Pennsylvania Public Libraries have created the Cruise Into Kindergarten model to promote early literacy programs and book lists in public libraries. Many states libraries and associations are adopting similar models to promote just how much public libraries offer their residents in terms of early literacy – in storytimes, STEAM programs, dances, art workshops, Family Place libraries, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, booklists for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and so much more.
So to promote this amazing initiative, I re-created our online Cruise game on our front bulletin board, complete with spaces and promoting all the great programs and books our library offers families with children from birth – Kindergarten.
We have Family Reading Month during the month of April, so there are a lot of extra activities happening for families, which means more people checking out this awesome bulletin board and the awesome website for more information and activities to do with their kids!
There are some amazing resources out there to help you promote or better understand the 5 Early Literacy Practices.
Almost every library you come across with some sort of information about early literacy practices, so I only put up a couple. If you have other go-to resources, please share and I’ll add them to the list. There is a considerable amount of research and content available about early literacy and it can definitely help teachers, librarians, parents and caregivers understand how very important early literacy is to small children.
I’m at that point in my life where it seems like I have a baby shower once a month. And as a librarian, my go-to baby shower gifts are books. Books are awesome because parents can begin using them as soon as they receive them, reading to their baby in utero as well as for a number of years as their baby grows up. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite board books to give as gifts:
- White on Black by Tana Hoban (also check out Black on White by the same author)
- Snuggle Puppy (a love song) by Sandra Boynton (basically, anything by Sandra is genius)
- My Car by Byron Barton
- Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
- First 100 Animals
- I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy
- Global Babies
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Hello Baby! by Mem Fox
- Nursery Rhymes by Roger Priddy
- The Little Dump Truck by Margery Cuyler
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
- Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
- Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli (Leslie is another author that is absolute genius in the board books format)
- My Colors / Mis Colores by Rebecca Emberley
- That’s Not My Teddy… by Fiona Watts (there is a HUGE series of these from Usborne)
I took the day off yesterday and created these adorable creatures! I found a lot of great ideas on Pinterest and online and created my own pattern and went to town! Many of my bookclub friends have had babies over the past year and I thought it would be sweet to give them something homemade for the holidays! So fun fact: a group of giraffes is called a tower! Isn’t that awesome? So I made a tower of giraffes for my friends’ kids. They have an adorable turquoise giraffe print on one side and turquoise minky fabric on the other. Turquoise is my favorite color and because most of the babies born were boys I thought it worked well. The giraffe’s mane is made up of four different types of ribbon (and an extra piece for the tail!) The giraffe patten was drawn on a an 8.5 x 11″ piece of computer paper, so they’re probably 8-9 inches high and probably 5-6 inches wide.
After I successfully made my tower of giraffes, I had some leftover fabric from another project and made an adorable dinosaur for my nephew. He’s a fleece dino print on one side and a bright orange minky fabric on the other. I also found ribbons to match his pattern with orange, yellow, turquoise and navy.
What’s great is you can make pretty much anything you want and it’s not too difficult to do. I think the hardest part is that the fleece and minky fabrics are difficult to work with – they stretch and move, but if you made any of these animals with a cotton fabric, it would probably be much easier. Also double check the directions, so that when you turn then outside out, the ribbons are in the right spot and are sticking out correctly. It’s also important to cross over the ribbons a few times to make sure they can’t get pulled out my strong baby fingers.
We’ve had a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program for about two years now. I created most of our information with great tips and tricks for parents/caregivers to use in their daily lives to encourage early literacy skills. Our original log had 10 different log-in papers (one for each 100 books) with different tips, parent info, and more. Parents were required to write the title of every book they read to their child on the log. After hearing a number of comments about how so many parents were too busy to record their books or they forgot to write down the titles of the books, we began looking at alternative methods for recording the books. We came up with a star chart. Each new log for 100 books is the same paper, the front has 50 stars and the back has 50 stars – large enough for toddlers and preschoolers to color in and small enough to cut down on the amount of paper we use for the program. I’m hoping this helps parents by making it an easier program to do.
We didn’t want to lose the tips though, so we created three different tri-fold brochures – infants, toddlers, and preschool. Each brochure explains the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program and then offers concrete examples parents can do at home to use early literacy skills with their children. We’re going to unveil the new program this fall with the new updates and hope for the best. At this point, parents who would like to keep a log of book titles can do so by opting-in to a reading history that can be added to their library card. I hope this compensates for the parents who like having the books listed.