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Monday, July 22, 2013

It's never too early to become a reader by Elizabeth





The latest buzz word in education and parenting is “early literacy.”  Early literacy does not mean you must teach your baby to read as soon as she can talk.  It just means that you help your child develop the skills that lead up to and support learning to read.  




As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s first teacher, and you have all the tools needed to start your child on the path to becoming a reader.  Using the activities and library books below, you can help your child get a head start on literacy by developing the following skills:





  • Talking - Children learn to talk by learning words when others speak. Read aloud “A was once an apple pie” by Edward Lear which has rich language and word play that begs to be read aloud over and over.
     
  • Singing - Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words.  Get the book “Seals on the bus” by Lenny Hort, but sing it out loud to the tune of “Wheels on the bus.”
  • Reading - Reading together increases vocabulary, helps children learn how print looks and how books work.  Read aloud “The wonderful book” by Leonid Gore which demonstrates the many ways a book can be used.  
  • Writing - Children can learn pre-reading skills through drawing and writing which is representative of spoken language. Read aloud “Chalk” by Bill Thomson, which is a wordless picture book that reveals the power of imagination and drawing.  
  • Playing - Play helps children think symbolically, so they understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences.  Read aloud “From head to toe” by Eric Carle and encourage your child to get up and move with the story.

So what else can parents do to help strengthen these skills?


Attend storytime at the library.
Read, read, read with your child.
Talk, sing, read, write, and play with your child.
Regularly check our new children’s storytime blog at http://splchildren.blogspot.com where we post storytime ideas, books, songs and crafts you can use to have storytime in your own home.





If you have questions about early literacy, please call the Children’s Department at 405-372-3633 x 108 or email us at childrensreference@stillwater.org.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Women and Balance by Andrea







Women have so much to juggle these days trying to give equal attention to family, work, friends, and (if we’re lucky) a little “me” time. I have recently read some books that make it clear that in order to find balance on the outside; we need to start by taking care of our insides. 


In Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book “The Hormone Cure,” she talks about the complex dance of hormones in women’s bodies that can easily get out of whack with today’s lifestyle, and how that can affect everything else.  It is especially geared towards women between the ages of 35 and 60, when profound changes can take place. 

I liked that she took a holistic approach in her advice for how you can get to your optimum healthy place, starting with diet, exercise, and mindfulness activities, but also gives advice on the best supplements and prescriptions when those are needed.

The tone of the book is friendly and conversational. She gives you extensive information on the science and studies to explain and back up her research, if you are the type of person who wants that, but she also gives you permission to just skip ahead to the recommendation on how to fix what ails you, if you are the type to zone out during the facts and figures. 



Another book I would recommend in the same vein is “Master Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels. It is more of a diet book, but she also gives extensive information on the importance of hormonal balance in looking and feeling your best, and how to get there. She also has a more tough love approach, if you get your motivation that way.  



And if you need a real kick in the pants to get yourself on track, I would recommend “This Is Why You’re Fat” by Jackie Warner. I think by the title alone, you can tell what you are in for.





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Reading Habit by Stacy






A very terrible thing happened this year.  Maybe it won’t seem bad to most people, but for a librarian or avid reader it might as well have been a catastrophe.  I quit reading.  I just couldn’t.  Or more likely wouldn’t.  I wish I could say it was for a good reason----a family crisis----job forced me to work long hard hours, but it wasn’t.  The truth is I was exceptionally busy watching marathon after marathon session of “Arrested Development,” or “Felicity,” or “24.”  



I had subscribed to Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus on my ereader and it was a big mistake.    My face would be pressed up against my Kindle Fire late into the night, my fingers unconsciously hitting “Next Episode” over and over and over again.  Anyway, it was a very dark period in my life for no reason other than the fact that it featured the absence of books.  I suspect that decades of old TV shows on NetFlix and Amazon Prime have done more to destroy reading than just about anything else.  




A while ago, I was discussing with another person the benefits of having an ereader with internet options—fun apps, games, movies and tv shows.  The person explained that he was getting the ereader for his kids and he wanted them to read, so he was determined to get just a basic reader with none of the other fancy stuff.  I was quietly jealous that those kids would be able to read in peace without the temptation of thousands of episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras and Law & Order: SVU.













 

And then one night, I didn’t really see anything I wanted to watch, but needed the quiet murmur of a background story to lull me to sleep.  So I downloaded an audio eBook—“Defending Jacob” by William Landay and it was magnificent.  And I remembered how awesome books were, so I downloaded an ebook and I read.  And read and read and read.  My brain slightly hurt at first.  I was a little confused about where to put my eyes and how to set the rhythm of moving them across the page.  But it all came back to me.




The really nice thing was that I was reading “good” books—--literary fiction—books that were making me think.


“The Dinner”by Herman Koch (amazing book—slightly strange).


“Mister Pip” by Lloyd Jones (super amazing---how a simple book can change everything).











“The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes (very short and well written).







“Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt (nostalgic and sad).








“Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker (double super amazing-just a hint of sci fi, kind of Atwood-like).














So what your teachers and librarians always said is true.  Your brain is a muscle.  And when you let it go it gets flabby and out of shape and it makes you feel blah and yucky. 

 

Luckily, it is easy to snap it back into shape.  If you haven’t read in a while—take it slow—start off with something short or, like I did, start off with an audio book.  You will quickly get back into the swing of things.  

Now here, I should stress that if you stop reading because you are consistently having trouble concentrating, or words on the page are blurry or you aren’t enjoying the activities you used to enjoy, then consider mentioning this to your doctor.  But, if you’ve just gotten out of the habit, are watching too much TV, etc., then stop by the library or give us a call.  We’ll be glad to help you get back onto a reading regimen. 







Monday, July 1, 2013

More Books for Moore Kids by Stacy






Last week, librarian Andrea Duncan is headed down to Moore with seven boxes of children's books.  The boxes include everything from picture books and easy readers to chapter books, board books and classics.  Duncan collected the material from donations throughout the community.   These donated items will be given to a book drive which will benefit the two elementary schools destroyed in the May 20 tornado.   




“Collecting books seemed like a good fit for our library,” said Duncan.  “The people in the Stillwater area are exceptionally generous in sharing books every year with our library and they were very generous this spring in sharing with the kids in Moore.”




The book drive, Moore Books for Moore Kids, is providing 500 books to each teacher in the effected schools to help them replenish their classroom collections.  While the book collection process is now complete, the organization is now requesting volunteers to help sort the donated materials.   The sorting will take place July 8-12 in Oklahoma City.  People who are 16 or older are requested to email moorebooksformoorekids@gmail.com to sign up for a volunteer slot.





“Tons of book lovers, teachers, students and libraries are helping with this effort,” said Duncan.  “The book community is strong, and it is reassuring to know our library would have the same type of support should anything similar happen to us.”