Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan - June 2017

every child ready to read

Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan  -  June 2017

In This Issue:

This Month's Wisdom...

"One thing we know about babies’ brains is that it is advantageous for babies to have positive sensory experiences for synapse development. Also, around the age of one, babies develop object permanence (peek-a-boo) and flap books are the most ideal thing for children developing object permanence."

~ Sue McCleaf Nespeca 


Storytime Basics!


Though everyone is in the midst of their summer reading program, fall storytimes are right around the corner. On July 11 at 2:00 p.m., the Library of Michigan will host a webinar with me on “Storytime Basics." So if you are a “newbie” or just feel like you might like a “shot in the arm,” I hope you will attend! Following are just a few tidbits of information that will be covered.

 Storytimes for Babies

The important thing to remember about storytimes for babies is that the program is really more for the caregiver. You are modelling how to share books, rhymes and songs with babies for the sole purpose to encourage caregivers to continue these activities at home.

A goal should be to share many nursery rhymes and songs including: finger/hand rhymes; tickle/touch rhymes; toe/foot rhymes; and bounce/lift rhymes. Having this variety should keep baby’s interest. Why are these rhymes and songs so important? Here are just a few reasons:

• Rhymes can be a baby’s first introduction to literature.

• Reading rhymes to babies begins the reading habit and introduces babies to the pleasures of reading.

• It is important to talk to a baby. Sharing rhymes is one good way of sharing language with babies.

• Rhymes provide an opportunity to play with baby - babies can be directly involved.

•Rhymes do not need to make sense to babies – they will simply enjoy the sound of the words.

• Sharing rhymes can establish a pleasurable bond between the parent and baby.

Recommended Website for Baby Storytimes Beginners

Jbrary's Baby Storytime Guide

Included are sections on: Welcoming Activities at Babytime; Favorite Fingerplays and Tickles; Favorite Lap Bounces; Focus on Newborns; Favorite Dancing Songs; Favorite Books for Baby Storytime; Using Scarves and Egg Shakers with Babies; Using a Parachute with Babies; and Putting it All Together: A Baby Storytime Program.


girl with blocks

Storytimes for Toddlers OR Two’s and Three’s

 The challenging thing with storytimes for two’s and three’s is the reactions of the children in the group. Some younger children may watch and listen only, some will participate and some may appear to pay little attention or may attempt to wander around the room. This is why the caregivers should participate in all activities – rhymes and songs - and help the child act out the motions or actions. However, it is important to remember that not all two’s will have the fine motor skills to do finger plays as three’s might so adults will probably need to help with finger rhymes. Children of these ages have short attention spans so it is important to keep the program moving. Two developmentally appropriate books may be enough alternated with rhymes and songs and an opener and a closer.

Recommended Website for Toddler Storytime Beginners

Jbrary's Toddler Storytime Guide

Included are sections on: How to plan the storytime; Favorite Read AloudsFavorite Songs and RhymesSongs To Get the Wiggles OutHow to Incorporate Puppets; and Favorite Felt Stories.

Storytimes for Preschoolers

It is important that the caregiver is also present for this program – it is an excellent way to model to the caregiver how to share books, language, and songs and encourage them to extend the experiences at home. Programs are almost always thematically arranged. Alternate 3 or 4 stories with one or two activities such as: active rhymes, finger rhymes, creative dramatics, poems, or songs. Use various methods of storytelling to tell those stories with at least one story more visual through the use of a flannel or magnetic board, puppet, tell-and-draw story, etc. Also, have one participation book. Remember to have children do an activity which allows them to stretch or be active midway through the program.

Recommended Websites for Preschool Storytime Beginners

Here are three storytime sites that list themes and then show a complete program arranged around that theme.

1.       Abby the Librarian - http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/p/storytime-themes.html

2.       Storytime Katie - https://storytimekatie.com/

3.       Storytime Themes Perry Public Library - http://www.perrypubliclibrary.org/storytime_themes.htm

New Books of the Month


Books for Babies

Where’s the Giraffe? Ingela Arrhenius. Nosy Crow, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-7636-9334-3. $8.99.

One thing we know about babies’ brains is that it is advantageous for babies to have positive sensory experiences for synapse development. Also, around the age of one, babies develop object permanence (peek-a-boo) and flap books are the most ideal thing for children developing object permanence. However, many libraries resist purchasing flap books because unless the flaps are very sturdy, book circulations are few before the book is damaged. Enter --- a flap that is made of material! That’s right --- not paper – but material. Is this a good idea? I don’t know. We need to circulate them to find out, but I certainly am intrigued by the concept. Arrhenius is an illustrator, but she also has created patterns for fabrics, wallpaper, toys, and stationery. Thus, her use of material here is not surprising. The books themselves are great for babies – there are bright colors, clear uncluttered illustrations, a safe mirror, and of course that interactive element. So far, there are three books in this new series; Where's the Giraffe?, Where's the Ladybug?, and Where's Mr. Owl?

Books for Toddlers

Higgly Hen. Axel Scheffler.  Nosy Crow, 2017. ISBN:  978-0-7636-9324-4. $9.99.

“A Farm Friends Sound Book” series has two titles so far; the one pictured here and Cuddly Cow. The first makes a very loud clucking sound when you press the button, and the second “moos” but there are also birds chirping in the background. Colors are bright and  the illustrations are very appealing for twos and threes. Children will love the sounds that emanate from the book while you are reading the simple and repetitive text. Scheffler is the illustrator for the Pip and Posy books and also Gruffalo. Both are great to share in storytime programs. 


Book for Preschoolers

Go Sleep In Your Own Bed!  Candace Fleming and Lori Nichols.Schwartz & Wade, 2017. ISBN: 978-0375866487. $17.99.

As animals at the farm try to go to bed, they each find another animal in their bed. Each hollers “Go sleep in your own bed!” Children can join in on this repetitious refrain, which makes it a great choice for narrative skills. The last animal chased out of dog’s bed is cat, who is welcomed to her bed by the little girl who lives in the farmhouse. This is both a great storytime choice and also a book to recommend for bedtime reading. 

Book for First Readers

An Elephant and Piggie Biggie! Mo Willems. Hyperion, 2017. 978-1-48479-967-3. $16.99.

This is a collection of favorite Elephant & Piggie books, all in one volume. Included are: Today I Will Fly; Watch Me Throw the Ball!; Can I Play Too?; Let’s Go For a Drive!; and I Really Like Slop! Willems has stopped writing new books in this series now, but celebrates the tenth anniversary with this collection. Elephant & Piggie books won two Theodor Seuss Geisel Medals and five Geisel Honors! 




Presently I am chair of the Every Child Ready to Read Oversight Committee which is a joint committee of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children. We are presently evaluating the current manual (which most of you have received from the Library of Michigan). Since it was published in 2011, it is time to consider whether it needs revised, updated, changed etc. After visiting many states and talking to librarians and children’s coordinators I find most people using ECRR first edition (six skills) or second edition (five practices) most often take those skills or practices and incorporate them into their storytime programs. However, ironically, there is no information in the manual on how to use the research or early literacy information in storytime programs. The manual actually has workshops that are to be done for parents or early childhood educators. How many people are using the workshops? Do they still have value? Should they be revised? Or, should the project work on producing modules that will assist librarians with information NOT already in the manual such as: 

1) Reaching Teen Parents
2) Reaching New Parents
3) Providing an informal workshop or information for parents of babies and toddlers (also not in the manual) or
4) How to share early literacy information in storytime programs. 

I would LOVE to hear your views. SERIOUSLY! Please write me at: sue@kidlitplus.com.