Every Child Ready to Read

Storytimes are over until June and I’m so busy working in the garden that I’m not reading. So, sorry for the lull. But! Today I presented an Early Lit: Every Child Ready to Read training for my colleagues with my Early Literacy Teammates. I was in charge of role playing exercises, which I know are not everyone’s favorite things. However, they are important. I thought it might be nice for my fellow Early Lit experts to take a peek at what I came up with for role playing exercise for their own future training or for their own practice.

“Don’t kids learn to read in Kindergarten and First Grade? Why do we need to focus on learning to read when my child is a baby? She can’t even hold her head up!”

  • Children who are read to have a higher vocabulary and better language skills when they start school
  • Children get ready to learn to read long before they officially start school


“I’ve tried reading to my toddler but he won’t sit still. I’m about to give up on storytimes.”

  • Reiterate the importance of songs and play
  • Suggest reading activities while on walks (reading street signs, discussing colors, what words rhyme with stop when you see a stop sign etc.)
  • In my case, one of my more antsy storytime attendees remembered me after she “graduated” from toddler storytime and would do “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” or “Open Them, Shut Them” when she saw me in the library.


“I make my child read with me every night for 20 minutes before bed time, but now she’s acting up before bed, and I think she hates reading.”

  • Reiterate the importance of songs and rhymes
  • Give suggestions for different songs—sing familiar songs to different tunes to switch it up
  • Make up your own song or have child make up their own song
  • Include the child in picking out of books–mix it up, some chapter, some picture, some graphic.


“My two-year-old can’t hold a spoon correctly, what’s the point of trying to teach him how to write?”

  • Remind parents that early coloring and “writing” is great practice for fine motor skills and the ability to hold a pencil and pen once their child gets to the age where he or she learns to print.
  • Reiterate that early writing or scribbling also has meaning to the child, which is important for reading and writing since the concept of letters or markings holding meaning/definition is beginning to form.


“I work two jobs and am a single parent. I don’t have time to devote hours a day to teaching my child how to read.”

  • Give parent suggestions for short exercise and rhymes that can encourage reading in small bursts
  • Suggest audio books while in the car instead of the radio


You’re running a program for parents and caregivers on Every Child Ready to Read and you’ve already discussed the basics of sing, write, talk, play, read. What other suggestions do you give? How do you incorporate STEM or other learning models into your program?

  • Counting
  • Hypothesis type of questions, “if x happens, what do you think will happen next”


A teenager comes into the library looking for books and resources on babysitting. In addition to babysitting books, what tips do you give the teen in regards to ECRR?

  • Links to websites with storytime and rhyme collections?
  • Tips for songs and rhymes i.e. repetition; speeding up/slowing down;


While at an outreach event (say, farmers market) an older patron asks for picture book recommendations because toddler aged grandkids are coming to visit. What books do you recommend and why?

  • Do the titles have rhymes? Do they promote play?
    • Example: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear—can make small voices, big voices, repeats etc
    • Bear Books by Karma Wilson has rhyme and repetition
    • Hooray for Hat the hat changes and can child and caregiver can easily discuss “what will happen next?”
    • Pete the Cat each reader can make up their own tune to the songs- sing fast, sing slow etc.
    • Jan Thomas- Can you make a scary face? Is Everyone Ready for Fun?
    • Wordless picturebooks: children can make up own stories based on pictures- still reading (reading the pictures)


You’re talking to a local newspaper about the importance of storytime and Every Child Ready to Read. What is your “elevator speech” on the importance of ECRR?



While walking amongst the stacks the other day I found Meg Cabot’s The Boy is Back and checked it out. I think I read it in a day. The story is told between texts, emails and journal entries, and is light and fluffy. Exactly what I needed. The Boy is Back follows Becky Flowers, the owner of a senior moving company in her Indiana small town. When her high school boyfriend Reed’s parents are caught trying to pay for their dinner with a postage stamp, she knows something is wrong. So does the rest of Reed’s family, so Reed (now a professional golfer) comes back to Indiana. Shenanigans ensue as Becky is hired by Reed’s sister in law to help his parents move, and as I’m sure you guessed, there’s a happy ending.

This got me reading the rest of Meg Cabot’s boy series. I read them out of order (4, 3, 1, 2) and aside from The Boy is Back, the characters all work for the same newspaper in New York City. This isn’t a crucial plot point or anything, but I kinda love how they’re all connected. Even if the main players are different.


In Every Boy’s Got One, Jane flies to Italy with her best friend Holly to be a witness and Maid of Honor at Holly and Mark’s wedding. Mark’s best friend Cal, is the Best Man, and so different from Holly she doesn’t know how they’ll stand the week together. But as they say, opposites attract.

The Boy Next Door follows Mel, a gossip columnist who finds her elderly neighbor unconscious in her apartment. When the neighbor’s nephew moves in to take care of the place (and pets) and be around for his aunt, Mel starts to pay a little closer attention to her neighbors than before.

Boy Meets Girl is about Kate, who works for the Human Resources Division of the New York Journal is instructed to fire the catering lady, despite Kate’s moral objections. When Ida, the caterer, files her own countersuit Kate finds herself embroiled in a legal case with her hated boss, her hated boss’s fiancé, and the boss’s fiancé’s brother (who is technically the head of the case, since the fiancé is “too close to the case”). However, the fiancé’s brother, doesn’t seem quite so bad… actually kind of nice.

I think I liked The Boy is Back the best, followed by The Boy Next Door (and with Every Boy’s Got One as the worst). But they’re all fun. A little dated in terms of politically correct terms, but I can’t hold that against them since they’re 15ish years old (I think). They also have some godawful covers. The early 2000s did not have good designers.

Daughter of the Pirate King and Siren Queen

I’d been meaning to read Daughter of the Pirate King for a while now. I believe I even entered a giveaway for the book in Goodreads when it was first coming out. Obviously, I didn’t read it then. But… it seemed like the perfect fit for one of my reading challenge prompts this year: A book set at sea. Especially since I have no interest in reading one of those Master and Commander books that were so popular a while back.

While I can’t say Daughter of the Pirate King is fantastically written, it certainly sucked me in! I love how different Alosa is from other heroines. She takes no crap, and has no qualms about killing, yet she’s someone you root for, and her loyalty to her crew shines through. I’m not sure I’d like to be her friend, but I can appreciate reading about her! The romance between her and Riden is also pretty electric. Their scenes are riddled with sexual tension. Which I love.

As soon as I finished Daughter of the Pirate King I went searching for the newly published sequel: Daughter of the Siren Queen. Luckily I was able to nab a copy the next day. While I tore through Daughter of the Siren Queen in a day, there was something missing and I can’t quite decide what that something is. Alosa’s badass character was not quite herself and the sexual tension between Also and Riden wasn’t quite there this time around. I can’t point to particular passages, but it didn’t have the same grab for me.

With that said, I’m really hoping there is as third (and final) installment, so we can get Alosa and Riden’s, and the rest of the Ava-Lee’s, story wrapped up. I want to know what they are off to do next! And what crazy creatures they might run into this time.

Toddler Storytime: Socks and Shoes

Opening Song

“The More We Get Together”

Extra Activities:

Letter Recognition: S! We looked at a saw, a snake, snow, and a spaceship.

Baby sign language: We practiced the sign for eat.



One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray


Counted to ten and back down



New Socks by Bob Shea


“Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”


I have a “washing machine” with different colored socks. I handed each child 2 socks and when I called out the colors I had them put their sock in the washing machine. I’d like to figure out how to make this work with them finding their pair, but they might be too young for that.



Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Closing Song

Baby Storytime: 39

Opening Song

Action Rhyme:

“Open Them, Shut Them”

Baby Sign:


I decided against the baby signs book every week because it got everyone really antsy.



1-2-3 Peas by Keith Baker

Action Rhyme:

“Five Little Peas”

Five little peas in a pea pod pressed. (hold fists in front of you with your knuckles pressed together)
1 grew, 2 grew and so did all the rest (on one hand pull one finger out of the fist at a time as you count up)
They grew and they grew (begin to pull hands apart)
And they did not stop (hands are as wide apart as possible now)
Until one day, that pod went, Pop! (Clap hands loudly)


“Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”


Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis


“Wheels on the Bus”


“Baby’s Belly Button”

These are Baby’s fingers.

These are Baby’s toes.

This is Baby’s bellybutton.

Round and round it goes.



Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O’Connell


“Itsy Bitsy Spider”

Closing Song

Little Fires Everywhere

My book club decided to read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I’m glad I read it since Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are turning it into a series on Hulu. But… I don’t know if I get the hype. I enjoyed it, but it’s nothing mind blowing. It probably doesn’t help that I kept comparing it to Big Little Lies, which I enjoyed a lot more. The two are getting compared a lot. Mostly, I imagine, because of Reese*, but they both are suburban mom stories that are well written, that also discuss the deeper and darker parts of our everyday lives. Which I find commendable. Great stories don’t have to be about huge things. I just liked Big Little Lies more. I think I like that it made me laugh while also think about the deep and the dark.

I’m going to be lazy here and copy and paste the Goodreads synopsis:

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

I wish I had paid a bit more attention to the audiobook in the beginning, because so many things come full circle and I had to backtrack in the print book when finishing. Also, I was personally not a fan of the narrator. I’m sure that did not help my paying attention in the beginning.

Toddler Storytime: Cars and Trucks, or Things that “Go.”

Opening Song

“The More We Get Together”

Extra Activities:

Letter Recognition: G! We looked at green beans, Goofy, a goat, and a goose.

Baby sign language: We practiced the sign for dad.



I’m Brave! by Kate McMullan

Action Rhyme:

“Green Means Go!”

Green means “GO!” Go! Go! Go! (march in place)

Yellow means “SLOW.” Slow… Slow… Slow… (march in slow motion)

Red means “STOP!” (stop suddenly)

Go! Go! Go!

Slow… slow… slow…




Truck by Donald Crews

I don’t know why I keep grabbing this one. It doesn’t work well for, but I love the idea.


“Old MacDonald had a Car”

Old MacDonald had a car, E-I-E-I-O!

And on this car there was a horn, E-I-E-I-O!

With a beep beep here, and a beep beep there,

Here a beep, there a beep, everywhere a beep, beep.

Old MacDonald had a car, E-I-E-I-O.


On this car there were some wheels (roll, roll)

On this car there were some wipers (swish, swish)

On this car there was a motor (vroom, vroom)



The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage


“Lots of Cars”

There are lots of cars driving down the street (hold steering wheel)

Tell me, what color do you see? (place car on feltboard)

Big cars, little cars  (spread arms big and little)

Beep! Beep! Beep!

There are lots of cars driving down the street.

Closing Song