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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Episode 93 (Epilogue): Baby's First Library

 Tonight’s show focused on children and reading. Some parents may feel concern about raising children who are avid readers. We know that as children age, they read for pleasure less and less, and rate their enjoyment of reading as lower too. So it becomes so crucial to inspire children while they’re young, and to show them the many gifts reading has to offer. On tonight’s show Cheryl and Ryan helped provide information on how parents can lay a solid foundation for their children’s literary development.

  Our first guests of the show were Grace Moore and Alisa Mitchell. Grace moved to Sarasota one year ago to start as the Children's Librarian at Selby Public Library in Downtown Sarasota. She studied English and minored in French at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida before moving to North Carolina, where she completed her Master's degree in Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, with a focus on youth services in public libraries. Alisa is a Florida native who was raised in Sarasota. She’s a graduate of Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Having worked in Raleigh and Boston, Alisa returned to Sarasota in 2001. Her background includes non-profit development, community outreach and writing. She’s been a columnist for the local Mommy Magazine, and for the last five years she’s coordinated the library’s early literacy outreach program.

  Alisa and Grace discussed the benefits of early reading, as well as how an active role on the part of parents to foster a love of reading is invaluable. We also discussed potential issues that can hinder a child’s love of reading, and how to create the best space for children to become comfortable with books and reading.  Finally, we delved into potential issues of disparity when it comes to creating a promising reading future, and discussed some area programs which are working to combat these issues. One such program is Literacy Empowers All Families (LEAF). Additionally our guests also discussed avenues for getting books for low or no cost.
  Our next guest of the show was Connie Manson. Connie has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood education. She founded Starlite Puppets in 1990. She has shared music and the magic of puppetry with children as teacher in early childhood programs, and as a professional puppet story teller in various settings throughout the United States for the last twenty years. She created the Tea ‘n Puppets Parent/Child Program and Story Hour. This delightful story series is currently being held at Waldorf Sarasota, where Connie teaches The Little Seedlings Parent Child classes and the Sunflower Nursery Class.

  Connie discussed the power that storytelling can have in shaping children to become avid readers, as well as what a valuable part of a parent/child relationship story telling can be.  Connie provided a variety of tips and suggestions to listeners for making story time special with their own children. Finally, Connie told a story for us, and later highlighted how this story provided examples of what parents can do with their own children.

Author and Book Suggestions from Our Listeners:

Sandra Boynton

Eric Carle (Cheryl: one of our faves- we have a few in English and in French!)

Robert Munsch (a super famous Canadian children's author)

Richard Scarry

Tommy dePaulo

Maurice Sendak (including Little Bear)

Satomi Ichikawa

Jane Yolen

Listeners’ Reading Tips and Suggestions:

Nyssa said they love reading books by John and Ian Schoenherr (literary relatives). She also says: “my mom read to us early and often, and continued to read to us, even after we could read all by ourselves. I still remember The Black Cauldron, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time (series), and the Hobbit coming to life in my mind's eye as my mother read.”

Petra said: “I thought black and white cards with pictures and words are the best for newborns before they see in colors. Moms can even make books like that as well.”

Renee said: “Using sign language while reading doubles the experience!! Makes it more interactive! The wee ones love the visual.”

Julia said: “Hope you'll give a shout out to Jim Trelease  - a big advocate for reading to young children whose book is my favorite baby shower gift”
Cheryl  checked out Jim’s site and notes that he has a great book called the read-aloud handbook, and also has free handouts on benefits of reading aloud, do and don’ts, and more!

Alejandra said:  “I didn't pick a specific author or set of books. I knew I wanted her to start grasping Spanish so I had family members ship me Spanish only books from South America. It is just colorful little picture books with the Spanish saying on the bottom. She loved them and still does till this day. And it was something both my husband and I could read to her and make up stories along with the words.”

Ciera said: “As a mother who has a Master’s degree in Reading Education I knew that inspiring a love of reading in my children was very important to me. Not only that but as a child I was an avid reader. If I was naughty the punishment was typically removing my books from my room, which was quite effective. I don’t feel like we have done anything out of the ordinary or novel when it comes to integrating books and reading into our daily routines. Starting at a young age, around one, with my oldest child we would read one or two books as a part of his bedtime routine. As a family we would head to his room and lounge for up to 30 minutes playing together and reading him books as he asked. There was no "limit" to how many books we would read at that age. As he has grown older I myself limit him to 3 picture books or 1 chapter book (like Little Bear) because if not we would read all night long. I have started to integrate books into my youngest child’s bedtime routine as well, starting with one short board book with lots of engaging pictures right before nursing to sleep.
A few more things we do include having books accessible to the children at all times. They have a bookshelf with their books in their room that is within reach of both children (and is securely anchored to the wall to lessen any risk factor of falling). I also have a "never say no" policy to reading books. If my son asks me to read him a story I make every effort to say yes always. I make it a point to read around him, and model good reading habits (as does his father), and we just make it fun. Early readers need lots of interaction with books on their own terms. Let them explore, and be there when they wish to share that experience with you.”

Thank you so much to all our listeners who contributed these great suggestions!

Additional Links from Tonight’s Show:

TONIGHT’S RIGHT:  Every woman has the right to decide collaboratively with caregivers when she and her baby will leave the birth site for home, based on their conditions and circumstances. To learn more about your rights, please visit


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