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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Picture Inspires a Thousand Words

Have you ever tried reading a wordless picture book? Are you wondering why you would want to? Well, in addition to being great fun, wordless picture books can help develop important literacy skills for children at all reading levels. By listening to and telling stories, children learn new vocabulary and improve their narrative skills such as story sequencing (stories have a beginning, middle and end) and describing things and events. Older children might even be inspired to write down their stories.

Here are a few wordless picture books that will spark the imaginations of your little storytellers:

You Can't Take a Balloon into The National Gallery by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser – Readers of all ages will have fun spotting monuments, historical figures and famous works of art in this unique picture book. When a kindly photographer agrees to watch after a little girl's balloon, it slips away and leads her on a grand chase around the National Mall. Meanwhile, the little girl enjoys a leisurely visit to the National Gallery. Follow the balloon on further adventures in You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum and You Can't Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts.

Jerry Pinkney brings one of Aesop's best known fables to life in his Caldecott Medal winning, wordless adaptation of The Lion & the Mouse. Beautiful illustrations tell the classic tale of a mouse who returns the favor when a lion chooses to set him free.

Wave by Suzy Lee - Using pencil drawings and splashes of blue, Lee breathes a remarkable amount of life and playfulness into the simple story of a little girl frolicking at the beach.
Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage -- In this delightful story, Walrus escapes from the zoo and confounds the zookeeper trying to find him by disguising himself with an assortment of hats--from firefighter helmets to berets. Savage tells this tale through simple illustrations that pop with color and humor.

Author and illustrator David Wiesner is well known for his ability to tell captivating stories using only pictures. The Caldecott Medal winning book Flotsam follows a boy who discovers a camera washed ashore and is presented with astounding undersea photographs when he has the film developed. In Sector 7, Weisner illustrates the story of a boy who befriends a cloud and learns how clouds get their shapes.

Molly Idle brings her animation talent to print in the delightful book Flora and the Flamingo. Idle’s charming illustrations will sweep you up into the humorous and touching friendship developing between Flora and Flamingo as they learn to dance in sync.

There are many more wordless picture books available, even some for teens. Check out our catalog for more options.

Rebecca Molineaux, George Mason Regional Library

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early Literacy Services –Helping Children Get Ready to Read

Lives Change @ Fairfax County Public Library: What can we do for you?

Early Literacy Services Librarian Renee Edwards
 “Once again you dazzled and delivered. It is always such a pleasure to have you come read to us; whether it is to our little ones for a storytime or to our parents for our Partner-In-Print Workshop! I appreciate your expertise and examples you so vibrantly demonstrate when you come each time. Teachers learn as much as the parents.” 

-Patti Soderberg, Head Start teacher
“Our Early Literacy Outreach Assistant, Susie Miller, always provides us with engaging, memorable story times and language activities. She models for the staff best practices in sharing literature with young children and she delights our students with her novel songs, finger games and puppetry. We especially appreciate the generous gift books that she leaves behind – enough for each child to take one home and two for our classrooms. We love the Early Literacy Services program!”

-Sydney Manning, Head Start teacher

In library branches throughout Fairfax County, parents and children share the joy of participating in storytime activities. Behind the smiling faces and fun, however, lies a serious agenda:  getting Fairfax County’s children ready to read by the time they enter kindergarten. For those parents who are not able to bring their children to storytime, the library offers a unique service to set children on the path to becoming life-long readers. The library’s Early Literacy Services Program, with its traveling outreach staff and a dedicated cadre of 25 volunteers, takes the library on the road to where it is most needed.

Renee Edwards, Early Literacy Services Librarian, describes the program:

Fairfax County Public Library established the Early Literacy Services Program in 2005 to help children develop essential early literacy skills and concepts needed for school readiness. This program strives to connect child care providers and families to the library resources that will help get young children ready for reading and writing.

Early Literacy Services accomplishes these goals in several ways. Library staff and our 25 outreach volunteers present monthly storytimes to preschool children in child care centers and Head Start classrooms throughout Fairfax County. Library storytimes are based on themes (oceans, feelings, winter, etc.) and include books, songs or finger plays. These storytimes model appropriate early literacy strategies and behaviors adults should use when interacting with children to enhance the literacy experience. Since 2008, we have presented almost 5,000 storytimes.

At every storytime, staff and volunteers demonstrate the importance of making books a part of everyday life by giving free picture books to children and their caregivers. This gift extends the outreach visit into the home and is another direct connection to the library. To date, we have given approximately 23,222 picture books to children and child care providers.

Early Literacy Services also presents monthly professional development workshops for the early childhood community. These workshops highlight one or more of the five pre-reading skills needed for school readiness and demonstrate ways adults can use library books and literacy-based activities to help children develop these skills.

For many families in Fairfax County who might not know about or be able to otherwise access library services, now the library goes to them. But the work of Renee’s team extends to all of Fairfax County’s preschoolers. If you aren't able to visit a storytime with your preschooler this week, check out tips from our early literacy experts on the library’s website. You'll also find great book lists, events for preschoolers and information about what’s new in preschool books.

-Renee Edwards, Early Literacy Services
-Ginger Hawkins and Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library

Have a library story to share?  Let us know in the comments or send us an email!

The post is part of an ongoing series examining the library lives of Fairfax County residents as part of a celebration of the American Library Association’s National Library Week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Access Services – Providing Library Services to People with Disabilities

Lives Change @ Fairfax County Public Library: What can we do for you?

“I want to thank you for your response to my book requests. I tell everyone that Talking Books literally saves my life!”

-Myrna, FCPL Access Services Customer from Springfield

The Access Services branch of the Fairfax County Public Library removes barriers to library services for people with permanent and temporary disabilities.  Our Talking Book service provides audio books and playing equipment free of charge by mail. 

Individuals of all ages who are unable to use standard print due to visual impairment or physical limitations are eligible for this Federally-funded program established by Congress in 1931.

Braille books and more than forty magazines in audio or Braille are also available.

Readers who are unable to travel to their neighborhood library branch due to disability, illness or frailty may be eligible for free home delivery of Fairfax County Public Library materials in regular print, large print or on CD.  Readers served by Access Services may choose their books or arrange for our Reader Advisors to select titles for them based on their reading interests. 

Our goal is to keep people connected to the pleasures of reading, and many tell us just how important this is to their quality of life:

“Thank you for your services especially for my special requests. There is nothing worse than being blind, but I will not give up.”  

-Catherine, FCPL Access Services customer from McLean

“You make my life wonderful with all the tapes and now flashdrives you provide. Many thanks.”
-Maryann, FCPL Access Services customer from McLean

-Janice Kuch, Access Services

Have a library story to share?  Let us know in the comments or send us an email!

The post is part of an ongoing series examining the library lives of Fairfax County residents as part of a celebration of the American Library Association’s National Library Week.