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8/1/2017

Looking To Libraries

 

Check out the 1A Show interview with Todd Bol: Creator and Executive Director, Little Free Library. Listen here

For centuries, libraries have played a vital role in convening people and connecting them to information — mostly through books. There have been a lot of doom-and-gloom predictions for the institutions since the dawn of the digital age. After all, what role does book sharing play in a world where information is everywhere?

But for those willing to think outside the box, the future of libraries looks bright.

Links:

Little Free Library

The 1A Show on WAMU 88.5

 


 

How to Raise a Reader

By Pamela Paul and Maria Russo | New York Times | Books

 

 From the moment you’re expecting your first child, you are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading. For good reason: The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Happily, raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy.

 


 

Start Them Early

First, Reacquaint Yourself With Reading

If you’ve let reading slide to the margins of your life, now is the time to bring it back. Make the space, and time, for books you read for yourself, and books you read with your child. If you want to raise a reader, be a reader.

 


Baby Books Are a Necessity

You may think you’re off the hook with books until your baby is at least vertical, but not so. Even newborns benefit from the experience of hearing stories (and they can’t complain about your taste in books). So take advantage. Here’s how:

Read out loud, every day. Any book. You can read anything to a newborn: a cookbook, a dystopian novel, a parenting manual. The content doesn’t matter. What does matter is the sound of your voice, the cadence of the text and the words themselves. Research has shown that the number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. But here’s the catch: The language has to be live, in person and directed at the child. Turning on a television, or even an audiobook, doesn’t count. Sure, it’s good to get started reading aloud the children’s books that will be part of your child’s library. But don’t feel limited. Just be sure to enjoy yourself.

Use your senses. Babies who are read to are learning that reading is fun and can involve all the senses: the feel of the pages, the smell of the glue (don’t go crazy), the visuals of the illustrations, the sound of the parent’s voice. Try it: Texturized books are especially good for your child’s tactile experience.

Mind your audience. Make eye contact, but don’t look for a particular reaction. It may seem like babies are not listening, but they are absorbing the experience. And the patterns, routines and attentive habits that are set now will last a lifetime.

Get your baby talking. Babies may start making sounds in response to your reading. This is why many books for this age contain nonsense words or animal sounds — they’re easier to mimic. Try it: If your child make a noise, respond. It may make no sense to you, but it’s communication. There’s a straight line from this moment to your first parent-child book club.

 


 

​Toddlers

It’s hard to overestimate how important reading is to a toddler’s intellectual, social and emotional development. When you read with toddlers, they take it all in: vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals, opposites, manners and all kinds of useful information about how the world works. What’s more, when you read out loud, your toddler connects books with the familiar, beloved sound of your voice — and the physical closeness that reading together brings. You are helping build a positive association with books that will last a lifetime.

Keep in mind:

Reading happens throughout the day. Nightly bedtime reading is a familiar routine for parents of toddlers — what better way to get your little ball of energy to relax before bed? Make sure the atmosphere is soothing and not rushed, and choose some of the many books that end, strategically, with a peaceful going-to-bed scene (though friskier books about sleep-avoiding children are fun, too). But read with your toddler during the day, as well. Offering to read books with toddlers is one of the best ways — some days, it can seem like the only way — to get them to slow down and focus. Sit close, and enjoy these moments of connection while it’s still light outside.

Introduce your own taste. You’ve been reading a long time, and you have a sense of what you like in grown-up books. As a parent, you have the chance to rediscover your taste in children’s books. Pull out your old favorites, and find what’s new that catches your eye when you’re in bookstores, libraries or friends’ homes. The good news is that the best authors and illustrators of children’s books aim to please their grown-up audience, too. Try it: Tweak the text when you’re reading out loud. Many classic children’s books are now considered sexist, racist, outdated and, in certain ways, downright awful. Feel free to make them better.

Respect your child’s preferences. Your child is already surprising you with independent tastes and opinions. Just as your child doesn’t like your kale salad, he or she may not appreciate the exquisite black-and-white crosshatching of Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” as much as you did as a child. You may not be all that excited about fairies or talking trucks, but your child might be. Encourage children to express what they like about their books, and find more books like those.

The parent-child pas de deux. The more you can make reading mutually satisfying, the more it will be associated with pleasure and reward. If your child doesn’t like your silly ogre’s voice, don’t use it. Remember, it’s your child’s story time, too. Try it: Let your child turn the pages, to control the pace. (It’s also great for developing fine motor skills.)

It’s O.K. to interrupt. Don’t get so caught up in your own reading that you ignore your child’s comments and queries. Interruptions show that your child is engaged. Try it: If you find yourself saying, “Just let me finish this page,” stop and ask your toddler to repeat the question. If children don’t seem engaged by the words, ask what they see in the pictures. Point at things and invite them to explain or narrate the action.

Expand your toddler’s world. Sometimes toddlers seem “stuck” on a certain book you’re not crazy about. Don’t deny them the books they like, but try to actively steer them toward other books as well. Most important, don’t be afraid to expose toddlers to subjects they don’t have any context for. All topics — even geology, the history of art, and life in different cultures — can be broken down into small parts and made interesting by a great children’s book. Try it: At a certain age, children may start to gravitate exclusively to stories that feature a protagonist of their own gender. This is not true for toddlers. Take advantage of this time to expose them to a balanced menu of characters.

Choose diverse books. All children need to see themselves reflected in the picture books around them. If your child is a member of a racial or ethnic minority, seek out books that feature children who look similar to yours — they are getting much easier to find. White children also benefit from books that show children with different skin tones and ethnicities. All children need to encounter books that present the variety of cultural traditions and family structures that coexist in our communities. Exposing children to diversity in books will prepare them for life in a diverse world. 

 


 

How to Grow a Reader

Emerging Readers

That magical breakthrough moment — when your child shows an interest in letters, and begins to make out words on a page or in the world itself — happens at different ages for different children, even within the same family. Most parents describe a long period in which a child can’t keep letters straight or identify words, then a quick burst of comprehension, followed by more regular, but still sudden leaps. It really can seem like magic — so don’t rush it.

Mix it up. When children start to pick out words, allow them to read to you some of the time, but reading time shouldn’t be strained, exhausting or feel like a test. At first, try pointing to words you know your child will recognize and have him or her read them. When your child knows more words, try reading alternating pages. Don’t abruptly withdraw your reading services. Being read to is an enormous comfort and part of your bond, and you don’t want to convey to your child that becoming an independent reader jeopardizes that together time.

Continue reading aloud picture book favorites — and some more-sophisticated books they can’t read on their own yet, like Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” or Kate DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.”

Every child learns to read at a personal pace. There is no “correct” age for independent reading, and no special formula for getting every child to read by, say, age 5½. In fact, few 5-year-olds are ready to do full-on independent reading — even if many kindergarten programs are structured toward that goal. If you’ve been focused on raising a reader all along, you can feel confident that your child is taking the steps toward independent reading at the pace that’s personally right.

Don’t make reading work. Your child may already be under pressure to learn to read at school. Reading at home should be beautiful, fun, curiosity-quenching and inspiring. It’s great if you can help support your child while learning to read, but your most important job is more profound: to foster a love of reading. Don’t put it on yourself to make your child hit particular targets.

Check in with the teacher. Talk with your child’s teachers, but don’t get nervous if your student is not reading at the same level as his or her peers. Late readers often grow up to be better, more enthusiastic readers. That said, if you or your child’s teacher suspects a reading challenge, like dyslexia, get a formal evaluation. Your child may be under more stress about learning to read than you realize.


Early Readers

As your child begins to read independently, your role expands. Keep reading with your child, but also supply a steady stream of books that are appealing, and lots of positive vibes and good conversation about reading and books in general.

Ask, “what are you reading?” Make this question a big part of your life. When you’re with your child and a friend, ask what the friend reads, and start a conversation. Your child may want to read what friends are enthusiastic about. Tip: Ask other parents what their children are reading, and offer to swap books.

Make reading associated with maturity. Reading is a grown-up pastime, and can be done independently. Try it: If your child’s bedtime is 7 p.m., extend it to 7:30 p.m. if the child stays in bed and reads.


​A Few Words About Harry Potter

Don’t push Harry Potter too early. We love Harry Potter, but also feel there is no reason to read Harry Potter out loud to your child. If children are attracted to fantasy, they will come to love Harry so much, they’ll want to read the books on their own. In other words, Harry Potter is the dessert, not the vegetables.

There are a lot of great books for kindergartners, but even the first Harry Potter book is not one of them. In fact, the sweet spot for the first four books in the series is the second through fifth grades; it’s fifth through seventh grade for the later books. There are some dark themes in the later books; the author, J.K. Rowling, wrote those understanding that her readers would grow into the later books as they worked their way through the series.

There are a lot of great books for kindergartners, but even the first Harry Potter book is not one of them. In fact, the sweet spot for the first four books in the series is the second through fifth grades; it’s fifth through seventh grade for the later books. There are some dark themes in the later books; the author, J.K. Rowling, wrote those understanding that her readers would grow into the later books as they worked their way through the series.


 

Reluctant Readers, or Visual Readers?

For some early readers, a big block of text is like a giant, daunting stop sign. These children often get slapped with the label “reluctant reader,” when really they may just prefer more visual books. Resist applying that label and instead find books your early reader loves.

Format doesn’t matter. Many chapter books with a highly visual, comics-influenced format (“Captain Underpants,” for example) were written specifically to help “reluctant readers” and children with challenges like dyslexia. The stories and characters can be rich and well developed, and children still learn reading skills with these more visually driven books. Graphic novels for young readers, meanwhile, have been steadily improving in literary quality, often winning prestigious awards and appearing on best-of-the-year book lists.

Make room for comics and manga. Don’t denigrate your child’s interest in this genre. Many of the most celebrated literary figures of our time not only grew up devouring comics, but also incorporate comics-inspired themes into their prize-winning novels: Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz and Jonathan Lethem, to name a few. Many children become avid readers through their love of comics. You may have even loved reading Archie, Smurfs or Superman before going on to read Gabriel García Márquez.

A book about a computer game is still a book. Plenty of reluctant readers are fans of popular computer and video games. Many of these games have book counterparts, which can be a great way to steer your child toward the pleasures of text. There are lots of books featuring Minecraft, Pokémon, Plants vs. Zombies, and the like. From there, you can expand your child’s repertory to graphic novels and comics, and then full-text books.

Don’t forget nonfiction. Some reluctant readers are fact-gatherers, who may be more inspired by reading nonfiction. If it’s presented in a highly visual format, all the better for conveying even more kinds of information. Look for books about presidents, states, ancient history, the solar system, animals, natural disasters, and other topics they’re interested in.

Never treat books as a chore. Don’t say, “If you spend 30 minutes reading, you’ll get to play on the iPad/eat ice cream/be paid a dollar.” Instead, treat reading as its own reward — a privilege, even. Nobody earns candy for eating cookies.

 


 

It Starts With You

 

We’ll say it again because it’s easy to forget among the demands of parenthood: If you want your child to be excited about reading, you should be, too. These precious years when your child is living at home, observing your approach to life, are a great time to nurture your own reading habits.

Beyond the “reading log” mentality. Many students have to keep “reading logs” from elementary school through middle school, a well-meaning, but somewhat controversial practice that risks turning reading into a chore. If your child must keep one, consider the fine irony in bugging your student to crack a book every night, if you rarely do it yourself. Seeing you choose to read can help with your child’s approach to mandated reading time.

Make reading a group activity. Just as younger children parallel play, older children parallel read. And reading together — separately — is a wonderful way to spend time in each other’s company. Try it: Instead of organizing family leisure time around TV, movies or video games, schedule a regular family reading time. As your children begin to choose their own books and read independently, they may be less inclined to talk to you about what they’re reading. But if they are reading right next to you, you’ll hear them laugh, exclaim or give some other response, which gives you an opening to conversation.


 

​Foster Independent Reading Comprehension

Avoid giving your child an e-reader. Studies have shown that people, especially children, absorb and retain stories better when they read them in print. So there is a good pedagogic reason to urge your children to stick to paper. At night, screen time is known to interfere with melatonin cycles, which makes it harder to fall asleep.

Books belong everywhere. Even a devoted anticlutter person should make an exception for books. Create impromptu reading opportunities for your child by leaving books in places where they may be picked up in an idle moment. Discovered on a coffee table, a great photography book or a book about lizards may occupy children for long stretches. A big, visual, information-rich book like David Macaulay’s “The Way Things Work” can be an ongoing temptation for children of all ages. But don’t stop there. Leave paperbacks and magazines piled in the bathroom (yes, everyone reads on the toilet, even children), or anywhere they could catch a young reader’s eye.

Join — or start — a parent-child (any combination) book club. These are great ways to strengthen your child’s relationship to reading — and to you. Being in a book club together increases the opportunities for you to start conversations about books, which may lead to deeper conversations about other subjects.

Books to movies. A movie adaptation of a novel your child loves is a great way to re-engage with the book, opening a conversation about how a story can be told in different ways. Encourage your child to read the book before the movie adaptation hits the screen. Consider establishing a family rule: No one watches the film until everyone has read the book.
 

 
 

Keep the New Books Coming in (and Going Out)

 

Let your child build a personal collection. Children love collecting. Make your child’s book collection a point of personal pride and identity. Every child should have a special bookcase. Plan for long-term storage for the best of this collection. When your children reach adulthood and discover that you still have the books that meant so much to them in childhood, they (and you!) will appreciate it.

Books are for giving. Not every book your child owns is bound for the permanent collection. Keep a regular conversation going about which books your child is ready to hand down to younger siblings, cousins or friends. It’s also great to pass some on to shelters, doctors’ offices, schools, charity sales or local libraries.

Consider a birthday-party book swap. When your child is at the picture-book stage, ask guests to bring a wrapped book instead of gifts, and have everyone choose one on the way out. (Don’t forget to also wrap one from the birthday child — who gets to pick first!) It’s nicer than goody bags filled with candy or plastic toys, and teaches children that books are special.

With older children, have guests bring an unwrapped book, and have them choose from the pile. Determine the order by pulling numbers from a hat, or through a contest or game.

Don’t let the steep price of books stand in your way. Make regular trips to the library (even better as a family) to keep a constant stream of new and intriguing books around the house. Many local libraries no longer have limits on the number of books you can take out at one time. And keeping a constantly rotating menu of books on hand exposes children to a variety of subjects, formats and genres, piquing their curiosity.

Local libraries are indispensable resources. They often offer:

  • Storytelling hours
  • Author visits
  • Community events for the whole family
  • Free computer access with kid-friendly games

Let your children become members as soon as they are old enough. A child’s first library card is a rite of passage, often the very first official membership card in a young life. Teach your children that library membership is a privilege and a responsibility. Most children really treasure their library cards, for good reason. It’s not just a ticket to great books, it’s a milestone.

Continue reading...

 



 

Building brains: UW researchers say early steps to improve children’s lives will help them succeed in school and life.

PHOTO BY COBURN DUKEHART — WISCONSIN CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Hannah Tunney, 2, holds a book while getting a check-up from nurse practitioner Francesca Vash at Group Health Cooperative health care center in Madison. GHC participates in the national Reach Out and Read program, which distributes books to children up to age 5 at each regular check-up. The program is designed to encourage families to develop good reading habits.


 

Five-year-old Naja Tunney’s home is filled with books. Sometimes she will pull them from a bookshelf to read during meals. At bedtime, Naja reads to her 2-year-old sister, Hannah.
“We have books anywhere you sit in the living room,” said their mother, Cheryl Tunney, who curls up with her girls on an oversized green chair to read stories.
Naja and Hannah are beneficiaries of Reach Out and Read, an early intervention literacy program that collaborates with medical care providers to provide free books when families come in for checkups.
 

“I learn things that my brain will always know,” Naja said during an appointment at Group Health Cooperative’s Capitol Clinic in Madison.

 

Naja’s and Hannah’s brains are in critical phases of development, and they are being stimulated by a home environment that prioritizes education.

 

But children who do not have this same experience early in life — especially those growing up in poverty — could experience delayed brain development that significantly harms their educational progress, according to recent research by psychology professor Seth Pollak and economist Barbara Wolfe at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Their study is part of a growing body of socioeconomic brain research documenting what Joan Luby, a child psychiatry professor at Washington University in St. Louis, calls “poverty’s most insidious damage” — that poor children are up against their own biological development.

 

Along with graduate students Nicole Hair and Jamie Hanson, Pollak and Wolfe found that poverty can cause structural changes in areas of the brain associated with school readiness skills.

 

These parts of the brain are susceptible to circumstances often present in poor households, including stress, unstable housing, nutritional deficiencies, low academic stimulation and irregular access to health care.

To isolate the effects of poverty from other factors, the study included mostly children of educated mothers — 85 percent reported at least some college-level education and 22 percent had some graduate-level education. Families with factors that could negatively affect brain development, such as a risky pregnancy or a history of psychiatric problems, were excluded.  Continue reading.....

 


 

2 much fun on my book shopping video found great deals at @Books4School @pernilleripp thx for sharing the resource pic.twitter.com/pd0LdXJJhz

— Colleen Bentfield (@colbent606) April 4, 2016 

 


 

 

The Elephant in the Clinic

Early Literacy and Family Well-Being

by Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD and Amy Shriver, MD

Twitter: @AspenAscend and @ReachOutandRead

Promoting early literacy directly with families in primary-care clinic settings is a concept that stretches back over twenty years. One of the best-studied and widespread interventions is Reach Out and Read. Well-documented with a strong evidence base, Reach Out and Read has enjoyed popularity among many front-line providers offering preventive care for children. However, the "book giveaway" aspect has been so striking that many have not recognized that much more is possible through this approach.

With proper training and careful implementation, the model offers a number of different strengths: a path to proactively address school readiness, conduct developmental surveillance, make relational health assessments, build parental capacities and capabilities, help buffer toxic stress in families, integrate public health principles into clinical care, and use an inexpensive, scalable, evidence-based model.

This report, written with a powerful mix of storytelling, scientific evidence, and data, highlights the types of interventions we need in today¹s busy environment to work meaningfully with children and their parents.

Click to download report here.

(For high resolution PDF, click here.)