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What Can Librarians Do to Support Student Literacy?

From a reader:

Any thoughts on top 2 or 3 literacy concepts on which you would focus librarians? Grades 4-8?

My response:

Let me say how happy I am that you are available to students and teachers. As I make my way across the country I find fewer and fewer school-based librarians. Unfortunately, you appear to be part of a disappearing breed. Here are a few ideas.

Content

It’s a Tomato Warning!

Carol and her family share their gardening adventures. They learn the virtue of patience when it comes to gardening with some help from a book called And Then It’s Spring, and experience the satisfaction of growing their own fruits and vegetables from seed.

The other day, Addie asked me, “Mommy, why was there a tomato warning?”

“A tomato warning?” I repeated, confused.

“Yes, a tomato warning. It happened during the thunderstorm.”

Madam President

Addie explores the idea of becoming President. With a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and a candid “what if I were President” interview with her mom, we get to see the world through the eyes of a five and half year old.

About a month ago, Addie came home from school, and said to me, “Mom, you can become President.”

“OK, why is that?”

“Because you have to be 35 to be President. And you’re 35!” (In all honesty, I’m 35+2, but why ruin a perfectly good moment by pointing out a harmless error).

A Strawberry Farm-to-Table Adventure

Carol shares the delicious fun of strawberry picking at a local farm, and how a book and Highlight magazine article lead to baking adventures in the kitchen with the kids.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather turns warm is taking my kids fruit picking. Yes, it gets hot. Yes, there are bugs flying around. Yes, it involves manual labor. But when you bite into that plump, perfectly ripe strawberry, blackberry, peach, fuji apple, and the list goes on, your mouth fills with such sweet and juicy goodness that it’s well worth the effort.

A Bonfire, a Bookstore, and Whales: Our Cape Cod Adventure

In this post, Carol shares how she prepared for a beach trip to Cape Cod with a Summer Tip text, and discovers the fun of stopping by a local bookstore. She’s also discovering how the role of books in their lives is evolving, and making summer explorations more memorable.

Everyone has a story: an interview with author Karen Deans

Karen DeansKaren Deans is an author and an artist who tells stories in several ways. She uses rich language in her books as she reveals lives of interesting women.

She is a painter, creating images that capture a mood or a place for the stage. And some of her paintings are just for pleasure to look at every day.

We’re Going on a Bug Hunt!

Carol goes bug hunting with her three-year-old son Taylor, and realizes a great adventure can be had right at home, alongside bug-themed books and apps.

Our First Exploration: Money!

In Carol’s first blog post about her summer adventures with her kids, she uses the Start with a Book site for the first time. She shares the fun times (and mishap) they have exploring a topic Addie is learning about in school, money.

For our first Start with a Book adventure, we explored the topic of money. Addie’s learning about quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies in Kindergarten, and had lots of questions about where money comes from and where it ends up.

Little Museum of BIG Little House Treasures

En route to Mansfield, Missouri, Laura and Almanzo’s final home, we had time to think and talk about the places connected to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family that weren’t on our Little Journey itinerary. Once we reached Mansfield, our mileage for the Little Journey would be more than a thousand miles, so there were some places along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway we just couldn’t include, like:

Informational Text and Young Children

So the woman who runs my local children’s book store told me that more and more parents of young children are asking for “nonfiction beginning readers” because “that’s what Common Core wants.” Really? In kindergarten and first grade? Aren’t beginning readers supposed to develop their decoding and word recognition by reading simple stories (the ones populated by talking pigs).

Pages

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." — Garrison Keillor