I have learned a lot on this topic from all of these people and others. I also expect that I shall be learning from you. You have my contact information. I am happy to continue conversations any time. There is also a blog which Dan can tell you about.
All the slides have a notation on the sourceThere is a resource list for contact information Dan where?If I flip through the slides too quickly, don’t worry because you are able to go back to the slides to review. Dan, do they type in questions continuously?
According to the ECRR webpage, the new ECRR2 program materials will include a module on Creating an Effective Early Literacy Environment for Library Staff.I would like to make clear that at the time of this webinar, I do not have any information on what is included in it. I do not know what approach is being taken or what is included in the materials. The information I offer here is what I have synthesized from my own experiences, readings, observations, and talking with people who have experience with early literacy language-rich environments. Keep watching this webpage for updates for ECRR2.
Doesn’t have to be only in children’s area. Don’t leave children alone in children’s area, so they take children into other areas of the library. Where are there some cozy areas to relax and read together?Signs that encourage interaction—words and pictures together. WOW You are learning to read!
What happened at the baby’s partyWho came?Which present?What was inside?How does baby feel?Strips of paper around paper towel rolls
But you can also get a home-type mailbox with a flag fairly inexpensively.One library system has children write letters to their library mascot. They post some responses.
Lots of shapes to talk about
1:15 – 1:20I would like to spend a few minutes talking about play. Our language-rich environments encourage learning through play. It helps if we can understand some of the dimensions involved in play.Child development expert and Tufts University professor David Elkind says play is a way in which children learn and in the absence of play, children miss learning experiences. A 2007 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth.” --Pediatrics (2007) 119(1): 182-191 Ginsburg, Kenneth. The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds.In your “Additional Readings” list is a book called Developmentally Appropriate Play: Guiding Young Children to a Higher Level by Gaye Gronlund. I’d like to share with you some of what she says.
All play is not created equal.Adults need to help children engage in purposeful, high-level, mature playMore complex play helps children develop a number of skills and capabilities such as self-regulation, language, vocabulary, and abstract thinking.Space, materials, and adult support lead children to engage in play that is safe, socially successful, that has meaning and is imaginativeThe intervention of knowledgeable and skilled adults in children’s play can move the quality of play from one level to the next. Say 3 levels from slideI think we have all seen chaotic or out-of-control play. One characteristic is that it is unsafe. There may be disagreements that occur resulting in injury or hurt feelings. Voices are often high-pitched and loud.Of course purposeful play can also be loud with physical activity, but there is a certain threshold that is crossed when it deteriorates to chaotic play.Second level: Simplistic play doesn’t have issues of safety and noise. The play is often repetitive and not very involved. Children may imitate the actions of an adult but they do not build on it. For toddlers, imitation is appropriate, but for preschool children, we should be encouraging more imaginative and complex play. Third level: Purposeful, complex play involves thinking and problem-solving. Materials are used creatively. Real objects are not necessarily needed because toy pieces are used to represent different items in imaginative play. Here is an example from Dev. App. Play showing how the adult’s intervention moves the play with two four-year-olds from simplistic to more complex.Adult—What are you girls doing here?Children bring her cups. “This is orange juice.” They also bring plates with pizza. Adult pretends to eat and drink, talking about what kind of pizza and what else they can cook. The children answer her questions and continue to repeat the same actions again and again.To support higher play, she adds vocabulary and describes what the children are doing as they are doing it. She also adds suggestions or materials, asking questions that take the child ren to a higher level as they pretend or use symbolic thinking.Adult —Maybe we need to go to the grocery store to get some different things to cook. I wonder if we should make a grocery list? Children dictate a list enthusiastically. She gives them the list and they are off to the store to look for the items she wrote on paper. For some of us, this kind of thinking, of ways to elevate play may come naturally. For others, we need to become conscious of it and learn how to support higher level play.
1:18 – 1:20 (2 minutes)Dan will group them and shoot them to me.
1:20 – 1:32 (12 minutes)One can argue that sitting in an empty room and reading with a child using the book as a jumping off point for further conversation and interaction is a language-rich environment.So do we need toys, puppets, posters, puzzles and activities to make a language rich environment?Young children, especially, learn through all their senses. They experiment and make deductions based on what they notice about how things work in their environment. They try to make sense of the world in numerous ways. We also know that reading relies on strong foundations of ORAL LANGUAGE and on the ability to conceptualize. As you are looking at these environments, remember that there are many levels and ways to create these spaces. If you are currently on a shoestring budget, there are still many ways to create engaging language-rich spaces.Remember you don’t have to do everything at once! You can work in steps as part of a longer-range plan.
Spaces and places that encourage language-rich interactions between young children and parents/caregivers with the intention of building school readiness skills.This is MY definition:In the context of the public libraryThere are some differences from what a language rich environment might look like at home, a child care center or a schoolSchool readiness domains include:Language and LiteracySocial and emotional development including managing feelings and self conceptPhysical developmentApproaches to learning (curiosity, creativity and inventiveness, problem solving)Cognitive and General knowledge (how things work, conceptual thinking)Mathematical and scientific thinkingThe Arts Language and literacy is one of the school readiness domains, but it is also key for all these areas of development and can be developed in all these contexts—vocabulary and narrative skills related to science, math, art and so forth
These are additional characteristics—That we articulate for the adults the relationship between the environment/activities and later reading andWe offer ideas and aids for ongoing support of the skillsSome will contend that an environment can be language-rich without these characteristics.I believe if we are going to develop or build language-rich environments, we should make the most of it. Supporting the parent/caregiver is important because they are the ones who are with their children every day.
Using the characteristics I have laid out, all these settings CAN be language rich, but are not necessarily language-rich, unless we make them so.
StorytimesPlaytimes after storytimesPlay together programs
Family Place Libraries have environments both in separate rooms and in the general library areasFamily Place Libraries broaden traditional children’s library service to include parents, caregivers, and early childhood professionals by creating a family centered, play based environment for them.
Storyville in Baltimore Co. PL is like a children’s museum that incorporates books, writing and language activities
Today concentrating on language–rich environments in the open areas of the library
I have identified two components of a Language-Rich Library Environment Affective Component refers to the emotional qualities, how does the environment make you feel?Content Component refers to the materials or what is contained in the environmentDesign and Personal AspectsPhysical and Informational AspectsComponents are not mutually exclusiveSome overlap and they complement each otherSafety factors need to be taken into account, of course, but I will not be discussing those in this webinar
Here you can see what is included in the Affective ComponentIs it inviting, welcoming, comfortable, engagingIs there space for people to sit, to visit, to playDoes it say come and stay, stay and play togetherDoes it encourage exploration;
Design factors: Research from environmental psychology indicates that the environment has a profound effect on behavior. The environment coerces behavior. Design aspects that convey these:Does it convey beauty, clean and cared forChild’s scale with room for adults?Is it well-lit—subdued or bright, natural lightColors convey the desired moodArrangement—does it encourage interaction between adults and children; how do the adjacencies affect how the materials are used
Personal aspectAre library staff or volunteers there to welcome families; acknowledged/greeted in a friendly mannerDo adults and children feel valued; staff show interestDo library staff or volunteers support the feeling of security Security—I don’t so much mean safety here as does it promote a feeling of emotional security where children are encouraged to speak, where adults and children are shown respect, are heard, where language can flourishDo staff/volunteers model and support encouraging exploration
Exemplify affective component
“Make It Move”, "Discovery Dig", "Big Build", and "IlluminART". They incorporate problem solving, sorting, sharing, early literacy skills, and collaboration. Their colorful design, scale and varied activities appeal to a range of ages, encouraging families to play and explore together, while they imagine, discover, create, and bring learning to life.MichellePerera from Rancho Cucamonga PL is one of three speakers at an ALA Preconference in New Orleans, Interactive Spaces for Families to Play, Learn and Discover
Content—what is contained in the language-rich environment?Here are the components
Age appropriate—reflect children’s stages of development/styles of learningEncourage open-ended play—blocks, playdo, writing utensils, boxes—that allow for playing in different ways, that encourage imagination, thinking, creativityMarisa Conner at BCPL noted that theme-based—children learn in context, build on what they already knowWords on similar topics are grouped together in the brainFlexible and varied to encourage return visits to encourage different vocabulary and experiencesFunctional use of print—menus and order pad with restaurantDisplay their work, show emergent writing and drawingsBrand name visibleMay seem obvious but include books with the toys—cookbooks with kitchenDrawing books in writing areaTheater—books on magic, ballet
Conveying information to parents/caregivers on early literacy and school readiness
1:32 – 1:40
(mom, transitioning son _out of the library) let’s go say the alphabet down the stairs on the other side of the staircase. This also helped so that they weren’t holding up traffic looking at the numbers on the way up.
Grouped by topic—easier for children to come up with storiesRotate
What about all the pieces—getting taken, getting worn out, making a mess. Marisa Conner: We have had these centers in our 17 branch locations for over six years. In fact the children’s behaviors have improved and are more purposeful. The materials stay in the children’s area and the key to success is having the toys organized in a clear and easy to use way.
Before and after working with Family Place Libraries
1:40 – 1:49 (9 minutes)Why?It is not always obvious to adults how skills learned in play especially complex play support later literacyParents/caregivers who are with children every day can take advantage of teachable moments during the day—apply this information at home or in child care settingIf adults see how enjoyable activities support early literacy they will feel less inclined to resort to skill and drill activitiesOften hear staff are uncomfortable inserting themselves into play situations or talking with parents about early literacy. This can stem from a number of reasons.May not feel comfortable themselves with the early literacy information—improves with training and practiceAfraid to sound condescending or the interaction feels forcedHesitant to insert themselves into play and then become babysitters for the parents to do other things. After sharing a book with a child or playing with a child, we can say, “Go read the book with your Mom, or tell your Mom about what you did with the toy.” Overstepping the line of privacy: In a sense the way parents interact with and talk with children is part of parenting style and reflects personal and cultural values. We need to respect that, of course. Public library principles respect the anonymity of our users. For example, only the card holder can see what is out on his or her card. We do not ask WHY a paron wants certain information or materials. So that combination of privacy related to library use and the privacy afforded family interactions can sometimes make it a challenge or make it feel intrusive when we engage in conversation around children and play. I think that seeing ourselves as a partners with the parents, at most a coach, rather than a teacher, might help. Simply conversing with parents, casually talking about their children can help us gauge the boundaries. Your reading on Parent Participation gives some good background as well as practical approaches to engaging parents/caregivers as part of library services including engaging in conversations that support the parenting role.As with so many things in life, it is the way we interact that makes the difference.
Information is on sheet in each container
Jill Bickford at West Bloomfield PLChange signs frequentlyEven if the sign says the same thing, change font, color or even photo that goes with it
Frame calls attention to the sign
Dana BjerkeFrom point of view of the child—makes it more personal
[Family Place] mom having a very creative conversation with her sons about trains-- the names of the train cars, that they are going up and then down the overpass, where they think the train is going ( to grandmas they said). Before they left, the librarian gave them a number of picture books about trains that they took out.[Family Place] mom and her baby and 3 year old using puppets to act out a story the little girl created. The family started playing with the puppets after the librarian brought them to their attention and gently modeled how the adult could engage the child in this activity and let the child take the lead in the storytelling.Business talk,Extra talk—The late Todd RisleyMeaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American ChildrenRaise level of play to more mature and complex
1:49 - 1:55 Dan will group them and shoot them to me.Then we will go on to look at some examples of language-rich library environments.Polling Question:If you are in a library or know of a library with language rich early literacy environments, please type in name of library or library system and city/state and if you have contact person information, you can put that also. If it is one library in a system, then just the library. If there are several libraries or all libraries in a system, you can put down the whole library system. We will compile a list and put it on the blog.
Peg Sullivan of Library Resource Group good branding
Read slideChange within structureStructure gives comfort with the familiar.Change encourages the excitement for what is new.Something new is a reason for publicity, to bring in regular patrons to look for what’s newStructure is important for a certain comfort levelRotationsWe always have something going on the lobby post or on this wall, but what it will changeWe always have a writing table but what is on it variesWe have a carpet in a certain area. Changes every 3 months.We will always have our train. . . We’re the train library.If you have a cube structure with panels that allow for different openings, panels different colors and patterns front and back, what can it be? House, barn, theater, store, restaurant, factory, car repair shop, drive-through, refrigerator, closet . . . If you have a cylinder what can it be? Rocket, silo, tree trunk . . . If you have a pyramid, what can it be? Tent for camping, teepee, explore Egyptian pyramids . .
Playhouse becomes a doctor or vet office, a pizza parlor, a restaurant, tool store
Always the whispering tubeWheel activity changes
Rotate 4 times a year
Building and Construction Table from Gressco/Haba
MobilityMoveable furniture—smaller or larger groups; infant/older preschool area—low portable screens or dividers;Front and back of same unit
Storage:Brodart Creative, not sure which libraryRotations—monthly, bimonthly, seasonallyStorage—between endcapsEverything cart Smith SystemsEarly Literacy Centers from Baltimore Co. They bought the same cart units for each library. The drawers of materials, each on a different theme, are passed from library to library on a set rotation.
Writing—whether scribbling, drawing, or writing is a critical part of language development in many waysIt is representational, importance of print conveying meaningIt can be a window into what a child is thinkingIt can be a means to tell storiesIt is a means of artistic expressionIt is a link to cultureWe in the library are often reluctant to offer writing activities because we are concerned about children writing in books or on walls.Nowadays there are lots of other methods for writing.
2:05 – 2:20 (15 minutes)
Outdoors gives us many opportunities for different vocabulary and experiencesObserve clouds—shapes, what kind of weather?Textured walkwaysSand playWater play
Bird feeders—look different male/femaleButterfly bushesInformation on birds and butterflies—matching activitiesLandscape architects at Parks and Recreation departmentsPartner with garden clubs, nature centers
parking lotParking spaces: Rotate postersflowers, animals—adult male/female/baby/group of lion, lioness, cub, pride of lions
Science and math concepts overlap with early literacy—sorting, categorizing, vocabulary, narrative skills
Velcro wall to make it easy to change activitiesResource sheet has vendor for panel material for velcro
Clearplexiglass to see into workings of the libraryUse exhibit approachHands-on activitiesFor young children especially at about 4 years old, they are trying to make sense of the world—the physical world and their social world. For them, in a very real sense word knowledge is world knowledge. Click to toiletIf using a toilet that conserves water saves x cups per flush and there are 100 people using the toilets in a day, how much is that? How many bathtubs does that fill?
It is not necessarily practical to have transparent pipes which will not be strong enough to support water pressure, but exhibits and demonstrations, hands-on activities--opportunities are numerous!Click for insulationRemember children at this age need the concrete to understand.
LEED buildings offer even more opportunities to show children about energy conserving measures in buildings
LEED buildings are given a level of certification—platinum, gold, silver--depending on a point systemThe credit is 1.1 Innovation in Design: Green User Education Program and its under the Innovation and Design Process section of the LEED checklist. The total points available for that one area is 1.
Use exhibit approachHands-on activitiesMake it concrete, by that I mean real to the child
I realize this venue is not exactly what can be done in a library setting, but it offers some good examples of ways to make concepts understandable to young childrenThePaul Smith Children’s Village is a wealth of environmental fun -- a hands on and interactive place where learning about the environment is woven into every aspect of the garden, achieving a LEED Platinum certification. Through play and adventure, this first of its kind children’s garden gives children hands-on experience to understand practical methods of sustainable living.
Water is a vital and precious resource. The children learn how water is drawn from the ground by a wind powered pump and is then stored in a tank - great for watering the plants and washing hands.Children also get to try their hands at pumping water with using a hand pump and an Archimedes screw.The water goes through a “flow-form” which oxidizes it and some say brings the water back to its natural condition. There is also a water wheel that shows how we can make use of water and gravity to make mechanical energy.
Art—stone mosaicMr. Wall has a pretty big mouth . . . ....which is just the right size for a spontaneous puppet show.Polling QuestionDoes your library use building infrastructure OR LEED elements as part of language –rich environments for young children?If you are willing to share information and ideas with others, please post your contact information on the blog.If you are interested in knowing more on this topic or sharing ideas even though they have not yet been implemented, please also use the blog.
2:20 – 2:30Dan will group them and shoot them to me.Then we will go on to look at some examples of language-rich library environments.
Supporting Early Literacy through Language-Rich Library Environments SarojGhoting ALA Editions Webinar April 21, 2011
www.earlylit.net Early Literacy Storytimes @ your library:Partnering with Caregivers for Success For more information and to order book
Overview Early Literacy Skills Play What are language-rich environments Examples Strategies Considerations Trends Questions
FREE Webinar May 4! www.ala.org/everychild www.ala.org/everychild Creating an Effective Early Literacy Environment for Library Staff
Early Literacy Skills Print Motivation Vocabulary Narrative Skills Phonological Awareness Print Awareness Letter Knowledge More skill info in downloadable readings Chapter 1 of Early Literacy Storyimes @ your library See also Every Child Ready to Read @ your library® website when updated: www.ala.org/everychild
Print Motivation Child’s interest in and enjoyment of books and reading
Not Just Any Play Levels of Play Chaotic or out-of-control play Simplistic and repetitive play Purposeful, complex play that engages children Rancho Cucagonga (CA) Public Library Norfolk (VA) Public Library
Environments can offer opportunities for Vocabulary development Writing Talking about memories and stories by both adults and children Exploring and experimenting Children recounting what they know Using their imaginations and conceptual thinking through the use of open-ended toys and materials that encourage dramatic play
What are language-rich library environments? Spaces and places that encourage language-rich interactions between young children and parents/caregivers with the intention of building school readiness skills School readiness domains include:
Additional Characteristics Articulate for the parent/ caregiver the relationship between the language-rich environment/activities and later reading Offer ideas and aids for on-going language and literacy development even after leaving the library
Language-Rich Settings in the Library Storytimes Playtimes/Craft Times following storytimes Playtime/Craft Programs Family Place Libraries™ Discovery Rooms Outdoor Areas Open Areas
Affective Component Invites and welcomes children and adults Engages children and adults Conveys come and stay Says stay and play/read together Promotes feelings of security and comfort for adults and children Encourages exploration
Personal Aspect Personal welcome Staff/volunteers show interest; users feel valued, respected Staff/volunteers support feeling of security Staff/volunteers model/support encouragement of exploration
West Bloomfield Township (MI) Public Library Ridgedale Public Library Hennepin County (MN) Public Library Norfolk (VA) Public Library
Make It Move IlluminART Play & Learn Islands™ Rancho Cucamonga (CA) Public Library Discovery Dig Big Build Island
Content Component Quiet spots to read together Spaces that encourage exploration Support exposure to variety of concepts and ideas Topics and activities that engage children and adults Writing/drawing activities Books/print in easy reach/view Messages to adults on ways to support early literacy Both reflects and expands community Visible brand name
Physical Aspect Seating or space to accommodate interaction between adults and children Age-appropriate toys and manipulatives Materials to encourage exploration—exposure to variety of concepts and ideas Materials and space for writing/drawing Functional use of print—labeled items: words and pictures Books integrated into immediate area Incorporates early literacy information into the environment itself Displays of children’s work Photographs of people in community Brand name visible
Informational Aspect Signage to convey early literacy information Signage to convey additional information on a topic or theme Staff/volunteers who convey early literacy information Staff/volunteers who model and encourage language-rich interactions Staff/volunteers to model and encourage higher levels of play Ideas and aids to continue early literacy activities at home
Putting It All TogetherExamples of Language-Rich Library Environments
Engaging—That Sense of Discovery Built into the floor Storyville, Baltimore County Public Library www.bcplstoryville.org
Ridgedale Public Library Hennepin County (MN) Public Library
Early Literacy Centers Baltimore County (MD)Public Library Carroll County (MD) Public Library
Carson (CA) Public Library after Family Place Libraries™ Carson (CA) Public Library before Family Place Libraries™ Norfolk (VA) Public Library before Family Place Libraries™ Norfolk (VA) Public Library after Family Place Libraries™
Incorporating Early Literacy Explanations And Information
Kanawha County (WV) Public Library Bulletin Boards What is Phonological Awareness? Definition & why important Clap the Syllables Together, clap the syllables of the words in the rhyme. Rhyme Time Together, think of words that rhyme with moon. How about dish? Cat?
Puppet stage with complete set of alphabet puppets. Puppets purchased from www.lakeshorelearning.com Letter Knowledge Together, find the puppet that has the first letter of your child’s name. Find the puppets that have the other letters in your child’s name. Using the puppets, encourage your child to tell stories. This helps develop narrative skills. *Research says good narrative skills help children later understand what they read.*