A curriculum from Vinci, available to parents by subscription, promises to “inspire the genius” in young children. Public libraries have actually been offering remote services to families for a while now, maintains Lisa Kropp, who further considers the notion of virtual preschool.
This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Banks aren’t traditionally known for innovating with early childhood education programs, but Pittsburgh’s PNC Bank is a happy exception. Its bilingual Grow Up Great initiative builds strong partnerships with libraries and other cultural institutions around early learning.
This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
The books of Lois Ehlert, with their vivid-hued collages, are a staple of the storytime shelf—and a great start for teaching STEAM concepts to toddlers and preschoolers. Which of your favorite titles would fit into a preschool science program? Share them here.
This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Read Aloud 15 Minutes is a nonprofit organization that’s working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes “the new standard in child care.” First Steps columnist Lisa Kropp urges libraries to sign on as partners in the effort.
This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Mayhem, schmayhem. If your library’s children’s room is chaotic, it’s proof that the little ones are learning.
This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
The effects of the income gap are starkly evident in long-range studies of our youngest learners, making it critical for libraries to provide early learning services to those who need it the most: poor children.
This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Research shows math skills at kindergarten entry are a better predictor of school success than reading or attention span. With that in mind, Bedtime Math has partnered with libraries to battle summer slide.
This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Children need to enter school ready to learn to read, which means they must be introduced early to a host of varied vocabulary. Sharing 1,000 books with them before kindergarten—via programs for parents and caregivers that model best reading practices—is the ideal way to do this.
This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Essential is what our early literacy programs need to be—especially if we want children’s librarian jobs to be considered necessary community services. Make it your mission this year to increase early literacy services at your site by offering at least one nursery-rhyme-based program a month for ages birth to two years old.
This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
First Steps began almost nine years ago, in February of 2004. Our first column was about the importance of having fun, because we believed that fun was a key element in any discussion of early literacy. We still do. Learning to read isn’t easy. It’s hard work, and children need to be motivated to put forth the effort. Like adults, they’re inclined to do what’s most enjoyable for them.
As 2013 approaches, Nell is celebrating 40 […]
Imagine that while interviewing for a library job you’re asked, “What would storytime specifically for African-American families look like to you?” That’s what happened to Kirby McCurtis. “I thought it was an especially interesting and challenging question,” says Kirby, who aced the interview and is now Multnomah County Library’s (MCL) newest African-American librarian. “It stayed with me even after the second interview. Now that I am working here, I have the opportunity to answer it every Saturday. It’s very exciting!”
The Neglected Ones: Children of undocumented immigrants seldom receive the services they need | First Steps
These days the news is full of polarizing stories about undocumented immigrants. Rarely do we hear about the 4.5 million children born each year in the United States to undocumented immigrant parents.
It’s toddler storytime: let the rumpus begin! Toddlers bound quickly into the room. One hurdles mom’s legs while waiting for the opening song. Some hop, others roam, and a few practically climb our unflappable colleague Janie. Even after getting most of their wiggles out, many toddlers continue to float around the room—until Janie begins to read one of her favorite books, Owl Babies (Candlewick, 1996) by Martin Waddell.
One of the most surprising early literacy questions we’ve encountered is about puppets. It came from a youth librarian whose director insisted that he couldn’t see how using puppets “has any value whatsoever, as far as early literacy is concerned.” “What can I tell him?” she asked us.
Oh, my. Where to start?
Print motivation, most likely. What motivates children more than having fun? Puppets are nothing if not fun. A puppet sharing a story enchants a preschool […]
It’s good to begin the New Year with enthusiasm. Here at Multnomah County Library we’re excited about several things. First, and perhaps most importantly, we’re looking forward to being successful at the ballot box in May, when primary voters will be asked to renew the bulk of our funding. Fortunately, the library is well-regarded in the Portland, OR, community, and we’re likely to secure the support we need.
We’re also excited about rolling out the new “Every Child […]
It’s Never Too Early: Parents should talk to their young ones long before they can speak | First Steps
The young woman sitting alone near the front of the MAX train car was speaking passionately, presumably to a friend on a cellphone. Nothing new—we overhear all sorts of conversations these days. But then, unexpectedly, she lifted a blue bundle to her face, and it became clear that she was talking to her infant son. Some assumptions, thankfully, are so wrong.
Somewhere, she had learned how important it is to talk to […]
On these early autumn days, in communities big and small, kindergarteners are stuffing backpacks with colored markers, glue sticks, tissues, and sometimes a favorite book or stuffed animal. Getting ready to start school requires so much preparation that it often eats up the last few weeks of summer. But as we know, preparing for kindergarten entails a lot more than one month of gathering supplies and buying new shoes.
What should young children know going into kindergarten? How to share and […]
Children (and adults) often learn best by seeing and doing
Watching our Commander-in-Chief read Where the Wild Things Are (HarperCollins, 1964) at the White House Easter Egg Roll gave us chills, even though we had to experience it vicariously on YouTube. We had often heard the new president suggest to parents that they “turn off the TV and read to your child.” Now he was modeling just how to do that. And he did a pretty darn good job of it.
Something to Smile About: A Statewide Early Literacy Program Is Making a Big Difference | First Steps
As our communities face serious economic challenges, it’s easy to focus solely on the dire news of the day: dwindling budgets, programs at risk. So, now more than ever, it’s important to appreciate the work that energizes us and gives us hope. Here in Oregon one such program is our new statewide training project to increase early childhood literacy skills.
In 2008, after many years of planning and securing funds, Reading for Healthy Families: Building Communities of Learning was launched in […]
The mothers and children enter the neighborhood meeting room. A raw, icy blast of wind follows the families through the door. Mothers unlayer little ones. Off come the boots and hats and mittens and coats. Babies are unswaddled from the brilliantly colored cloths that are artfully and securely knotted around their mothers. The toddlers and older preschoolers are pulled toward the bright toys and art supplies, and the babies remain tucked in close to their mothers. We gather around a […]