Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alphabet and Apps

Leah Langby from Indianhead Federated Library System (IFLS) shared some insights about children's alphabet knowledge on the YSS Blog.  From her attendance at the recent Collaborating Partners for Early Childhood event, Langby explained that, "If you are using a 'letter of the week' as a way to introduce alphabet knowledge in your storytimes, you might want to consider some other methods.  According to presenter Gaye Tylka, there is no evidence that shows that promoting a letter of the day or week is particularly effective for introducing letters." To read the entire post, head to the Youth Services Section Shout-Out--YSS! blog as well as watch for more event insights from Leah on the IFLS Keeping Up With Kids blog. 

Elijah Mayfield at LightSide, a lab devoted to investigating automated support for student writing, recently shared,"Seven Lessons Learned About ELA Apps, courtesy of Common Sense Media" in an online post. While emphasizing the role of English Language Arts apps in the classroom environment, Mayfield's observations offer food for thought for youth librarians, especially in regard to our support of children, families, and educators regarding app recommendations and use

Image Sources: Pixabay and Pixabay

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Webinar: Basic Developmental Milestones of Early Childhood

The California State Library Early Learning with Families (ELF) 2.0 Statewide Initiative presents:

Presenter:  John Hornstein Ed.D., Brazelton Touchpoints Center

Format:  Webinar

Date:  Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Start Time:     12 Noon Pacific
1PM Mountain
2PM Central
3PM Eastern

  • What do library staff need to know about the basic developmental tasks of early childhood?
  • How can we use this developmental knowledge to help us more effectively interact with family members in supportive and constructive ways?
This webinar will build upon and expand the conversation begun with our April 10, 2014 webinar, also given by Dr. Hornstein and entitled Foundations of Early Childhood Development: It’s All About Relationships. In this second webinar we will review the basic tenets of child development from the Touchpoints perspective – identifying the major developmental tasks of infants, toddlers and preschoolers within the context of their relationships and culture. The discontinuous nature of this developmental process will also be explored. We will then examine how library staff can respond to families by focusing on parent-child relationships, and supporting parental mastery as might occur in various library-based scenarios.

At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will be better able to recognize developmental themes of:
  • Infancy
  • Toddlerhood
  • Preschool
  • Support parent-child relationships
  • Support parental mastery
This webinar will be of interest to any and all library staff who interact with families of young children.

For more information and to participate in the Wednesday, September 3, 2014 webinar, go to

Webinars are free of charge, you can pre-register by clicking on the Register Now button (at the top and bottom of webinar information page). If registering with less than 30 MINUTES from the start of the webinar you can join directly from the thank you page by clicking the Join Now button. If you pre-registered you will receive an email with login link and a reminder email the day before the event.

If you are unable to attend the live event, you can access the archived version the day following the webinar.  Check our archive listing at:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy Anniversary! Happy 100th Post Growing Wisconsin Readers Blog!

Let's celebrate!

The Growing Wisconsin Readers website launched last August, and this post marks the 100th update on the Growing Wisconsin Readers blog.

Did you know...

  • The Growing Wisconsin Readers website was the first mobile-friendly website produced by DPI?
  • The website exists in English, Hmong, and Spanish?
  • The Growing Wisconsin Readers blog attracts readers from across the country, and well as throughout the state?
  • The "Resources for Librarians" webpage is the most popular?
  • The "2014 Early Literacy Calendar" blog post is the most viewed? (A 2015 calendar is in the works).
Stay tuned for more updates this fall to both the Growing Wisconsin Readers website and blog.  Guest bloggers, continuing education opportunities, and more resources are coming your way.  Thanks for reading!

Image sources: Pixabay and Pixabay

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) directly influenced text included on the Growing Wisconsin Readers brochure and website. Each state has developed their own early learning standards, and WMELS are used throughout the state by a variety of early childhood advocates.  Are you using WMELS in your library early literacy work?  Read more about WMELS below and find out how to download or order a copy.  Be sure to view the Early Literacy Update!

What are the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards?

Cover image from WMELS
The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards specify developmental expectations for children from birth through entrance to first grade. The standards reflect attention to all the domains of a child's learning and development. The domains include: Health & Physical Development; Social and Emotional Development: Language Development and Communication; Approaches to Learning: Cognition and General Knowledge. Each domain is divided into sub-domains. Each sub-domain includes developmental expectations, program standards, performance standards and developmental continuum. Samples of children's behavior and adult strategies are also provided

Why have model early learning standards?

Based on research and supported by evidence-based practices, the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards provide a framework for families, professionals and policy makers to:

  • Share a common language and responsibility for the well-being of children from birth to first grade;
  • Know and understand developmental expectations of young children;
  • Understand the connection among the foundations of early childhood, K-12 educational experiences, and lifelong learning.
Download or order WMELS:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Online Course Taught by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen via the Library of Virginia

The Importance of Play
September 8 to October 3, 2014
This is a four-week online course taught by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen.
The course uses the Moodle platform.
Cost is $30.00.
Class is limited to 30 participants
Password: lva
Prior to taking the course, a two-session course in Moodle is required.

Week One of the course content will be made available on September 8, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. You do not need to be at a computer at that time. Each week, you will have the entire week to work on the course and to submit assignments. The course officially ends on October 3, 2014.

Playing is fun, but it is valuable as well. Play is often referred to as "the work of childhood." In this course, we spend time seriously looking at play. This course is meant to reintroduce you to play; to increase your understanding of play in the context of the second edition of Every Child Ready to Read(r); to highlight the important role played by parents, librarians, and developmental tips; to examine play, toys, and technology; and to give you some new ways to use library programs and early literacy spaces to foster positive play between parents and children.

By the end of the course participants will be able to:
*  Recognize the different types of play
*  Understand age-appropriate play
*  Learn about the importance of play as proven by scientific studies
*  Discover the vital role that parents have in encouraging play in their children,
*  Be aware of current issues surrounding play
*  Use library programs and early literacy spaces to foster positive play between parents and children,
*  Include developmental tips to guide parents and caregivers
*  Connect play with the second edition of Every Child Ready to Read(r), an Initiative of the American Library Association.

This is a four-week course offered This site requires a user name and password which will be sent to you about two week prior to the course beginning. If you have not yet taken a Moodle course from the Library of Virginia, you are required to take a two session "Introduction to Moodle" course. "Introduction to Moodle" is free. The purpose is make you familiar with Moodle and to ensure that all security glitches are taken care of before the course begins.

Required reading for the course is You Make the Difference in Helping Your Child Learn by Ayala Manolson. It will be mailed to you at the address provided on the ticket. For more information about Moodle, please visit

Your Instructor:
As creator and executive director of Mother Goose on the Loose, Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen has been developing educational programs for infants and toddlers since the early 1980s. Working as a children's librarian in public libraries and children's museums for more than 30 years cemented her belief that the best way to learn is through play. Both institutions share the mission to help children become the best they can be via informal learning; their different approaches have given her an extensive programming repertoire and exposure to a wide variety of early literacy environments. The 2013 Leadership and Professional Achievement Award from ASCLA (the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies of the American Library Association) was awarded to Dr. Betsy for "revolutioniz[ing] the way story times are presented to young children at libraries across the country" and "empower[ing] librarians to work confidently with this young population of readers." Dr. Betsy has published seven books and numerous articles on early literacy and school readiness; her highly innovative teaching methods recognize the importance of developing the "whole child." She does private consulting and presents training workshops at national, regional, and state conferences, for library staff, children's museum staff, and their partners. Dr. Betsy received her Master's degree in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University and a Doctorate in Communications

For more information please contact:
Enid Costley at or call 804.692.3765

Image source: Pixabay and Pixabay

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Early Literacy and ABCMouse for Libraries, a popular preschool learning activity subscription website, has recently offered a free alternative for public libraries called for Libraries. The ABCMouse curriculum has been compared to the activities available through AWE stations. ABCMouse requires a computer and Internet connection, unlike AWE.

The alphabet, numbers, music, animals, and more are common features of ABCMouse activities.  There is a consumer-focus to the site that should be noted. Players receive virtual tickets for trying activities; tickets can be redeemed in an imaginary store that mimics the online shopping experience. ABCMouse does not show any ads or include off-site links. for Libraries offers a variety of set-up options intended to support different ways the program might be made available in a public library setting. for Libraries was recently reviewed by School Library Journal. has been reviewed by Common Sense Media and Education World, among others.

Have you considered using for Libraries?  If you already use it, what has the response been from children and families in your community?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Early Literacy Storytimes--Do They Make a Difference?

At the American Libraries Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, researchers from the University of Washington, the other UW, presented information from a recent study about early literacy efforts in public libraries.  Specifically, the UW iSchool project questioned whether the early literacy focus of storytimes makes a difference for children's learning to read successfully.

The short answer: YES! Purposeful focus on early literacy principles makes a difference in programs and in children's early literacy behaviors.

To learn more about the study, view the slides from the session materials on the ALA Conference schedule. Be sure to check out PDFs for the early literacy behavior indicators in the areas of writing concepts, vocabulary, print concepts, phonological awareness, language use, comprehension, communication, and alphabetic awareness.  These charts provide a clear look at reading goals as executed by the librarian and child.
View the UW Project Views2 Facebook page for more info