Monday, April 23, 2007

TV Turnoff Week and Screen Time

Have you considered when, how much and at what pace your child will be exposed to screen time? The choice is yours. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child under the age of two not have screen time. For older children, a maximum of 10 hours per week is recommended.

Did you know?
  • The average child in the US will spend more hours watching TV than in school each year.

  • Screen time can be correlated with irregular sleep schedules, violence and aggression, early sexualization and distorted body image, the symptoms of ADHD, alcohol and tobacco abuse, lower reading skills and lower school performance.

  • What your child watches also impacts their performance in school. Children who enjoy educational programs as preschoolers earned higher grades, read more books, placed more value on acheivement and showed greater creativity and less aggression than preschoolers who preferred high-definition, high-intensity content.

  • Reducing screen time will allow kids to spend more time on vital health and development activities: being physically active, reading or being read to, interacting with others, exploring their environments and engaging in creative and imaginative play.

For more great ideas about family activities for TV Turnoff Week, April 23-29, 2007 please visit

Dealing with Trauma

The recent terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech has affected many households in many different ways. As parents, caregivers and concerned citizens, there may be times when you notice how tragic events and the continuing media coverage of these events may affect the young children in your lives. Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, has collected research and information on how stressful events affect the lives of young children. Two handouts they have created for parents are: Little Listeners in an Uncertain World and Circle of Trust.

The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library also has resources available for you and your children on the topics of stress, grief, trauma and reassurance.

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes and illustrated by Cary Pillo (2000).

"After Sherman sees something terrible happen, he becomes anxious and then angry, but when a counselor helps him talk about these emotions he feels better."

Take time to reassure your young child, so that they feel loved, safe, and secure in uncertain times. Cuddle up with a feel-good book such as these:

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram (1995).

"During a bedtime game, every time Little Nutbrown Hare demonstrates how much he loves his father, Big Nutbrown Hare gently shows him that the love is returned even more."

Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz (2006).

"A loving mother counts the hugs she gives her baby throughout the day."

For other suggestions or reference assistance, contact your Youth Services Librarians at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 541-766-6794.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Why start at the beginning?

Play around with stories! Narrative skills are an important part of early literacy. Narrative skills "is the ability to describe things and events and tell stories." Why is this important? Being able to talk about what happens in a story helps children understand what they are reading. This will help them build comprehension skills when they learn to read.

This new book, The End, by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Richard Egielski, plays with the concept of the beginning of a story and the end. Here, LaRochelle starts at the end!

"When a princess makes some lemonade, she starts a chain of events involving a fire-breathing dragon, one hundred rabbits, a hungry giant, and a handsome knight."

Have your own fun with stories:

  • Make up silly stories!
  • Ask your child to tell you a story.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time for the ABCs

According to research, Letter Knowledge is one of the six important skills that every child needs in order to become a successful reader. Letter knowledge includes learning that letters have names and are different from each other, and that specific sounds go with specific letters.
To help your child with this skill, share books and music about the alphabet. Here are some staff favorites:

This cd presents 36 songs for learning the alphabet as a sing-a-long activity for building reading skills. Title track "Alphabet Jam" kicks off the sing-along fun, followed by at least one catchy song per letter.

Flora McDonnell's ABC by Flora McDonnell (1997).

Flora McDonnell's ABC is a great book for introducing the alphabet with young children. Bright, striking colorful illustrations depict each letter of the alphabet in both upper and lower case. A large and small object or animal illustrates each letter.

SuperHero ABC by Bob McCleod (2006).

This picture book, receiving starred reviews, is perfect for the child who loves superheroes. From A to Z, superheroes practically leap off of the pages in heroic excitement. Check out this book and you'll meet AstroMan who is "Always Alert for An Alien Attack" and "Quiet Knight [who] Keeps Kindergarten Kids safe." This book begs to be read aloud in a booming "announcer" voice.

Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Bruce Wood (2006).

While on vacation in Alphabet City, Little e and the other lowercase letters repair an old fire truck and come to the rescue when a fire engulfs the letter-making factory. Also try Alphabet Adventure and Alphabet Mystery by the same author.

To extend your alphabet fun, try creating different letters using playdough. Enjoy!