Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's Not Too Late to SUPERCHARGE Your Storytime

The response to the Supercharged Storytimes online learning opportunity in late 2015 was overwhelming positive!  The host of the project, OCLC, has recently opened up the learning opportunity to all public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin.

Why might you take advantage of this free, high-quality, early literacy professional development opportunity?  Hear what one participant had to say:

As someone who took this course when it was first offered, I have to say I really loved it! Most librarians who do storytimes know about the early literacy skills, so those concepts aren’t entirely new, but VIEWS2 really does inspire you to think more intentionally about what you’re including in storytimes and why. It gave me courage to do more asides to the parents so they realize the rhythm stick activity we do weekly isn’t just fun (or as one dad jokingly put it “weapons training”), it’s helping kids understand syllables through play. I hope more librarians take you up on this opportunity!

Abby Bussen, MLIS
Children’s Librarian
Muskego Public Library


The Public Library Development Team at DPI is pleased to offer a new learning opportunity for all public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin who are interested in early childhood literacy and storytimes. Supercharged Storytimes in a dynamic online learning community where you can explore research-based early literacy concepts, and specific strategies for reinforcing those concepts for kids, parents, and caregivers with intentionality and enthusiasm. The Wisconsin Division of Libraries and Technology was selected to partner with OCLC’s WebJunction program to bringSupercharged Storytimes to local providers, given the demonstrated leadership and commitment to early learning by libraries in our state.
Upon joining the Supercharged learning community, public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin will have access to:
  • Recorded webinars that provide an overview of the significance of specific early literacy concepts, and strategies for enhancing interactivity in your practice;
  • Online supporting materials, such as videos, articles, tools and tip sheets;
  • Supercharged discussion forums, offering the ability to share ideas and collaborate with other public library colleagues around the state.
For more information on the learning available in this space, review the Supercharged Storytimes Orientation Outline. There is no cost for public library staff and volunteers in Wisconsin to join, and the space will be available through March 31, 2016. To sign up:
  • Go to and click on “Log in” in the upper right-hand corner.
    • Have a WebJunction account? Simply log in with your username and password.
    • New to WebJunction? Follow the instructions to create a new account.
  • After logging in, enroll in Supercharged Central – Wisconsin by going to the WebJunction Course Catalog and search courses by entering: Supercharged
  • At the enrollment options page, select the Supercharged Central community for Wisconsin, and then click on “Enroll me.”
  • After you select “Enroll me,” you will be see the Supercharged Storytimes community of practice page. Welcome to the community! The “Getting Started” information at the main page will tell you all you need to know to begin supercharging your practice! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Follow Up to "Toddlers & Tablets" Session at WLA 2015

Were you crammed into Salon A for the WLA session "Toddlers & Tablets: New Media in the Lives of Young Children, Their Caregivers and Librarians"? Or were you unable to attend WLA but hoped to attend this session?  Never fear!  Archived resources are here!

First, a review of the session description:
Parent child tablet

Toddlers & Tablets: New Media in the Lives of Young Children, Their Caregivers and Librarians

Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Youth and Special Services Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison; Carissa Christner, Youth Services Librarian, Madison Public Library
New media can be described as the ever-evolving software (e.g. apps) and hardware (e.g. tablets) that are radically influencing the childhood experience. 24 Wisconsin librarians participated in the Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training in March. Find out how participants have integrated new media into new and existing library collections, programs and services. This session will be facilitated by a trainer from the national Little eLit network, the DPI consultant and training 

NMT participants
Second, a reminder of what the New Media Training is all about: 

Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training 

The Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training is designed to build capacity within Wisconsin’s youth services librarian community to support new media offerings for young children and their families. By offering this statewide training, Wisconsin hopes to continue to be at the forefront of moving young learners forward in the digital age. The New Media Training is designed to assist the Wisconsin youth services librarians in the integration of new media into new and existing library collections, programs, and services. Professionals from the Little eLit network will facilitate the online and in person training hosted by the Department of Public Instruction.

Toddlers and Tablets screenshot
Lastly, some resources to help you find your way in the realm of public libraries, new media, and families with young children:

Still not enough information? Stay tuned for an online training in development by Tessa Schmidt and Carissa Christner slated for Spring 2016.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Media Mentorship and Using Apps in Storytime Video

What is media mentorship and why should I consider using apps in storytime?  If you are asking these questions, check out this video produced by the ILEAD USA Early Literacy Innovators Team.
During 2015 the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries and Technology partnered with state library agencies from Illinois, Delaware, Maine, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah to implement ILEAD USA, a nationwide leadership immersion program utilizing web technologies. ILEAD USA - Wisconsin expanded library staff members' leadership skills and their ability to use participatory technology to address an identified community need. The “Media Mentorship and Using Apps in Storytime” video was created by the Early Literacy Innovators Team.
Team Name: "Early Literacy Innovators"
·         Angela Meyers, Bridges Library System, formerly known as Waukesha County Federated Library System (Waukesha)
·         Kerry Pinkner, Waukesha Public Library
·         Christine Weichart, New Berlin Public Library
·         Christi Sommerfeldt, formerly of Muskego Public Library
·         Katharine Clark, Madison Public Library

·         Gus Falkenberg, Indianhead Federated Library System (Eau Claire), Team Mentor

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Public Libraries in the Fox Cities Partner with Reach Out & Read

Check out this wonderful video highlighting the United Way supported efforts of Reach Out and Read in connection with Wisconsin Public Libraries in the Fox Valley. Thanks to Tanya Serron Misselt, Children's Services Supervisor and Tasha Saecker, Assistant Director at the Appleton Public Library for sharing the news about this fruitful partnership.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"The Raising of America" Documentary Series

By now, you have probably bought into the belief that early literacy matters and public libraries make a difference. A new documentary series connects these ideas in a broader picture of the early childhood experience in America.  

Take 11 minutes to view the powerful trailer for "The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation."

The text below comes from the project website: 

The Raising of America is the first national, fully integrated media/public engagement project that aims to reframe the way Americans look at early child health and development.

The Documentary Series

The Raising of America Series is a five-part documentary series that explores the question: Why are so many children in America faring so poorly? What are the consequences for the nation’s future? How might we, as a nation, do better? The series investigates these questions through different lenses: What does science tell us about the enduring importance of early life experiences on the brain and body? What it is like to be a parent today? And what policies and structures help or hinder the raising of healthy, happy and compassionate children? The Signature Hour covers all three of these issues. The four subsequent episodes each dive in for a closer look.

The Raising of America is available on DVD and video streaming from California Newsreel at The opening signature hour will be broadcast by public television stations beginning November 2015 (check local listings).

The Raising of America was produced by the San Francisco-based film production and distribution center, California Newsreel, in partnership with Vital Pictures of Boston.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Early Language and Literacy Online Learning Modules

From the U.S. Department of Education Office of Early Learning October 2015 Newsletter

Early Learning Language and Literacy Series Launched
electraPDG TA announced their free new 14-module series on Early Language and Literacy. Designed to support the emerging language development of children, birth to five, national literacy experts offer presentations on the four instructional priorities: oral language, phonological awareness, vocabulary and alphabet knowledge and print awareness, as well as other topics. View the facilitator guide, module presentations and accompanying resources in the Quick Links section of the PDG TA website or directly here.  For more information, contact: Sue Mitchell: or Kathy Thornburg:

For ED's Early Learning Initiative and to sign up for their newsletter, visit their website HERE.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Guest post by Kirsten Almo

Kids tasting vegetables
Image courtesy the author
Soil, seeds, water, plants, bugs, and people. These were the weekly themes for a new program, Super Veggies: Stories at Silverwood, that I tried this summer. The program took place at Silverwood County Park, a new Dane County Park, and Super Veggies tied in with our SLP hero theme as well as the parks mission of sustainable agriculture education. This program, which was targeted for families with children of preschool and elementary school age, was so much fun to plan and implement that I wanted to share it in case another librarian can use some of the ideas next summer. With the 2016 Ready, Set, Read focus on healthy activities, this program would fit perfectly.
Outdoor storytime
Image courtesy the author

I just finished my first year as a public librarian and therefore, my first summer library program! While in the planning stages, I approached the Friends of the Silverwood Park and our local school district about partnering for this program. The Friends group provided 2-3 volunteer helpers each week and the school district advertised the program through their summer school brochures and provided the funding for craft supplies. As the program was being held in a county park, I also completed an event request form.

The hour long program had the same format each week which made planning a breeze and was easy for the volunteers to jump in. The first twenty minutes was a structured program and the second part of the program offered 3 exploratory stations for families to visit.
Cheering for vegetables
Image courtesy the author

  1. Opening book each week Rah! Rah! Radishes! by April Pulley Sayre. As this is a chanting cheer for vegetables, wed wave something like Swiss chard or rhubarb as a pom pom!
  2. Opening song If You Think SOIL is Important Clap Your Hands (tune: If Youre Happy and You Know It). Words would change each week with to match the theme.
  3. Second book--story appropriate to the theme
  4. Tasting time--sample 3-4 veggies each week
  5. Third book--story appropriate to the theme
  6. Closing song
  7. Song related to the theme

Trying the Magicscopes
Image courtesy the author
  1. Make It (craft station) some examples that we did include painting rocks, seed collages, and creating egg carton insects.
  2. Try It (activity station) some examples include a scavenger hunt, sitting on a tractor, testing pH in water samples, and planting seeds.
  3. Check it Out! (microscope station) the Friends group had 6 Brock Magiscopes which were available for looking at things like worms, seeds, and pond water.

Kids trying microscopes
Image courtesy the author
Some of the things that made this program so easy to plan included having the structured format. I printed a flyer each week that included book titles, song words, and a description of the activity stations. The outside of the flyer was the same each week and listed the dates and themes for all the programs. I had Rubbermaid tubs that traveled to the park each week 1 for each station and 1 with my books and other materials. I could get these boxes unpacked and repacked during the week as time allowed and then the volunteers could get their stations set up at the park each week. The collaboration with the Friends of Silverwood Park group and the Edgerton School District was wonderful. We heard a lot of positive comments from patrons and I will definitely run this program again.

Written by:
Kirsten Almo, Youth Librarian