their eyes and ears simultaneously.  For kids who are a little bit reluctant to spend time reading, combining these two learning styles can often inspire more motivation and excitement about reading.  And the dual-learning model is especially helpful for English Language Learners.

Want to find out more?  Check out some of this research indicating that audiobooks strongly support literacy development:

Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy by Sharon Grover and Lizette Hannegan.  This is a full-length book for anyone interested in learning a whole lot about this fascinating topic.

"Talking Books: Using Multimedia to Support Learning and Literacy," a 2008 article by Susan Bowdoin and Jonathan Brinkerhoff in the journal Learning and Leading with Technology.  The full text article is available through Academic OneFile, one of our research databases.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Story Time... with iPADS!

There's still space in Thursday's iLearn Preschool, for kids ages 3-5 with a caregiver!  We'll do an awesomely interactive story time with books, songs, rhymes and, of course, iPads!  Parents, you'll learn how to use an iPad to help your child develop certain literacy-related skills.

Each grown-up and child pair will get to use an iPad and two sets of headphones to explore new and exciting apps that teach your child a wide variety of sensory and cognitive skills.  This program does require registration, so stop in or call us at 617-972-6435 to sign-up!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Heifer International says THANKS!

Congratulations again to our Summer Readers!

Over the summer, kids in Watertown read a total of 2900 hours!  At the beginning of the summer, we set out to make donations to Heifer International when we reached certain reading goals.  When we read 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 hours, we donated a flock of ducks, a flock of geese, rabbits, and a pig (respectively).  Obviously, the kids succeeded and blew these goals away!

Well, Heifer International officially said THANK YOU!  They sent us a certificate of appreciation, which is currently displayed at the Children's Reference Desk.  You can stop by and see it the next time you're in!

GREAT JOB everybody!!