February 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Slideshow: Ohio Early Learning Conference | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

Slide 1
Slide 2
The signage of the Parma Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, which has benefited from the library's expansive $110 million renovation plan, faces the street as a beacon to those driving by.
Slide 3
In the Cuyahoga County Public Library space hangs a giant think prompt.
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The Cuyahoga County Public Library has a renovated children's space with giant letters that serve as visual stimuli, teaching opportunities, and places to store books.
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The library has a Yucky Bin used to place toys that have been in a child's mouth for later cleaning.
Slide 6
School Library Journal editor-in-chief Rebecca Miller kicks off the early learners event on September 19, 2014 at the Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library.
Slide 7
Robert Needlman talks to the audience about the collaboration that can and should be taking place between professions to support early literacy and learning.
Slide 8
Keynoter Robert Needlman, cofounder and board member of Reach Out and Read.
Slide 9
During a break, librarians wait in line to talk to Robert Needlman, who took copious notes during his conversations.
Slide 10
Kathleein Reif, director of St. Mary's County Maryland Library, speaks on the panel Addressing Early Learning Through Partnerships.
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The Addressing Early Learning Through Partnerships panel with (L to R): Billie Osborne-Fears, director of Starting Point; Kathleen Reif, director of St. Mary's County Maryland Library; Rebekah Dorman, director of Invest in Children; and Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.
Slide 12
Chip Donohue, dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education at the Technology in Early Childhood Center, speaks during the Technology in the Early Years: Reality Check panel.
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Warren Buckleitner, founding editor of Children's Technology Review, talks about the children/teen space he created at a NJ library branch; an endeavor, he shared, that was initially a disaster that turned out to be a smashing success that fomented creativity and play.
Slide 14
Celia Huffman, former youth services librarian at the Cuyahoga County Public Library, spoke on the Technology in the Early Years: Reality Check panel.
Slide 15
Guest speaker and children's author Kevin Henkes shared his process as a writer and spoke at length about his "Penny" series, including why he chose the name, how each book evolved, and shared how the idea of his "Penny" series came from a book he'd pitched about a lion, which got rejected.
Slide 16
Author Kevin Henkes signing books before going up to podium to deliver a lunchtime address about his process as a writer and his children being "built by books."
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Pam Jankowski, director of Literacy & Learning at the Cuyahoga County Public Library, spoke during the program during the panel Best Practices in Discovery Learning and Engagement.
Slide 18
Jennifer Stencel, the youth services librarian at Cuyahoga County Public Library, engages with librarians during the Discovery Learning Stations portion.
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During the day's Visit Discovery Learning Stations portion, an attendee plays with a shark puppet that is part of the Cuyahoga County Public Library's literacy program that uses puppets.
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Cuyahoga County Public Library's programs are based on discovery learning theory, which includes the use of LEGOs and LEGO robotics programming.
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Attendees take a closer look at the LEGO robotics program that Cuyahoga County Public Library offers during the day's Visit Discovery Learning Stations portion.
Slide 22
During the learning stations portion of the all-day event, librarians observed various programs at Cuyahoga County Public Library, including the Financial Literacy exhibit, a traveling exhibit between branches.
Slide 23
The Cuyahoga County Public Library has 102 apps on its iPads divided into various categories, such as "Pre-K Math" and "Sensory" for patrons on the autism spectrum.
Slide 24
'The Horn Book' editor-in-chief Roger Sutton and executive editor Martha V. Parravano present during the Reviewing/Selecting Books for Children and Reader's Advisory for Parents and Children panel.
Slide 25
Robert Fischer, the co-director at the Center on Urban Poverty & Community Development at Case Western University in Cleveland, talks about using big data to track children from birth.

On September 19, the Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library near Cleveland hosted Fostering Lifelong Learners: Investing in Our Children, a daylong program presented by School Library Journal and sister publication The Horn Book. There, over 100 librarians, early childhood educators, and various stakeholders came together to learn and discuss how to best serve the literacy (and other early learning needs) of children. Robert Needlman, cofounder of Reach Out and Read, keynoted the event, and proclaimed, “I’m about to cry,” after a warm tribute and introduction by Sari Feldman, Cuyahoga’s executive director and president-elect of the American Library Association. Needlman’s humor was present throughout his address, as he described recent research in brain physiology and the effects of nurturing on the child’s brain—as well as the debilitating effects of toxic stress.

The early learning panels throughout the day brought together experts knowledgeable in the topics of forming partnerships to address early literacy, how to apply technology in the early years (panelist Chip Donohue’s recommended technology resource list found here), best practices in discovery learning and engagement, and selecting books for children and readers’ advisory for parents and children (recommended booklist available here, starting on page 6). Notably, many presenters pointed to parenthood as their greatest source of knowledge and inspiration.

The day brought children’s author Kevin Henkes as a guest speaker, and during his address, he borrowed a quote from his colleague Anne Fadiman and said his children had been “built by books” and riffed on how his children used his books as materials for building forts, as one does as a kid. When Henkes reclaimed his books, he tells, he found his books worn and torn, with the covers gone and spines weakened—but the physical toll on his beloved books had been well worth it by providing his children early exposure to them. He then provided unique insight into both the early reader’s mind and his creative process as he detailed the development of the three books that make up the “Penny” series of first readers.

The closing speaker, Robert Fischer, co-director at the Center on Urban Poverty & Community Development at Cleveland’s Case Western University, talked big data—specifically collecting and mining existing data on children from birth onwards for insights into trends and potential service gaps to address. Such analysis of big data can not only track progress of initiatives but inform policy and interventions.

All-in-all, the day was full of talking points, programs, new products, and ideas to model—plus orange swag bags—courtesy of one of the event’s sponsors PNC Bank. To follow the early learning conversation on Twitter, use the #EarlyLearning hashtag.

For slides of the early learning PowerPoint presentation, click below:


Read more coverage on the event:

Technology Can Empower the Child | Fostering Lifelong Literacy 2014

Robert Needlman Keynotes Early Learning Conference | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by ‘The Horn Book’ Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

Kevin Henkes’ Speech: Books for Beginning Readers (The Horn Book)

Carolyn Sun About Carolyn Sun

Carolyn Sun was a news editor at School Library Journal. Find her on Twitter @CarolynSSun.

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