Monday, August 20, 2007

Promote Reading at Home

There are a lot of ways we can encourage literacy in our own homes. Even some of the simplest things can pave the way to creating readers, as well as a lifelong joy of learning in our children. Simply coloring can help build great pre-reading/writing skills in your child. Having plenty of pencils, crayons and paper around for your child to draw or practice (even pretend) writing is an easy way to encourage building these important skills. Other ideas include:
  • Play with alphabet letters.
  • Practice writing in sand.
  • Provide objects for pretend play - puppets, dress-up clothes, cardboard boxes, books...
  • Read-aloud and write recipes with your child.
There are many other simple, inexpensive ways to help prepare your child for eventually learning to read and write. Many books in the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library can help you find fun, age-appropriate activities to build these skills with your young child.

Wondering if your home is already literacy-friendly? has a home-literacy checklist for you. If you are a family child care provider, they also provide a child care literacy checklist.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

DVDS - Early Learning

On Monday an article appeared in Time online about the value of DVDs marketed to babies. The article reported that according to recent research, these DVDs may not be the best thing for little ones. In fact, they may even delay language acquisition. (See the full article here:,8599,1650352,00.html) The latest research in this area supports what pediatricians at the American Academy of Pediatrics have been recommending: no screen time for children under age 2.

Whatever position your family takes on the television/screen-time debate for young children, there are a few quality DVDs produced for parents on the topic of early learning. The I Am Your Child video series, produced by Parents Action for Children/I Am Your Child Foundation, offer DVDs and videos on a variety of topics relevant to parents and caregivers. Here are just a few suggested titles from the series:

Why Early Childhood Matters / produced by New Screen Concepts in association with the I Am Your Child Foundation and hosted by Rob Reiner.

"Scientific research confirms that children's earliest experiences - starting even before they're born - dramatically affect their ability to succeed in school, and life. In this video, our country's leaders in government, business, crime prevention, and academia voice their commitment to our nation's youngest children and emphasize the crucial need for increased investments in early childhood"--Container.

Quality Child Care: making the right choice for you & your child / produced by New Screen Concepts in association with I Am Your Child and hosted by Maria Shriver.

Discusses the importance of selecting quality child care. Examines the role that child care plays in a child's healthy development. Offers criteria for selecting a caregiver.

The Pre-K Promise / produced by New Screen Concepts in association with Parents Action for Children and hosted by Rob Reiner.

"Quality preschool (or pre-k) programs for 3 and 4 year olds are one of the surest routes to success in school and beyond, according to various studies. But finding a high-quality pre-k program at an affordable price can be challenging. This video featuring well-know experts on early care and education, provides guidance to help parents understand: How preschool programs can benefit young children; What a quality preschool program looks like; What questions to ask when evaluating a preschool; How to help make quality, affordable preschool programs more widely available"--Packaging.

For more DVD and book suggestions on the topic of early learning, education, and child care, please feel free to ask a librarian!

Monday, August 6, 2007

August Spotlight: Getting School Ready

From social skills to the ABCs...
Starting school can be an exciting, but often stressful, transition for a young child. Whether a child is heading off to preschool, child care, or kindergarten for the first time in September, parents want to know that their child is ready for this big transition and off to a good start.

Parents are a child's first and most important teacher. Preparation for success in school begins at birth - by talking, playing, singing, and reading with your child. Through healthy and predictable daily routines, caring adults, and an early literacy-rich environment, children can build the skills they need to become successful readers and learners for life.

This month, the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library's Youth Services Department is spotlighting resources to help parents and children transition into preschool and kindergarten. Our Birth to Six website provides links to local and national organizations dedicated to helping prepare children for success in school. In addition to articles covering such topics as how to select a preschool and activities to help reinforce skills needed in kindergarten, the Birth to Six website focuses on library materials to share with your child to ease anxieties and build excitement for that very special first day!

For more information, visit or contact your library and youth services librarians.