Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to School Tips for Parents

It's hard to believe our long, hot summer is over and a new school year is here...

If you're looking for some help to get both you and your children in the right frame of mind for the transition, check out these websites:

Family Education covers a huge range of back to school topics, including kindergarden kickoff, moving up to middle school, homework help by grade, school lunch ideas and recipes, and much more.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers concise advise about re-establishing routines before school starts, overcoming anxiety, and what to do if problems arise.

The US Department of Education has a nice guide to helping assure your child's academic success as well as tips for working with schools and teachers.

For some inspiring healthy lunch box ideas, complete with great photos, check out this post at BlogHer!

You can also find a list of books about starting school to share with your young students at What's Next: Booklists for Children and Teens, along with books about all kinds of subjects.

Here's to a successful new school year!

Photo from Microsoft Office Online

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Video: The Big Book of Gross Stuff

Here's another great booktalk by our youth services librarian, Anne - for The Big Book of Gross Stuff by Bart King.

Be warned--it really is gross stuff! So it's best for kids in grades 4-6 who really like that sort of thing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What to Do During Our Storytime Hiatus?

Our summer preschool storytimes have come to an end, but we'll be back before long.

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions to enhance your baby, toddler, or preschooler's early literacy skills.

  1. Read Mr. Gumpy's Outing and have a tea party with fruity flavored iced tea.
  2. Play "I Spy" with rhyming words, for example, "I spy something that rhymes with BAT."
  3. Make sand letters at the beach.
  4. Keep a bag of library books and CDs in the car to entertain your children while running errands.
  5. Sing a favorite song, leave out a few words, and ask your child to remember the words that are missing.
  6. Sing nursery songs and rhymes to your baby.
  7. Check out our booklists or stop by and talk to any youth services librarian for suggestions.

Remember--early literacy is what children learn about reading and writing before they can actually read or write.

We'll see you at storytime soon. Check back for all the details!

Monday, August 16, 2010

2010: A Record-Setting Year for Snow, Heat ...and Summer Reading Participation!

With just under two weeks to go, 5194 kids from toddlers to teens have registered for Get Caught Reading this summer and nearly 1400 have picked reached their reading goals and picked up their prizes!

We'll let you know what the final tally is after the last squirty fishes are handed out on Saturday, Sept. 11.

In the meantime, keep reading! And remember to check back for our fall storytime schedule--programs will resume in mid-September.

Image: Francesco Marino /

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Video: Uh, Oh! I Barfed on Mrs. Kenly

A book for newly independent readers brought to you by Anne, youth services librarian from Westover Branch Library.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's Not Too Late... sign your children up for Get Caught Reading, our summer reading program.

As librarians, part of our mission is to promote the joy of reading in all its forms. And clearly, the children who participate in our summer reading program enjoy meeting their reading goals and claiming their small prizes. We see that every day as more kids come to our desk waving yellow reading logs and spending considerable time deciding what color fish they want.

But you don't have to rely on our perceptions to appreciate the value of summer reading. Though it may seem obvious, research stresses the importance of successful summer reading experiences and verifies that "children who enjoy reading will read more and become more proficient." Conversely, those children without positive reading experiences find less enjoyment in voluntary reading and experience the learning loss that researchers refer to as "summer slide."

This article from Reading Rockets discusses how summer reading loss impacts student achievement and offers literacy advice for families. And if you need yet more evidence about the positive impact of summer reading programs, take a look at highlights of a study done by Dominican University.

So don't delay! Registration continues through August 28th for preschool and elementary-age children. After meeting their reading goal, they can pick up a "squirty" fish prize through September 11.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are We There Yet? Resources for Traveling With Children

Traveling with children can be a joy... when you are prepared.

So make sure to stop by Central or your favorite Arlington branch library before you head out of town. You can check out books and audiobooks for three weeks without having to renew them. (And you can renew online if there are no holds on the items.)

Rachel Wood, our children's collection development specialist, gave us a list of her favorite audiobooks for family listening:

Whales on Stilts
and the other Pals in Peril books by M.T. Anderson
Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Ramona books by Beveraly Cleary, read by Stockard Channing
Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
The Frances audio collection by Russell Hoban
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
The Alvin Ho collection by Lenore Look
The Sam Krupnick series by Lois Lowry
The Stink books by Megan MacDonald, read by Nancy Cartwright
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro Baseball by Kadir Nelson
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (this is in the teen section, but according to Rachel "the boys loved it at 6, and still shout CRIVENS! once in a while.)
Knucklehead:Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories about Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka
The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

But what if everyone can't agree on a particular audiobook? Then try our playaways! These personal, pocket-sized digital players are preloaded with a single audiobook. You supply the earphones (and pack an extra AAA battery, just in case.) Everyone can listen to a favorite book--it's a win-win deal.

We also offer a great selection of eAudiobooks for kids and teens that can be downloaded to your computer and transferred to iPods and other mp3 players. Check out the details here.

And don't forget about books! If you search the library catalog for "travel with children" you'll find a wealth of books about traveling, for both parents and children.

There are numerous websites dedicated to traveling with children. One of the best is the appropriately named Travel With Your Kids. It's a very comprehensive, well-designed site written by two sets of parents with many family travel miles under their belts.

For road trips, check out Mom'sMinivan for 101 car travel games and fun ideas to pass the time until you are actually there!

If you have a favorite travel tip, website or book that has made traveling with children more enjoyable, please share it with us. Bon voyage and have fun!