Writing and Reading

Playing with shapes will help babies learn to identify alphabet letters. This will, in turn, lead to learning how to write and even how to read better.

The skills needed to learn how to read and write are connected in children's brains.  In order to ready your child for reading, try some of these easy and fun writing activities:

FOR BABIES:  Of course your baby is not ready to read or write just yet, but learning to recognize shapes is the first step towards acquiring those skills. So point out different shapes you see and describe them to your child.  Find things that are round, such as balls, and let your child explore them.  Boxes are all around you; let your child play with a cardboard box and talk about squares and rectangles.  Playing with simple shape and color puzzles will also help develop these skills.

FOR TODDLERS:  Keep playing with shapes but also have fun introducing alphabet letters.  Toddlers love hearing their names,  Expand the sound of your toddler's name by writing it on all sorts of

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Seeing Stars at the Melrose Branch

Meet a star from Disney on Ice, and visit the Chabot Space and Science Center's Star Lab, this week at the Melrose Branch.

Have you visited the Melrose Branch?  This week might be the time. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 2:00pm - 
2:45pm, come to the Melrose Branch to meet a star from  "Disney on Ice presents ROCKIN' EVER AFTER."  One of the stars of this production will be making a stop to greet you, on the way to the Oracle Arena for their evening performance.

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Free File - free software to help you file your federal taxes.

File your federal taxes online and securely for free!

It's tax season, and we are offering free tax help at Main (and other locations), as in prior years. This year, the IRS is also providing some help in the form of software called Free File, which lets you prepare and e-file your federal return for free if your income is under $58,000/year. If your income is higher, you can still use free fillable forms online. Join the 33 million Americans who have used this service and saved money! 

 

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Library User Spotlight - Meet Dominic!

Meet Dominic - a bicycle-riding, comic-loving library supporter!

Dominic Lucchesi is a great friend of the library.  He's also a District 1 resident and a worker-owner of Pedal Express - the East Bay's only bicycle courier company.  Monday through Friday, you can find him riding the streets of Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville making deliveries of all kinds.  On the weekends, you can find himpicking over the comic book collection at the Temescal Branch Library, or checking out something useful at the Tool Lending Library

Thanks to Dominic for answering my questions!  Anything in parentheses

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Boxer or Saint?

I know that we're only in February, but these are the best books I've read all year. Yang's Boxers & Saints are both epic and dramatic and cinematic. I skipped House of Cards to finish these books and that's saying a lot.

Boxers / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
Saints / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
 
 
I know that we're only in February, but this is the best book (actually two books) I'

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Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. Killjoys: Judgment, Shame, & Frustration (Reluctant Readers, part 3)

Q&A: As Children's Librarians, it's our job to answer questions from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. Part three responds to a question about kids reading trashy junk & endless series.

Q: I'm ready for him to move on! My son has been reading Garfield books forever! (or Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, Rainbow Magic, Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or endless hours of comics.) Isn't it time for him to read harder books? Old illustration of baby getting thrown out with bathwater

A: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. While those books may seem as worthless as old bathwater; repetitive, stale, and stagnant to you, in fact re-reading or reading formulaic writing builds fluency and increases comprehension – but the baby in this metaphor is your son's fledging motivation. In your efforts to dump those

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Love Letters to OPL

Happy Valentine's Day, OPL!

How much do you love your library?  Check out these amazing, beautiful, heartfelt, heartwarming, and sometimes hilarious Valentines we received from some of our library users.  They were presented to City Council last night, and today I want to present them to you.  Add your voice!  Why do you love your library?  Leave a comment!  Let us know!

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Kirk Waller - Storyteller Extraordinaire

Are you looking for something to do to celebrate African American Heritage Month? Come to hear Kirk Waller's tales based on the African American experience.

For the past several weeks we have been honoring the citizens and institutions of Oakland in our children's programming. Public Works has sponsored the annual Re-Create art competition, with free workshops by Pro Arts at OPL branch libraries. Goofball the Magician and Chabot Space & Science Center have helped us commemorate Lunar New Year in a new way.

Next up is our annual celebration of African American Heritage Month

The children's librarians at Oakland Public Library wanted to celebrate this year with something both pithy and entertaining. We could not have made a better choice.

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Bright Eyes and Others at the Library

What do you know about Shirley Temple, Sid Caesar and other Hollywood stars?

Hollywood lost two of its notables this week.  

Shirley Temple, America's Darling, died Monday, February 10, at the age of 85. She was one of the most popular child actors, beginning her career at the age of 3; by the time she was 10 she was a box office sensation. She sang, she danced, she charmed.  Her box office power has been credited with saving 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy during the Great Depression. 

On Wednesday we learned of the death of pioneering TV comic Sid Caesar at 91. He was best known for the brilliant Your Show of Shows which aired in the early 1950s.  He also appeared in films like Grease and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad

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Lakeview Book Club Update: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Notes from the Lakeview Book Club Meeting about Edith Wharton's, The House of Mirth

Eight of us discussed House of Mirth and all seemed to really like it a great deal. We agreed that the writing was wonderful and many quotes were shared that pointed out Edith Wharton's fabulous writing style.

Our discussion leader came with a noted biography of Edith Wharton written by Louis Auchincloss, which she passed around so we could see photos of Edith, her home, her husband, her friends and her style of living. Edith Wharton was born a few blocks from Teddy Roosevelt and was of the same incredibly wealthy class of Americans as Teddy Roosevelt. She lived most of her life abroad, (One aside comment was that she may have had to, because her books put her class in a bad light.) During World War I she was involved with raising money from her wealthy friends to aid Belgian refugees and other needed charities. She received the French Legion of Honor for her good works during that war.

 She started writing as a child. Her education was

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