"Kids Read" Roundup

A look at some of our favorite recent posts from the Tulsa City-County Library's Kids Read blog.

Every Wednesday, the Tulsa City-County Library posts a short article related to children’s literacy in our “Kids Read” blog at http://www.tulsalibrary.org/blog/kids-read. Here are a few of our recent favorites:

Talking Points: Why You Should Have a Conversation This Summer

Summers with kids are not always cheap. Even a trip to the swimming pool, when you add the costs of bathing suits, sunscreen, towels, and snacks, can give your wallet a wallop.

Fortunately, you have an ace in your summer entertainment pocket. Yes, the library, but one more as well: talking.

Talking with your children is the cheapest children’s entertainment (besides going to the library!) you will find this summer. The even better news is that this no-cost activity will also directly support your child’s brain development and language learning. As research study after research study has shown, the more you talk with babies and young children, the faster they will begin to understand words. And the more you talk with older children, the deeper their thinking will become and the more they will want to learn.

Here are a few topics to talk about with your kids this summer:

  • Your favorite places you went or things you did in the summer when YOU were a kid. For older children, get out a map or check out a book about that place from the library to help add detail to your stories.
  • If you could be a fish or a lion, which would you be?
  • List all of the things you see in your child’s closet. Extra points for picking some objects up and describing them in detail. (This one is particularly good for babies, but you might be surprised at how enthusiastic older children can be to catalog their closet possessions!)
  • What do dogs dream about? (Bonus: if you have a family dog, ask specifically what [Boomer/Peanut/Zipper] dreams about.)
  • Describe your favorite meal in the entire world.

New Book: “Short Stories for Little Monsters”

Most picture books for children feature a single narrative that carries from the first page until the last – a beginning, middle, and end, with a main character who wants something, encounters a problem, or must go somewhere.

(For example, look at the lovely and multi-award-winning “Last Stop on Market Street” written by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson: a young boy takes a bus across town and discovers beautiful things along the way.)

“Short Stories for Little Monsters,” written and illustrated by the prolific Marie-Louise Gay, takes a different approach. Instead of following a sustained story, she works much more in the mode of a graphic novel or comic strip a la “Calvin and Hobbes,” with short vignettes answering important philosophical questions like, Do snails have nightmares? and What do trees talk about?

Each page is divided in the style of a graphic novel, with comic strip boxes of various sizes on each page. The dialogue is also delivered in the same mode via talk bubbles. If your child is eyeing big brother’s or sister’s graphic novel collections, you might want to steer her into this unusual and witty collection.

It’s also a great book to share with children who ask funny questions and like exploring off-kilter topics.

Where Do Poison Frogs Get Their Poison?

Where do poison frogs get their poison? How do spider monkeys discourage intruders? What scientific family do prairie dogs belong to?

If you’re using the Brittanica PreK-8 database offered through the library’s website, you could find the answers to these questions* easily.

Sure, you could go to Google, but with the Brittanica database, you know immediately that the information you are getting is accurate and reliable — it comes from the folks who write the encyclopedia, after all.

Spend a little family research time on the Brittanica PreK-8 database and see what other fascinating facts (animal and otherwise) you can find! Go to www.tulsalibrary.org, select “Research & Learn” and then “Alphabetical List of Resources.” If you are not at a library computer, you will need to enter your name and library card number.

*Poison frogs get their poison by eating beetles. Spider monkeys break off tree branches and try to drop them on intruders and bark like dogs when approached. Prairie dogs are part of the squirrel family.

Categories: Books and Literacy