What kind of “writing” can very young children do?

The next great author is….   Your child.


We remind parents that Talking, Reading, Singing and Playing are all stepping stones for a child learning to read.  We also mention Writing.  This may be confusing when talking about very young children who cannot make letters.  How can they “write”?

Little children scribble for pictures and writing.  They are making a permanent record of their thoughts and feelings at that time. The scribbles should always be celebrated.  It is usually a bit later that children will draw and then scribble under the picture to write about it – knowing that pictures and words are different things.

Thick markers and crayons with unlined paper are good tools for this very early stage.



Singing nursery rhymes

Exposure to nursery rhymes is an important building block for literacy.  When I began as a children’s librarian, I asked a number of Kindergarten teachers for advice.  They said that children were coming to Kindergarten without knowing nursery rhymes, and it would help a great deal if I taught themHickory-Dickory-Dock.  I have always loved nursery rhymes, so I was happy to do this.

My signature nursery rhyme is Hickory Dickory Dock.  I have a mouse puppet that I named Maureen.  She always appreciates it when the children sing her favorite rhyme.  In fact she gives everyone kisses at the end of the storytime she is so happy.

The rhyming is an important part, but singing the rhymes makes an even more powerful learning tool.  When we sing, we pronounce each syllable more distinctly.  This helps children understand that words are made of letters, each letter has its own sound, and when we group the letters together they make interesting sounds.  Singing helps a child hear bits of sound at a time.

Because I have difficulty carrying a tune, I need adults to help me in all my storytimes.  I’m not giving singing lessons.  I’m breaking words into syllables and that’s something everyone can do with children.

P.S.  I won a trivia contest recently, because the final question had to do with the 2nd verse of Jack and Jill.  I was the only one who knew the answer.  How fun is that?

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.  Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got and home did trot as fast as he could caper.  He went to bed and wrapped his head with vinegar and brown paper.



Imaginative Play

Imaginative play comes from a child’s experiences in the world.  Visiting places where you can see animals in the wild will lead to more imaginative play about animals.  It will also bring more stories to life, since so many stories for young children involve animals

   Walking through the conservation land in Chelmsford is a wonderful way to see animals and plants. Thanksgiving Forest is bordered by River Meadow Brook and Great Brook Farm State Park.

Bunnies may not be welcomed at the Community Gardens, but you can certainly see lots of plants. The library created a StoryWalk around the gardens to provide yet another outdoor activity in town for young children.  I wonder what the StoryWalk would look like if you pretended you were a bunny family?…

Summer storytimes end this week

The last toddler storytime for the summer happened this morning.  There are preschool storytimes on Wednesday at the Main Library and Friday at the branch this week. We will not begin storytimes again until the week of September 29.

This is our fall storytime schedule at the Main Library:
Ages 0-12 months: Fridays at 10am (begins Oct. 3)
Ages 12-18 months: Fridays at 11am
Ages12-30 months: Mondays at 10am or Wednesdays at 11am (begins Sept. 29 and Oct. 1)
Ages 2.5-5 years: Mondays at 11am or Wednesdays at 10am
Ages 4-6 years (without a caregiver): Thursdays at 1:00pm (begins Oct. 2)
You may drop-in to any of our storytimes.  No registration is necessary.

There is a Friday morning storytime this fall at 10:30am at our MacKay Branch in North Chelmsford.  It begins on Friday, October 3. Families with children ages 2 years and up are invited to drop-in.

We always offer the Dads and Donuts storytime on the 2nd Saturday of every month at the Main Library.  This is a special storytime for ages 2 and up, because there are snacks at the end.  Dads make up the majority of the grown-ups, but moms are always invited.

We will offer Bubble Dance parties on Wednesdays in September for ages 2-6 years old as a fun activity to help you wait for storytimes again.  Please note that the bubbles start at 10:30 am.