Friday, August 6, 2010

Bookmobiles will save us!

The media has picked up the results of the University of Knoxville study on summer reading and learning loss. From the New York Times:
One of the most notable findings was that children improved their reading scores even though they typically weren’t selecting the curriculum books or classics that teachers normally assigned for summer reading. That conclusion confirms other studies suggesting that children learn best when they are allowed to select their own books.
I prefer the NPR take, which highlights people's love of bookmobiles. It has always been my dream to drive a bookmobile! There was a bookmobile that stopped at the retirement home across the street from me when I lived in Portland, ME, and although it was there to serve less mobile people than myself, I happily took advantage of it. In fact, I remember checking out a number of books about the Bermuda Triangle. So cool.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Story Maps

Although I learned about developmental levels in school, what I really needed to know was the exact age when a child can use scissors without cutting herself. This summer, I feel like I finally got a handle on the different age ranges for which I should be offering programming. There are some natural divisions in kids' abilities and interests, and by getting tough about the age ranges for my programs, I figured out what some of those divisions are.

For example, the age when kids can string beads and noodles on a piece of yarn that is taped at one end: 7. The age at which children become embarrassed to do finger rhymes and songs: 9. And the age when they can operate the bathroom key and therefore do not need parents in the vicinity to accompany them: 10.

Obviously, some of these only apply to my library, but this is invaluable data for me. Part of the reason I've been so focused on ages and skill levels is that I've been trying to do more effective programming for my older kids. And by older, I mean older than 5, so actually, I'm talking about everything besides my preschool programming. One of my goals has been to introduce longer, more complex picture books, and I would like to announce my first successful approach to this end: story maps!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I knew I could predict the future!

Perfect Chemistry won the RITA in the YA category, just as I predicted! I still haven't read it, because it's chronically on hold. So technically, the prediction was based on nothing. Well, it was based on the book's popularity. (Memo to RI librarians: there are 12 holds on only 10 copies!) But I'm still taking credit.

I did read three of the other nominations and ended up buying all of them for the library, despite their boring, grown-up covers. Seriously, do these look like teen books?

No. OK, maybe the middle one does. But the one on the left screams "Where's my poodle skirt? I want to go to the sock hop!"

Anyway, short reviews after the jump.