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WiserKids: a New Early Literacy Blog from Cedar Mill Community Library

Fri, 2014-03-21 10:00

Hi gang!

We're super-excited to announce a brand new early learning blog from our very own Cedar Mill Community Library: WiserKids: grow, learn, read, play, explore at your library

WiserKids will feature "information and activities about early literacy, reading recommendations, programs, special events and more!"  It is brought to you by the hard-working youth services team at the Cedar Mill Community Library and the Cedar Mill Library at Bethany.

We hope you will take the time to follow what promises to be a great library resource for families with young children!!

Also, in case you didn't already know, the Tigard Public Library has their own library blog for families (Family Book Bag) and the Garden Home Community Library has developed a fantastic set of Pinterest boards to help you connect with great books (Garden Home Library Youth Reads).  We highly suggest you check out these vast treasure troves.

We hope you can tell that the public libraries of Washington County love sharing tips with families to help kids get ready to learn and read!

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Fe Fi Fo Fum!

Fri, 2014-03-07 16:09
Here is a silly little fingerplay: Fe Fi Fo Fum



Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum
Fe, fi, fo, fum
See my fingers,
See my thumb.
Fe, fi, fo fum,
Goodbye fingers,
Goodbye thumb!

I like how simple this one is.  It is a perfect gateway to more complicated fingerplays like last week's I Saw a Little Rabbit or The Itsy Bitsy Spider.  
When little kids work on moving their fingers individually, they are preparing themselves for future writing success!
Please note that our Fingerplay Fun Fridays will be on a minor hiatus beginning next week.  The program will start back up on April 18th.  We apologize for this inconvenience but promise to return with more fun rhymes soon!

Fingerplay Fun Friday: I Saw a Little Rabbit!

Fri, 2014-02-28 13:58
Here's a cute little rhyme about a bunny: I Saw a Little Rabbit

I Saw a Little Rabbit

I saw a little rabbit
Go hop, hop, hop

I saw his long ears
Go flop, flop, flop

I saw his little nose
Go twink, twink, twink

I saw his little eyes
Go blink, blink, blink

I said, “Little rabbit,
Won’t you stay?”

He just looked at me,
And hopped away


I like this one because it encourages imaginative play. When you make your hand into a little bunny by extending your index and middle fingers, you're engaging in symbolic play.  Your hand isn't really a rabbit, you're just pretend that it is.  This makes perfect sense to adults, but to little kids it takes time.
There is a growing body of research about the importance of play in the early years.  From a literacy standpoint, when children recognize that something is a representation of an actual object, they begin to understand how books work.  The pictures and words on the page of a book stand for ideas and objects.  We use these symbols to communicate.  We call this understanding print awareness.  Children who understand how books work have an easier time learning how to read.

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Form the Orange!

Fri, 2014-02-21 10:00
Here is one of our older videos: Form the Orange

Form The Orange

Form the orange,
Form, form the orange.
(hold hands apart in half circles, slowly bring together)

Peel the orange,
Peel, peel the orange.
(keep thumbs together, slowly separate finger-tips)

Squeeze the orange,
Squeeze, squeeze the orange.
(give yourself a great big hug)

Form the banana,
Form, form the banana.
(slowly bring palms together over your head)

Peel the banana,
Peel, peel the banana.
(slowly separate palms)

Go bananas,
Go, go bananas!
(dance any way you please)


I like this one because it's super-catchy and loads of fun for kids.  Best of all, it is a great opportunity for kids to practice coordinating their big body movements.  You start by making your hands into two half-circles, which you slowly bring together into one full-circle.  Making your fingers and thumbs meet takes some degree of focus.

Kids who are able to control their body movements will have an easier time learning how to write.  Writing requires a considerable amount of focus and precision.  When kids play with and practice their big body movements, they are working on important pre-writing skills!

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink!

Fri, 2014-02-14 10:00
Happy Valentine's Day everybody!  Here is one of my favorite love-themed songs: Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink

Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink

Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky dinky doo
Skinnamarinky dinky dink
I love you!

Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky dinky doo
Skinnamarinky dinky dink
I love you!

I love you in the morning
And in the afternoon
I love you in the evening
And underneath the moon

Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky dinky doo
Skinnamarinky dinky dink
I love you!


I like this one because, in addition to being a great bonding opportunity for a child and the adult in their life, you can suit your actions to call attention to the homonyms "I" and "eye".  A homonym is a word that sounds exactly the same as another word but has a different meaning.

This rhyme can serve as a great conversation starter about homonyms.  After you have done the action rhyme with your preschooler, write out the words "I" and "eye" on paper and show them the difference.  This will help your child begin to understand how words in the written form work and how we can make the same sounds with different letter combinations.  We call a child's ability to understand how written words work Print Awareness and their ability to connect letters with sounds Letter Knowledge.

When you help your child understand how homonyms work, you also help them realize that much of our language depends on context.  Here is a silly little chant you can share to drive home the point:

I, I, I (point to self)
Me, me, me!!!

Eye, eye, eye (point to eye)
See, see, see!!!

Or, for all the sailors out there:

Aye, aye, aye (nod three times)
Yes, yes, yes!!!

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Pease Porridge Hot!

Fri, 2014-02-07 10:00
Here is an old Mother Goose rhyme that introduces kids to the concepts of hot and cold: Pease Porridge Hot

Pease Porridge Hot

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot,
Nine days old.

Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old.


I like this one because it does a nice job of describing the opposites hot and cold.  When children understand how opposites work, they begin to see how one thing can have different qualities.  The porridge (or oatmeal) can be hot or it can be cold.  We use the adjectives "hot" and "cold" to describe or attribute specific qualities of heat to the object "porridge".

Kids who have a broad understanding of adjectives and opposites have an easier time making sense out of what they read once they begin learning.  Knowing the names of opposites helps them to make guesses, as well.

When you share books with your child, try taking a little extra time to describe the pictures on the page.  Use as many different words as you can to describe the objects and ask your kids to help describe.  You don't even need a book to help your child learn more adjectives and opposite words.  Simply describe the things you see throughout your day.

There are many excellent picture books that help kids master the concepts of opposite.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Title: Big Dog... Little Dog
Author: P.D. Eastman
Find this book at your library

Fred and Ted are best friends who are very different.  This delightful book uses a humorous story to introduce kids to opposite concepts.

Title: Biggest, Strongest, Fastest
Author: Steve Jenkins
Find this book at your library

The animal kingdom is explored with an eye to extremes.  While not an "opposite" book, the author does a nice job of including the opposing superlatives.
Title: Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!
Author: Sandra Boynton
Find this book at your library

Dinosaur lovers will enjoy this prehistoric book of opposites!
Title: Tall
Author: Jez Alborough
Find this book at your library

The concepts of tall and small are on display as a lovable and small chimp becomes tall with the help of friends!
Title: You and Me: We're Opposites
Author: Harriet Ziefert
Illustrator: Ethan Long
Find this book at your library

Zoo animals tell each other how their opposites.

CLEL Bell Awards Announced!!

Thu, 2014-02-06 15:10
The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) announced the winners of their Bell Picture Book Awards this morning!!

These awards have been given to recognize five picture books from 2013 that provide excellent support for early literacy development in children around five key practices: Read, Talk, Sing, Write and Play.

Without any further ado, here are the 2014 CLEL Bell Awards!!!
(click on each title to see Early Literacy Activity Ideas from CLEL)

Title: Open This Little Book
Author: Jesse Klausmeier
Illustrator: Suzy Lee
Find this book at your library

"Readers open the cover to discover five characters, each with their own little book, all within the pages of the first. Open This Little Book celebrates the pleasures of reading, sharing stories, and having a book of your own."
- Synopsis by CLELTitle: Moo!Author: David LaRochelleIllustrator: Mike WohnoutkaFind this book at your library
"A very vocal cow commandeers the farmer’s car and sets off on an adventure. The entire story is told with just two words: Moo! and Baa! The speech bubbles and the very limited vocabulary help children make the critical connection between the words we say and the print on the page."- Synopsis by CLELTitle: Nighty-Night, CooperAuthor: Laura NumeroffIllustrator: Lynn MunsingerFind this book at your library
"A small kangaroo requests song after song to help him fall asleep, and his mother obliges by making up her own words to familiar tunes. Singing songs together is a powerful way to build phonological awareness skills and vocabulary, and Nighty-Night, Cooper models how a parent can use songs to create a comforting bedtime routine with a child."-Synopsis by CLELTitle: Things I Can DoAuthor: Jeff MackFind this book at your library
"Hand-written text and exuberant collages illustrate this story of a boy who takes great pride in his accomplishments. Reading skills and writing skills develop together, and the format of The Things I Can Do invites children to see themselves as authors as well as readers."- Synopsis by CLELTitle: Niño Wrestles the WorldAuthor: Yuyi MoralesFind this book at your library
"Niño takes on all the toys in his room with an amazing series of lucha libre wrestling moves. When his sisters wake up from their nap, they challenge him to a match, too! Who will be victorious? Niño Wrestles the World joyfully demonstrates the language-rich, open-ended play that contributes to a child’s narrative skills."- Synopsis by CLEL

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Jack Be Nimble!

Fri, 2014-01-31 10:00
This week's rhyme is presented as a three-for-one: Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick

Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick

Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over
the candle stick

Jack jump high
Jack jump low
Jack jump over
And burn his toe!


I like this one because it shows a perfect example how a rhyme can be shared in many different ways.

In the video, I share it as:

  1. A baby lap-bounce 
  2. A fingerplay using American Sign Language
  3. A full-body action rhyme

Just because your child grows into a new stage of development, you don't need to throw out all of your old rhymes.  In fact, you can modify rhymes to suit the age and development of your child.  Just as many words have different meanings, rhymes can take on different forms.  Children who have playful experiences with different meanings and ways of doing things will have an easier time adapting and comprehending what they read once they begin learning.

Languages are extremely complex.  Idioms are a great example of how meaning can be quite elastic.  When a new reader encounters the sentence "it is raining cats and dogs," they will be extremely confused unless they have previously heard the idiom.

When we show kids how to play with language & generate different outcomes, we help them build the flexibility they will need to succeed academically!

Youth Book Award Time!!

Mon, 2014-01-27 09:24
This morning at 5 am, the American Library Association announced its annual Youth Media Awards!  Numerous awards were handed out, including best picture book (Randolph Caldecott Medal), best beginning reader (Geisel Award), best young adult book (Michael L. Printz Award) and best book for children (John Newbery Medal).

Stop by your local library and check out one of these award-winners!!

For more ALA Youth Media Awards and more information, visit the Association for Library Services to Children's website here.

Award: Newbery Medal
Title: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: K.G. Campbell
Find this book at your library

Award: Caldecott Medal
Title: Locomotive
Author: Brian Floca
Find this book at your library

Award: Geisel Award
Title: The Watermelon Seed
Author: Greg Pizzoli
Find this book at your library

Award: Paula Belpré Award - Illustrations
Title: Niño Wrestles the World
Author: Yuri Morales
Find this book at your library

Award: Paula Belpré Award - Text
Title: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Author: Meg Medina
Find this book at your library

Award: Coretta Scott King - Illustrations
Title: Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me
Author: Daniel Beaty
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Find this book at your library

Award: Coretta Scott King - Text
Title: P.S. Be Eleven
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Find this book at your library

Award: Sibert Medal
Title: Parrots Over Puerto Rico
Author: Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore
Find this book at your library

Award: Odyssey Award
Title: Scowler
Author: Daniel Kraus
Produced by: Listening Library
Find this book at your library

Award: Printz Medal
Title: Midwinterblood
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Find this book at your library

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Way Up In the Sky!

Fri, 2014-01-24 10:00
Here is a great good morning rhyme: Way Up In the Sky

Way Up In the Sky

Way up in the sky
The little birds fly
While down in the nest
The little birds rest
Shhh! They're sleeping.

With a wing on the left
And a wing on the right
The little birds sleep
All through the night.
Shhh! They're sleeping.

Up comes the sun
And the dew drops away
Good morning, good morning,
the little birds say


I like this one because it can easily support a waking routine.  Young children often have a difficult time transitioning from one activity to another.  Waking from a warm bed and moving into a stimulating environment can be a little jarring.  Connecting a fun and comforting song with the transition can help ease things.  This is especially helpful if your morning is a little bit rushed.

Establishing routines helps kids make predictions about what is going to happen next.  In addition to supporting a child's social and emotional development, this is a skill that will help kids comprehend what they read once they begin learning.

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Ten In the Bed!

Fri, 2014-01-17 10:00
Oh my! and Golly gee!  Today marks the one year anniversary of Fingerplay Fun Friday

Check out our very first FFF post here.

We started Fingerplay Fun Friday shortly after launching our WCCLS Kids blog as a way to spotlight our growing collection of online rhyme videos.  We quickly realized that by sharing rhyme videos in a blog format we could tie-in information about how fingerplays and nursery rhymes help kids build important pre-reading skills.

We hope you have enjoyed Fingerplay Fun Friday and have learned some new activities to share with your family.  Although we may miss a Friday here and there, we will continue to share nursery rhymes as we are able.  Stay tuned for more fun!

Today we feature a silly counting down rhyme: Ten In the Bed

Ten In the Bed

There were ten in the bed  (hold up ten fingers)
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"  (make a rolling motion with arms)
So they all rolled over
And one fell out!  (lower one finger)

(repeat with 9-2)

There was one in the bed
And the little one said
"Alone at last!  Goodnight!"


I like this rhyme because it lets kids practice their fine motor skills (raising and lowering individual fingers) while they also learn how to count down from ten. 

When kids count down, they are practicing the mathematical concept of subtraction.  In this case, they are subtracting by units of 1:

There were 10 in the bed minus 1 = there are now 9 in the bed

You can modify the rhyme and help kids better understand how subtraction works:

There were ten in the bed  (hold up ten fingers)
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"  (make a rolling motion with arms)
So they all rolled over
And two fell out!  (lower two fingers)

There were eight in the bed ....

It is very important for kids to have a strong number sense when they begin learning math.  Number sense is a child's ability to think and work with numbers.  When kids count on their fingers, they practice making the one-to-one correspondence between the amount of fingers on their hands and the abstract idea of a number.  The ability to reason abstractly is critical for future math success!

As with all early learning, children learn best when they engage in fun and meaningful activities.  Ten In the Bed is a great example of fun pre-math activity.

Fingerpla Fun Friday: Monkey See, Monkey Do!

Fri, 2014-01-10 16:56
Here is a neat little rhyme with a repeated chorus: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When you clap, clap, clap your hands
The monkey claps his hands

(Chorus) Monkey see monkey do,
Monkey do the same as you.

When you stomp, stomp, stomp your feet
Monkey stomps his feet
(chorus)

When you turn, turn, turn around
Monkey turn, turn, turns around
(chorus)

When you jump, jump, jump up high
Monkey jump, jump, jumps up high
(chorus)



I like this one because it includes the repeated chorus over and over.  You can extend the rhyme by adding new verses, but you will always include the "Monkey see, monkey do, monkey do the same as you!"  This is provides kids with a very quick introduction to song structure.  Kids who understand how songs and stories are structured have a much easier time making predictions when they begin learning how to read!

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Mama's Little Baby Loves Clapping!

Fri, 2014-01-03 10:00
Here's a fun update to a familiar old song: Mama's Little Baby Loves Clapping

Mama's Little Baby Loves Clapping!

Mama's little baby loves clapping, clapping
Mama's little baby loves clapping fast!

Mama's little baby loves clapping, clapping
Mama's little baby loves clapping slow

Mama's little baby loves jumping, jumping
Mama's little baby loves jumping fast!

Mama's little baby loves jumping, jumping
Mama's little baby loves jumping slow


I like this one because it is so easy to adapt.  You can keep the rhyme going by adding more and more verses:
  • Mama's little baby loves clapping
  • Mama's little baby loves jumping
  • Mama's little baby loves spinning
  • Mama's little baby loves brushing
  • Mama's little baby loves eating
  • Mama's little baby loves cleaning up
Rhymes like this one are great for turning a chore into a time of fun.  Just be careful when brushing teeth or eating that you don't go too fast.  :) 

Early childhood educators have used music and rhymes to help facilitate classroom routines for years and years.  Music can be a great way to help kids look past the tedium and find the fun in everyday actions. 

"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.  You find the fun and SNAP, the job's a game!" - Mary Poppins

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Touch Your Nose!

Fri, 2013-12-27 10:00
Here is a fitting end to the year: Touch Your Nose

Touch Your Nose

Touch your nose,
Touch your chin.
That's the way
This game begins.

Touch your eyes,
Touch your knees.
Now pretend
You're going to sneeze (Aaaa-choo!).

Touch your ears,
Touch your hair.
Touch your lips,
Just right there (Smack a kiss).

Touch your elbows,
Where they bend.
Jump right up and say
THE END!!!!!


I like this one because it has an awful lot of body parts crammed in.  They also show up quite randomly, so it is a little harder for kids.  They really have to pay attention in order to follow along and "play the game."

I usually end all of my storytimes with this little gem.  Early learning research shows that kids respond positively to repetition and regularity.  Routines let your child focus more on the task at hand instead of worrying about what is going to happen next.  Check out this wonderful article from Zero to Three on Love, Learning, and Routines for more information.

See you next year!!!