Monthly Activity Calendar

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Celebrating Thanksgiving with Books

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Alex. You’ll find Miss Alex sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at a couple of our branches.

This week, I am thankful to be a children’s librarian. I got to get hoarse reading Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich-Smith to a group of 49 kids and get peaceful reading Julie Flett’s Wild Berries to a smaller group. I chose these activities to promote literacy around 51tDYvMpZML._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Thanksgiving because, as Debbie Reese suggests (2014), “for very young kids, I’d stay away from historical contexts and focus on Native people of the present.” There are links leaf_man_coverbelow to a few interesting reads if you want to explore this topic further. Since I am thankful for this opportunity to share my own post and for your attention as well, I will keep the rest short and sweet.


During my November school visits, I was also blown away by how enthusiastically the kids practiced how to write thank you cards, and I was happy to crack a “Thank You” card joke similar to this quote. Laughing with the kids was a fantastic mood-booster in this time of sniffles and shorter days. 51fKqT-Ze5L._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

As we did in my storytimes, I also found it was great to focus on shared small joys like crunching on leaves as we walk outside or play pretend. I am sharing my story time handout on fall and winter as well, in case you feel like singing and reading, too. You are always invited to our library 6174fX8kYwL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_and our programs and always welcome to share your feedback and ideas.

Preschool Winter-Seasons Story Time Handout 1



Constant creativity and encouragement are so important when working with kids. Thank you to my colleagues and students and to the parents, teachers, and others who may be reading for your infectious openness, curiosity, and support. I am going to follow this blog’s title and “laugh, play, read” all fall and winter, listen to my kids, look for gifts and resources from others, and share my own. Thank you.


October Monthly Calendar

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September Monthly Calendar

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Monthly Activity Calendar

Click on the image below for a printable version.




Monthly Activity Calendar

Click on the image for a printable version.



Book Review: BunnyBear

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book BunnyBear by Andrea J. Loney. 


BunnyBear may be a bear on the outside, but he doesn’t act like other bears.  He loves to pick and eat strawberries, hop around, and enjoy life in a calm manner. 

Bears don’t understand him, and bunnies are afraid of him.  Bunnybear wants to be accepted by the other bunnies, but he feels left out.  One day he meets Grizzlybun, a little bunny with a lot of confidence.  She loves to stomp her paws, growl, and make sure she’s noticed.  Grizzlybun quickly teaches Bunnybear it’s best to be oneself, as long as they’re true to who they are on the inside.

You can find BunnyBear along with other great titles about acceptance and being yourself at your favorite Stark County District Library! Make sure you tell your librarian how you liked the book.


Just Write About It…

Writing is a very important skill for children to master. Writing involves creativity, comprehension, fine motor skills, sometimes the ability to follow directions, reading, and so much more. Writing is one of the five early literacy practices helping prepare children for school.


Here is a simple activity you can do with your child to incorporate writing into your day.

  • Supplies:
    • Paper
    • Crayons, Markers, or other item for coloring
    • Pencil
    • A favorite book

For my example, we read the story Orange Bear Apple Pear by Emily Gravett. It is a simple story with four words: orange, bear, apple, pear. The author uses the words in fun ways through her illustrations.

Image result for orange bear apple pearAfter we read the story, I asked my group of children to think of four words. They could use any four words. When they had a little trouble thinking of words, I asked them to name their favorite color, fruit, and animal.

We moved to the table. I gave them each a large piece of paper, and I told them to use their four words to write a story and draw a picture to go with it.

The most important part of this activity was letting the children be creative and work on their own. The hardest part of this activity was letting the children be creative and work on their own. Yes, you read that correctly. As adults, we have a tendency to want to make our children’s work perfect or help them the entire way. For this project, it’s important to let them figure it out on their own. Let them sound out the words and “kid spell.” Let them draw an animal the way they “see” it.

We did this with a mixture of age groups from 3 to 8 years old.

This mixes a little bit of process art (letting them create on their own) with a little bit of product art (there’s a specific end result with a few instructions). You will be surprised what your child comes up with!


March Activity Calendar

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DRA, AR, Lexile, Guided Reading, OH MY!

Depending on your child’s teacher, school, or school district, he might be using DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment), AR (Accelerated Reader), Lexile, Guided Reading, etc…there are a number of ways to level books which can make labeling books and creating lists somewhat tricky. If you recall from this post last week, it is hard for a public library to label its books with so many different leveled reading programs.

One of our favorite resources to use at the Stark County District Library is the NoveList Plus database. (Click the link, and then scroll to the N section for NoveList Plus.)


You can use this database to search for read alike books to popular children’s and teens’ titles. You can also search by Grade level, Lexile, and/or Accelerated Reading level.

Here are some other ways you can find books that fit the needs of students.

It’s important to keep this fact in mind as you search: Just because your child is in a specific grade level, does not mean he/she reads at that grade level. These reading systems are intended to help students find books within their reading levels.

It’s also important to remember children need to be able to find books that interest them. They are more likely to read the book and retain the information if it is something they have chosen and want to read. It is also important to note that reading with a friend, parent, or caregiver is also VERY beneficial!