Early Literacy Program Changes

The Youth Services department is redesigning the early literacy programs to better serve our littlest patrons and their grown-ups! Here are the details…

But first, what exactly is early literacy?

Early literacy programs are not intended to teach children how to read. Instead, these programs are designed to help children develop the skills they will need to learn to read in school. The fancy terms for these skills are vocabulary, print motivation, print awareness, narrative skills, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness. Translated into easier language these skills are knowing all the letters of the ABCs, knowing how books work, recognizing printed words on a page, being able to make individual letter sounds, and knowing how to tell a story or describe an activity. Early literacy at the library is driven by the five practices of sing, talk, read, write, and play.

Toddler Time

Wonderful Ones and Tales for Twos is being combined into one program called Toddler Time. The program will replace the Tales for Twos time slot on Fridays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. All the same elements will be presented, such as books, fingerplays, flannel stories, and songs. Toddler Time is intended for toddlers age 1-3 and their grown-ups.

Baby Storytime

Baby and Me is being renamed as Baby Storytime and will be moved up one hour to 10 a.m. on Thursdays. Grown-ups and their babies age 0-12 months can look forward to even more books, bounces, songs, and fingerplays.

Preschool Storytime

Good news! There is no change to Preschool Storytime! The program will continue to be offered Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. Preschool Storytime is designed for children age 3-5, but younger and older siblings are always welcome.

For more information about all of our Youth Services programs, check out the YS Fall program brochure here.

Miss Hannah: The Underwear Librarian

Oversize white cotton underwear can hold seven children. This is what Hannah Adamson discovered when she presented an underwear-themed story time to the Derby community. Adamson has been a member of the Derby Public Library Youth Services staff for over five years and has led the Preschool Storytime program for a year. By incorporating books, songs, flannel stories, and interactive iPad games into her program, Adamson has increased attendance and inspired young children to think, create, and explore.

Her story time reached a new creative level when she thought of the underwear. Having discovered numerous pictures books with an underwear theme, Adamson decided to try something different. The response to this idea was unprecedented.

What was the underwear-themed story time like?

We read books related to underwear, danced to a song about getting dressed, and watched an adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes. The best part of the story time was using a giant, novelty pair of underwear. We read a book called One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl and had the kids step into the underwear together. We talked about colors, sharing, taking turns, and counting.

How did you become the “underwear librarian”?

Miss Hannah leads a story time with children’s books that feature underwear, and sees how many children can fit in the giant pair of underwear.

I presented at the Kansas Librarian Association conference in Wichita and briefly mentioned the story time to the audience. Librarians were thrilled to hear this idea. Later when I went to the Scholastic books table, the representative said they had sold out of Laura Gehl’s book. People were calling me the underwear librarian! It was great. Sometimes I worry that my ideas are too silly, but I think story time should be fun and conceal the fact that we’re teaching early literacy skills.

What would you recommend to parents who are trying to engage their children in reading? How would reading about underwear be helpful?

Children’s librarian Hannah Adamson holds up the giant pair of underpants that can hold seven children.

Reading a picture book takes five to ten minutes. You can use something as silly as underwear to show your children how fun reading can be. Reading interactive books like the ones about underwear can start a conversation with your child. Ask about the colors of the underwear they have. Use the books to talk about potty training.  It’s okay if they don’t sit still. Just keep at it. You’ll be building skills and creating lasting memories.

Miss Hannah recommends:

  • One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl
  • Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman
  • Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera
  • No! That’s Wrong! by Zhaohua Ji and Cui Xu
  • Toca Tailor Dress-Up App

Preschool Story Time is on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 AM.