Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bringing Storytime Home: Presentation

I presented to 50 librarians yesterday about my ideas to support caregivers in bringing early literacy storytime ideas home. I wasn't booed, so I suppose my workshop was helpful.

Here is the link to my PowerPoint presentation. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.

If you were at the CYPD conference, give me some feedback!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: Setup and Early Bird Signup

I mentioned in my New For Fall post that I'm starting a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten pre-k reading program. I'm so excited!
image from tumblr via giphy
My patrons are freaking out too. I have been asked, "OH MY GOD WHEN CAN WE SIGN UP?" several times. I aim to please, so instead of making them wait, I let MPL's Facebook followers sign up a couple weeks early. See gif file above for reactions.

Starter Kit!
The 1KB4K Starter Kit includes a reusable bag from Demco and a folder with the first log, instruction sheet, a list of 100 books that I like, my card, and a handout from ECRR2. Here's the first log. As you can see, it's easy...mark/color/smiley face/star a box when you read a book. Bring it back for the next log. Repeat.

I wish I could be as good of a photographer as I am librarian. Alas, I cannot.
Here's my terrible picture of my bulletin board. The overarching theme is "Itsy Bitsy Readers." The kids each have a spider with their name on it. They can move their spider up the dryer hose water spout when they hit a milestone. I'll take an actual picture of them to be on the "Web of Fame" when they hit 1,000, as well as print a certificate and let them pick out a book to keep.

I Googled some rad knots to make my spider web look better, but I did what I could with the shoe tying knots that I'm familiar with. My Eagle Scout dad, brother, and husband would be ashamed. Oh well...looks good enough to display.

I had 26 kids and their caregivers sign up in 2 days! My goal was to have 100 signed up by January 1, so I think I'm on the right track. High five!

The program has been so easy to implement. I'm forever grateful to my spring programming class for ideas and encouragement. For an ongoing program, I think the cost is doable. I want to encourage patrons to check out books, so I gave each participant a reusable bag, as I discussed above. Demco actually had the least expensive screen printed bags I could find; I ordered 200 to "save" the most money. I bought the 3-prong folders from Staples, as they had the colors I wanted (purple and green). I will be purchasing stickers to give to the kids when they turn in logs. Overall, I have invested $475. Luckily, I haven't asked our Friends of the Library group for money at all since I started in 2012, so they were happy to cut me a check. I was sort of like this:

image from tumblr
You may be asking, "But what about the BABIES?!" No, you probably aren't, but I do have a component to the program specifically for kids under a year old. I'm calling it "Readabye Baby," and it's actually 100 Books Before 1. Riffing off of Brooke's fabulous Baby Book Bees program, I decided that I want to help parents of newborns become comfortable reading to their babies, and into the library. The logs are different, with only 25 squares per log. Parents still get a reusable bag, but also get a little something for baby when they come back with each log: a small toy, box of wet wipes, etc. These 100 books will count toward the larger goal of 1,000, so the kids can jump into the 1KB4K when they finish 100B41.

I'm excited to see the kids' progress and know that they are reading with their caregivers. I'm hoping that giving families a visual incentive will spark an ongoing interest.

Have you done this program? How's it going?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Nursery Rhyme Time

I can't believe it has been already a year since Melissa from Mel's Desk asked Mem Fox WTF about the hyper-specific know-eight-nursery-rhymes-to-become-a-genius passage in Fox's book Reading Magic. It was amazing to me how much research Mel and others put into trying to solve the mystery of how 8 became the magic number. Kudos to Mel for starting the conversation!

Since I'm selectively lazy, I'm not writing today to talk about how one becomes a smartypants by knowing nursery rhymes. I'm writing today to talk about how annoying it is that many people don't know nursery rhymes. Yup, just here to complain, not reinvent the wheel.

image from kenokel.com
So, nursery rhymes. Traditional. Fun. Sometimes horrifying. I grew up learning rhymes from my grandma, other family members, and from books. Singing silly songs is just something we did. I feel 97 years old saying this, but back in the day there weren't iPhones to keep kids "busy" while moms did anything. Sure there was TV, but you couldn't lug a big ass television in the car with you on trips to the grocery store. If my mom didn't have classic rock blaring in the Thunderbird, I was left to my own devices singing songs I knew by heart.

I remember my dad doing "This Little Piggy" over and over on my toes because I hated the suspense and tickling: "And this little piggy went..................(right about here I want to pee my pants)...........WEE WEE WEE all the way home." Oh the hilarity. Oh the urine.

Aside from any of the magical you-can-read-better-because-you-know-about-that-moon-jumping-cow stuff, what good comes of knowing nursery rhymes? For one thing, you can understand more jokes. How many times have you told a nursery rhyme based joke and gotten blank stares? Oh. Maybe it's just me.

I remember watching Who Wants To Be a Millionare when:

Really?! I swear, if you use a lifeline, I'm going to come through the TV. Know nursery rhymes? You can totally get to Final Jeopardy.

Aside from both of these amazing reasons to know nursery rhymes, the main reason for me as a children's librarian is to understand the literary and otherwise allusions EVERYWHERE that have nursery rhyme connotations. How could one even understand the covers of Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime Series if you have no idea who Humpty Dumpty is? Agatha Christie's and James Patterson's titles would confuse the heck out of everybody. I think perhaps this point may apply more to fairy tales at this point, but I'm hoping that someone awesome will pick up nursery rhymes for some interesting retellings. (In short, someone get on that!)

So why am I spewing my opinion all over the place today? (Even more so than usual?) I love nursery rhymes, schoolyard rhymes, and folk rhymes. I don't think they have ever really gone out of style, however I think they are certainly more scarce than 25 years ago. This is my promise to bring them back. Share them with my patrons. Sing a song of sixpence, so to speak. I think rhymes, whether they be old English style or jump rope style, are a part of culture that is too cool to let go of. I just reworked my baby program to encompass the Mother Goose on the Loose program. Obviously I'm stoked!

Learn a new rhyme today, share it with your little friends, then let's hold hands and sing Hey Diddle Diddle.

How do you keep nursery rhymes alive?