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Early Literacy Tip - Talking with Preschoolers

I love giving my storytime attendees chances to talk and use their words in my storytimes. One way I do this is by having the children guess what the theme of our storytime might be in our preschool storytimes. We talk about the pictures on the books I have displayed and what we might be reading about that day. The kids love this part of storytime, and most of my regulars start guessing what the theme is before storytime even begins. This is a great time to throw out an early literacy tip to parents.

Parents as the First Teachers

Early Literacy Tip - Messy Play

Today for our storytime craft, we painted with watercolors. I'd never done painting as a storytime craft before and I was a little afraid of how it would turn out, but it was a wonderful experience and my preschoolers spent so much time creating their paintings and telling their caregivers about them. There was some spilled water, but it wasn't a problem to wipe up, and it was a great way to talk about the benefits of letting play get a little messy sometimes.

Announcing the 2014 Bell Picture Book Awards Winners!

Good morning! We are so excited to announce the first Bell Awards!

The winning titles are:


Open This Little Book, by Jesse Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013)

open the cover to discover five characters, each with their own little
book, all within the pages of the first. Open This Little Book
celebrates the pleasures of reading, sharing stories, and having a book
of your own.


Early Literacy Tip - Reading to Babies

Soon after I became a children's librarian, I helped a patron find books to
read to her 3 month old child. She seemed almost embarrassed by the request and
said something like, "I know she's really young, and probably doesn't
understand what I'm saying, but I just like reading to her." I assured her
that reading to her child was one of the best things she could do, no matter
the child's age, and helped her find some good baby books. Since then, I have

Play and Health go Hand in Hand

Early Literacy Tip - Retelling Stories

One fun thing to do in storytime is model for parents how they can build language skills by having their children retell stories. I may do this by reading a book like "The Three Little Pigs" and then follow up with a flannel version of the story. I'll read the book and then when we are done will tell the kids they get to help me retell the story. They love retelling the story through the flannel board, and at the end I can tell parents, "Retelling stories is a great way to build language skills and reinforce the memory of what you just read.

Asking Questions While You Read


Tips for Dialogic Reading



Early Literacy Tip - Writing

When my storytime craft involves a lot of coloring or drawing, I like to share an early literacy tip about writing with parents. I might say something like this: "Coloring and scribbling help build the motor skills your child will need to hold a pencil and write. Drawing is also a great way for your child to tell stories before they can write words--ask them lots of questions about what they're drawing and the story they want to tell with their drawing."

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