Parenting and Kids Blog
News, events and resources.
It's so interesting to watch reading skills start to click for children. While the process of learning to read is different for everyone, you can often recognize those kids who have been read to a lot. It must be so much easier for them when they know that those little black blocks of sticks and squiggles correspond to the words they hear and say. And when they know about turning pages and going from left to right (for most of the books in this culture) and which way is up. All of these concepts about print are more easily learned when kids are read to early and often. Then, when the decoding part "starts to click" early readers have a more enjoyable time on top of that solid foundation. Building this foundation of concepts about print most often requires only a consistent and caring pleasurable effort- sharing books with your children every day. Singing easy songs - whatever you like. Saying those rhymes you remember or find some new ones. Your kids will love them. Choose books that you'll both enjoy. Visit your branch library for lots of great read aloud choices and you can watch it start to click from the very beginning.
Starting to Click
The second of two Monarch butterflies emerged from its chrysalis yesterday afternoon in the children's room. It emerged when one of the librarians stepped away to display more new books. When she returned, the butterfly was hanging from the open shell of the chrysalis where it had spent the last eleven days metamorphasizing. The chrysalis had been hanging in the jar since changing from a caterpillar into a chrysalis. In this picture of the chrysalis only a few hours before emergence, you can see the black and orange wings through the clear chrysalis walls.
Now that it's a butterfly, it's using the sun to stay warm and looking for food. Come to the children's room or any of the library branches and tell us what you're interested in. We're happy to help you find out more about it - whatever it is.
The Last Butterfly Post
This morning at Family Storytime, we made birthday cakes and even met the Very Hungry Caterpillar who surprised us with a visit! It was a good day for happy birthday stories because the first of our Children’s Room Monarchs emerged as a butterfly just before 10 am. At first, the butterfly’s wings were all wrinkled up. I guess anyone’s wings would be a little crumpled if they had been stuffed in a little bundle like that when they formed. It’s amazing that they formed all crumpled up in the chrysalis and then, after drying for almost three hours, were ready for use.
At Family Storytime in August, we’ve been reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar and following our real-life Monarch friends. Take a look at programs for children coming up in the fall. Some programs require registration. You can register for September registered programs online or you can stop in or call the library.
Happy Birthday Butterfly!
“He built a small house, called a (chrysalis) around himself” - in space? The Monarchs in the Children’s Room are no longer in the caterpillar stage. Each has now gone through a final molt and is now a chrysalis. One should emerge as a butterfly next week and the other a few days later.
Did you know that butterflies can go through their life cycle in a nearly weightless environment? I didn’t know until a patron told me about an experiment in which Painted Lady caterpillars were brought to the International Space Station and successfully went through metamorphosis. The experiment has been repeated with Monarch butterflies in space. I'm always amazed by what I learn when I visit the library. If you're curious about emerging butterflies, emerging space technology, or anything else for that matter, come visit.
The YouTube video below is pretty amazing. You can see what it looks like when a Monarch caterpillar changes from caterpillar to chrysalis - right here on Earth.
Very Hungry Caterpillars Part Three
" ... he wasn't a little caterpillar any more. He was a big fat caterpillar." The Monarch caterpillars in the Children's Room started out small but after lots of milkweed leaves - it's what's for dinner, and breakfast and lunch - they really are big.
This morning, one of the caterpillars was suspended with a silky tether. This afternoon, the caterpillar molted one last time and is now a fresh chrysalis. The amazing thing is how fast the caterpillar molted. Wriggling away hanging from its silky thread, it took less then half an hour to go from stripy to leafy green little bundle. The chrysalis will hang out for the next few weeks before it emerges as a butterfly.
For now, the other younger caterpillar continues to be very hungry. It won't be long before it, too, goes all chrysalis on us. Stop in to check on these little bundles of nature whenever you'd like.
Very Hungry Caterpillars Part Two
Two very hungry Monarch caterpillars visited the Children’s Room at Family Storytime on Monday morning. We also got to see this Monarch chrysalis bivouacked out beneath an aloe plant, of all things. Soon a butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis. Can you spy the chrysalis hanging with its golden dots?
If you stop by the Children’s Room soon, you might be able to see a very hungry caterpillar eating milkweed leaves on its way to becoming a chrysalis and, eventually, a Monarch butterfly. And if you see my butterfly gardener mother, tell her thanks for supplying us with these amazing creatures! Family Storytime continues Monday mornings at the Children’s Room.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Summer Reading Games have begun! You can pick your time to read to Bailey, the lovable Schnoodle, in the Alice in Wonderland Storytime Room! Thanks to a special bequest in support of Reading with Bailey, the Central Library will have lots of great new books about dogs that Bailey will love to hear before they're added to the Children's Room collection. You can get a preview when you read to Bailey! Call the Central Library Children's Room at 269-553-7804 to reserve your 15 minutes of fame with the best dog that loves to be read to!
Reading with Bailey
The countdown has begun! Summer Reading Games are right around the corner. Beginning on June 15th, you can sign up to win prizes, read lots, and enjoy fabulous programs at the library with a water theme. There's a game for all ages: Read to Me for preschoolers, Make a Splash for children entering 1st to 4th grade in the fall, plus Tween, Teen and Adult Summer Reading Games. Save the date for the end of summer party, a celebration on Sunday, August 29th with games, snacks and fun!
Make a Splash
"Dad's Golden Hour", an article by Clint Kelly in a recent enough issue of Motheringmagazine, is all about dads reading to their kids - how much fun it is and how it creates time away from the stresses of everyday life while creating a lasting connection. The article offers tips to dads and moms for making reading aloud to your kids even more fun. One of my favorite suggestions from the article is to try reading with your kids in a different, special space - underneath the kitchen table or even up a tree. The author also suggests reading stories at dinnertime, a nice way to combine two family strengthening routines in one busy day. I also like Kelly's suggestion to give kids parts in the story, a great way to read with, not just read to your children. Finally, a suggestion to make up your own stories to tell your kids is a good one. Kids are fascinated by their parents' real life stories from when they were children.
Read to Me!
At Sing Along Storytime, we sang call-and-response songs, shared some great read aloud stories, and made crafts about the cow that jumped over the moon. We also met Octy the Musical Octopus (who speaks with musical notes) and Octy’s new friend Inky. Now Octy and Inky are off travelling to who-knows-where in their yellow suitcase. Inky promised to send a postcard, so check back here at the Kids’ Stuff blog for updates about their trip! Bon voyage, Octy and Inky!
Maybe Octy and Inky will be back from their big trip by the time we have our next evening Sing Along Storytime in May. Let us know your favorite sing along songs by replying to this blog post. Then, we can sing them together.
Sing Along Storytime