March 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Guidance for Kindergartners, Programming for Teens, and Inspiration for ESOL Educators | Professional Reading

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1603-Professional-CvsBaker, R. Lynn. Counting Down to Kindergarten: A Complete Guide to Creating a School Readiness Program for Your Community. 144p. index. ALA/Neal-Schuman. 2016. pap. $48. ISBN 9780838913338.

With recent changes to curricula, it is more important than ever for children to enter school with basic literacy skills. This comprehensive guide walks librarians through the process of creating and running a summer community school readiness program for children entering kindergarten. The author provides an overview of child development and thoroughly explains the role of the public library in literacy development of early readers. Focusing on collaboration with families and teachers, this easy-to-follow guide allows seasoned and new librarians to successfully create an educational and entertaining program. Over the course of six weeks, children and families will be taken through progressive literacy activities that build upon one another. Singing, reading, and playing interactions among children, parents, and library staff teach concepts in a fun and informative way. Recommended print resources consists of classics as well as recently published books. Suggested art activities are cost effective and user friendly. As an added bonus, there is an online program calendar available as well as printable handouts to advertise and reinforce the program. Also included is a parent program, which allows library staff to train parents in literacy practices that support their child’s learning. Every library could easily implement a school readiness program with the help of this guide. VERDICT An excellent professional development resource for public and school librarians.–Elizabeth Speer, Weatherford College, TX

Pereira, Paula Massadas. How I Learned English: The Story of a Brave Mexican Girl. illus. by Paula Massadas Pereira. 28p. glossary. CreateSpace. 2015. pap. ISBN 9781511629133.

Pereira’s (librarian, Cerritos College) fictional tale, which is based on her real-life experiences of coming to this country, starts with a young woman’s childhood on a Mexican farm and chronicles her arrival in Dallas to work in a store, her move to a different job to learn English and meet Americans, and her graduation from college with an English degree. The inspiring tale, which is accompanied by colorful painted images with simple captions, is told in plain prose that will resonate with adults in similar situations and is perfect for use in ESOL classes. The book closes with reading comprehension questions and a vocabulary list. VERDICT A great choice for professionals who teach English language classes.–Etta Verma, formerly at Library Journal

Schadlich, Megan Emery. Cooking Up Library Programs Teens and ‘Tweens Will Love: Recipes for Success. 179p. index. Teacher Ideas/Libraries Unlimited. 2015. pap. $45. ISBN 9781610699617.

An easy to digest compilation of ideas, designed to demystify programming for tweens and teens. The book follows a cookbook format; each of the 12 chapters begins with an introduction, tips for promoting the program, and materials for “stocking your pantry.” The bulk of the book is a description of program ideas, or “recipes,” that follow a simple format. Each program entry provides a brief program description, an explanation of any relevant STEAM areas, time and supplies needed, age level, setup information, and instructions. The first chapter, “Antiprogramming,” details six interactive “passive programming” ideas that allow kids to participate in their own way and at their own convenience—with the bulk of the librarian work done in advance. For instance, readers will find an “Instagram Photo Booth” (using an iPad and some props) and a “Buddha Board” (a Zen-inspired drawing board using water and paper), among other ideas. Notable chapters include in-depth descriptions of programs such as “Disgusting Science,” “DIY Modern Crafts,” “CSI Science,” and “Teen Opportunities Fair.” A few of the programs listed may become dated as popular trends ebb and flow, such as the rainbow loom project. VERDICT A good resource to have on hand for anyone creating programs, especially for librarians new to tween or teen services.–Adrienne L. Strock, Nashville Public Library

This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.