Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Webinar from Early Childhood Investigations: Family Engagement Strategies for All Languages and Cultures

Youth Services Librarians--consider attending this webinar to learn how to foster better connections with families of all cultures and languages.

Family Engagement Strategies for All Languages and Cultures

Presented by: Karen Nemeth
Date: March 18, 2015
Time: 2:00 Eastern Time
Cost: FREE
Karen Nemeth
Karen Nemeth

Engaging families of all cultures and who speak various languages is one of the most important strategies early childhood educators must use. When the students don’t speak the same language as the teacher, families become essential partners to accomplish goals that have been shown to be critical to English literacy success and school readiness.  Join Karen for this webinar to learn how to  bridge the home-school connection with evidence-based strategies that yield results in first and second languages. Register online.

Can’t participate in our webinars at the appointed time? Never fear! All of the webinars are recorded. To view the recordings, simply register now and you will receive an email with a link to the recording when it is ready to be viewed. You can still download the certificate by watching the recording to the end when the certificate link is announced and displayed on the screen.

*Please be advised that you will only be eligible for the great door prizes if you participate in the live session.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

State Superintendent Tony Evers and Assistant State Superintendent Kurt Kiefer Witness Early Literacy in Action

State Superintendent Tony Evers 
at the Charles M. White Library.
Photo courtesy of Kurt Kiefer
Head on over to the Wisconsin Libraries blog for a post by Assistant State Superintendent Kurt Kiefer on his recent visit to the Charles M. White Library in Stevens Point where he and State Superintendent Tony Evers saw early literacy in action!

WI Libraries: Connecting Communities

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Webinar from Erikson TEC Center: Strategies for Using Technology at Home with Devorah Heitner

Public librarians can likely use the information offered in this webinar in conversations with parents and caregivers. Register online to take part in the March 11, 2015 event. 

TEC Center at Erikson Institute

Strategies for Using Technology at Home
with Devorah Heitner

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
9:30 a.m. Central

Young children have more access to technology than previous generations, so parents and caregivers need support to learn appropriate and effective ways they can use these digital tools with young children.

This webinar, facilitated by Erikson Institute’s TEC Center and Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., of Raising Digital Natives, will help guide parents and caregivers through criteria for choosing applications, setting limits, and modeling appropriate use of technology.

Register today »

This webinar is conducted in partnership with
Alliance for Early Childhood logo

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What's Your Reach Out and Read Success Story?

Image Source: Pixabay
Earlier this week, this post suggested ways in which public libraries might support local Reach Out and Read sites. Currently, there are 115 programs in Wisconsin and 31 clinics in training (see map) and the interest is growing!

If you have worked with a Wisconsin Reach Out and Read program, we would love to hear about your experience. Whether you have assisted with fundraising, been a community advocate, helped with book recommendations, or developed a literacy rich waiting room, we need your story!  

Please consider sharing your anecdote for an upcoming project. Contact Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Youth and Special Services Consultant at at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Public Libraries and Reach Out and Read: Are You Making the Connection?

Wisconsin librarians are likely aware of the efforts of the Reach Out and Read program that promotes early literacy through well-child medical exams. We are fortunate to have Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MD, and MLIS as the medical director of the Wisconsin Reach Out and Read program. Dr. Navsaria has presented in many communities and at many conferences to promote how "books build better brains."

Reach Out and Read logo
Reach Out & Read Wisconsin
However, while you might know what librarians are told about Reach Out and Read, do you know what medical professionals are told about libraries?  Krista Ross, director of the Southwest Wisconsin Library System, presented at a recent Wisconsin Reach Out and Read training event and offered the following suggestions. 

As your Reach Out & Reach Partner, the Public Library could: 
  • Assist in selection of books for program
  • Act as Reach Out & Read program coordinator
  • Create booklists of new children’s materials
  • Create waiting room reading areas
  • Hold waiting room story times and coordinate volunteer readers
  • Provide family literacy kits
  • Promote the Reach Out & Read program with community stakeholders
  • Gather gently used books for waiting room “free book” shelf
  • Act as partners on grant applications
  • Provide training for parents on early literacy techniques
  • Provide opportunities for parents to sign up for a library card
  • Provide complimentary programs for children to reinforce reading as a habit (example: 1000 Books Before Kindergarten)
  • Make presentations at childbirth classes
So, what are you waiting for?  Locate a nearby clinic using this map and find out how you can support each other's early literacy messages!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Participate In A Survey to Map Early Literacy Initiatives Assisted by New Technologies

If you are a Wisconsin public librarian who experiments with integrating tech tools with early literacy programs, considering adding your library to a national survey map!  

"We invite any program that promotes children’s language development, emergent literacy skills, basic reading skills, or reading comprehension skills to complete this survey."

Read on for more information from New America's Ed Central posted on February 2, 2015 at: 

Image source: Flickr
A growing number of children across the country are exposed to media and interactive technology on a daily basis, and more and more parents are accustomed to communicating via mobile phones and other tools. Many early learning initiatives are beginning to determine how they might harness these tools to engage with parents, work with teachers, or otherwise augment efforts to help children develop early literacy skills.

Over the next few months, New America’s Education Policy Program and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop are collecting information to create a map of where these programs may be located and how they are going about their work.  This map is part of a broader effort called Map, Link, and Rethink: Early Learning in a Digital Age, which aims to identify, categorize, and examine initiatives underway across the country targeted at supporting young children (ages 0 to 8).  This particular survey is focused on early literacy, and we are asking  early learning programs and literacy programs experimenting with tech tools to complete our questionnaire.

We invite any program that promotes children’s language development, emergent literacy skills, basic reading skills, or reading comprehension skills to complete this survey. We also encourage you to complete the survey if you are exposing children to specialized vocabulary through a science- or math- focused program. School districts are also encouraged to participate, if the district has a project or initiative that incorporates technological tools to serve families, educators, or young children. We are eager to hear from you!

To continue reading, visit: 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Create Your Own Case Toolkit

We often focus on the stories in the books we use with children at our libraries.  But how often do you consider stories of the children and their families?

At your library, have you ever...

  • Wondered why a family who uses your library never comes to storytime?
  • Been curious why a parent declines the opportunity to get a library card?
  • Tried to offer early literacy tips but felt that they were unappreciated?
A new FREE resource from the Harvard Family Resource Project called "Create Your Own Case Toolkit" offers a structure to help you apply critical thinking and problem solving to local situations. Consider using the toolkit to investigate issues at your library or in your community, or think about using the toolkit in a group discussion or workshop.

The information below comes from the Harvard Family Resource Project


When you think about what you would do in situations—or cases—such as these, you develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are essential for working successfully with families. A case is basically a story that invites critical thinking and problem solving. Unlike most stories, though, cases leave readers with lingering questions. 

Just as reading and thinking about family engagement cases contribute to your ability to work with families, so, too, does writing your own case. That’s why, we, Harvard Family Research Project, and the Community Engagement Team in the Department of Human Services in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have developed the Create Your Own Case Toolkit. The primary purpose of the Create Your Own Case Toolkit is to lead you through steps and exercises to guide you in writing your own case.