How to Raise a Reader

A few weeks ago I wrote about Novi Library’s new program Raising a Reader in Novi, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.  We have had a great response so far with a few finishing up their first 100.  But what if your little one does not want to listen to a story, or can’t seem to hold still long enough to get through a book.  Don’t worry–it’s normal.  Here are a few tips to help you raise a reader.

  • Read books that are brightly colored and/or offer some kind of sensory aspect. Many board books have pictures that have fabric or fur as part of the picture and little ones love to touch them.
  • Point out the objects on the page and talk about what you see.
  • Become a stage actor and use funny voices.
  • Let little ones handle the books; they may turn the pages quicker than you can read; just keep talking.
  • Keep it brief; even if you get through only half a book you can pick it up again later.

picture2There are many fantastic resources that will help you raise a reader and instill a life-long love of reading.  Zero to Three gives advice for introducing books to toddlers and babies and five ways to raise a reader starting at birth. Reading Rockets offers some great activities to do with children beginning at birth through elementary school age.

See you in the Story Time Room and happy reading!

This week’s handouts: bt-sept-26-2016-bears  tottime_sept_26_2016_bears

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Story Time and STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There has been a lot written about STEM education in the last several years. It has become a priority in our educational system and libraries have jumped on board offering STEM or STEAM (art) programming.  But at what age should STEM learning begin?

Learning begins at birth and libraries are being encouraged to offer STEM learning during story time.  Initially, the thought of coming up with STEM activities was daunting for me. But then I thought about it and realized that we have been offering STEM activities during story time all along.  Story time has consistently been children’s introduction to the world of learning in not only STEM but also sociology and the arts.

Science is observing, experimenting, and discovering.  Yes, we do that!  Technology is using tools and making things work.  Check!  Engineering is designing and creating.  Yes, doing that too!  Math, sequencing, patterns, shapes are always part of story time.  How are we doing all of this?  Children are observing, watching and exploring during story time. They are using tools such as scissors or crayons and making them work.  The little engineers are designing and creating with the building blocks or paper.  We count, identify shapes and colors; we socialize with each other and we sing and dance.  Yes, libraries have always provided learners with the tools they need to expand their world in a fun and vibrant atmosphere.

toy-blocks-1024x725In addition to Story Time there are lots of great resources for parents and caregivers to integrate STEM into everyday life as well.  Too Small to Fail and ZERO TO THREE have developed a series of videos for parents of children age birth and up.  Head over the Talking is Teaching to learn more.  PBS Parents offers parents information on reaching certain science related milestones along with activities and tips.

So head on in to the Story Time Room and let the fun (and learning) begin.

This week’s handouts:  bt-sept-19-2016-stars  tottime-sept-19-2016-pirates

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Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  Nursery rhymes and finger plays help children get ready to read.  Even though they may not understand the meaning it is important for them to hear them. Hearing rhymes contributes to the ability to hear the smaller sounds in words. This ability will help them when learning to read by sounding out words.

When reading a book with rhyming words, talk about the words that rhyme.  See if they can fill in the rhyming word.  Play rhyming games.  For example, ask the question “Does hat rhyme with cat?”  Sometimes it is easier for young children to answer yes or no than to answer the question “What rhymes with cat?” Reading Rockets offer some great activities to do with children. The National Association for the Education of Young Children gives tips on how to use poems and poetry to develop language as well as some great book suggestions.

five-applesFinger plays engages adult with child in the language learning experience.  Finger plays that have a counting element have the added benefit of introducing patterns to develop early math skills. demonstrates the fun, silly rhyme Five Little Monkeys.

Repeat the rhymes heard in story time such as Five Little Apples (see Tot Time handout).  Repetition is how little ones learn best.

Story Time Handouts: bt-sept-12-2016-applestottime_sept_12_2016_fall

See you in the Story Time Room.

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Raising a Reader in Novi

We are very excited here at the Novi Public Library as we launch the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program.  In order to raise a reader children need to be read to at an early age.  The 1000 Books program is a great way to guide parents and children on the path to literacy by reading everyday.

I know what you’re thinking…1000 books?  Who can read that many books?  You can! It’s easy!  Read just one book a day and you will have read 365 books in a year.  If you begin when your child is two or three years of age you will have read between 1095 and 1460 books by the time they reach kindergarten.

An article in School Library Journal quotes children’s author, Mem Fox, encouraging parents to, “read at least three stories a day; it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read. Or the same story a thousand times!”

Here’s how it works.  Come in to the library and sign up for the program.  You will receive a log to enter 100 titles.  Read a book, any book, and write the name of the book in the log. Even if you read the same book ten times that counts as ten books!  After reading 100 books, bring the log into the library to claim a prize and pick up another log.  Yes, a prize! For every 100 books read, your child will receive a prize.  Once the goal of 1000 books has been met your child will be able to choose a book to add to our picture book collection and be eligible to participate in a party to celebrate their achievement.

Need help choosing a book?  We have a handy list of 100 Suggested Titles to help you find some great books.
Raising a Reader Cover

So, stop in and register!  We’re here to help you raise a reader.

See you in the Story Time Room!

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Early Literacy Fair

On Saturday, August 27th, the Novi Library will be hosting an Early Literacy Fair for parents, caregivers, and kids ages birth through 5 years.  Coordinated by Library Science Intern extraordinaire, Emily Brush, the event will focus on the five practices of early literacy, Reading, Singing, Talking, Playing and Writing.  Stations will be set up for adults and children that demonstrate ways to introduce the practices into everyday activities for various developmental stages.

For example, before little ones can hold a crayon or pencil, or begin writing, they will need to develop their fine motor skills.  Babies can begin grasping items at about six month. Tugging on ribbon or string helps develop and strengthen fingers and, of course, toddlers love pulling on things. Once little ones can hold a pencil or crayon they can practice connecting dots on a piece of paper – a great precursor to writing.

Learning doesn’t need to be forced or repetitive.  Come in and learn how you can develop your child’s early literacy skills in fun and easy ways.  Check out Miss Kathryn’s Story Time Corner and Miss Linda’s puppet theater.

See you at the Fair!  I’ll be the one singing.  (I apologize in advance!)

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Playing on the Patio

The Novi Library conducts two playgroup sessions per week during the summer.  This gives children and caregivers a chance to play and socialize in an unstructured, fun environment.

Monday playgroup is held in the Activity Room.  We put out toys to inspire curiosity and learning.  Coloring sheets and crayons are available for those wishing to be a little creative. Thursday playgroup is held in the Story Time Room and weather permitting, on the patio as well.  It is nice to be able to incorporate a sensory aspect to play with bins of sand to dig up sea shells, colored rice to measure and pour, and bubbles to chase and pop.

Play is such an important tool in a child’s literacy development.  Children enhance language skills, small and large motor skills, and develop an increased awareness of their surroundings.  Problem solving skills are also developed through play.

Scholastic has a great article about play and literacy development.

PBS Parents discusses cultivating skills through sensory play.


See you in the Story Time Room.

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Read for the Win

The Novi Library Summer Reading Program began this week.  Books were flying off the shelves.  It is great to see the kids so excited about reading.  Our display features race cars…I know everyone is working hard to get to the finish line and have the opportunity to attend our finale party.


Summer Story Time and Playgroup sessions begin Monday, June 27th.  We can’t wait to see all of our friends again in the Story Time Room.

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