Toddlers

Concept Books for Kids

Of all the picture books in the library, concept books are arguably some of the most useful. Alphabet books help young readers recognize letters and learn their ABCs, while counting books support early math skills. Toddlers and preschoolers may strengthen their understanding of many more concepts, such as color, size, shape, time, and opposites, through books at the library. Some branches have a special section for children's concept books; ask a staff member to help you find them!
Here are some of our favorites to get you started:

ABCs

Calavera Abecedario book coverChicka Chicka Boom Boom book coverD is for Dragon Dance book coverDr. Seuss's ABCs book coverEating the Alphabet book coverIf Rocks Could Sing book coverLMNO Peas book coverRacecar Alphabet book coverSuperhero ABC book coverZ is for Moose book coverZ was Zapped book cover

123s

Big Fat Hen book coverFish Eyes book coverFeast for 10 book coverMouse Count book coverRichard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever book coverTen Black Dots book cover10 Minutes to Bedtime book coverTen Terrible Dinosaurs book cover

More Concepts

Sing a Little Song

musical notesSinging is fun but research has found that it is more than just that; it is also good for your health, lowering stress and releasing endorphins that create a feeling of pleasure.  Singing with your children will make you happy regardless of your musical abilities.  And there is even more reason to sing with them, it puts them on the road to reading success.  How?  Singing helps children, even ones who are very young, hear the sounds that make up words. Researchers call this phonological awareness.  Being able to hear distinct sounds helps children recognize those sounds and syllables when they are learning how to read.

Oakland Public Library can help you find songs and make singing fun in several ways:

copy of book coverWe have a collection of songbooks, many of which include the tune and lyrics in the back.  You can find them in our nonfiction collections under the 782 call number.  One of my favorites is The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort.

 

copy of cd coverWe also have collections of music CDs that you can borrow.  They range from lullabies for babies to the Frozen soundtrack.  Come and check them out!

Finally, we have a new music service, Freegal that lets you download and stream music from popular artists.  For music especially created for kids, click on “genres” on the bar at the top of the page, and then select “Children’s Music.”

As always, all of these materials and services are free, so check them out and let your voices soar!

Reading, Talking, Singing, Writing and Playing Works

picture of babyI recently returned from sweltering Las Vegas where the American Library Association Annual Convention was taking place.  One of the programs I attended looked at whether or not the five activities developed by Every Child Ready to Read 2 - reading, singing, talking, writing and playing with children aged 0-5 had a statistical impact on that child's literacy levels.  A research grant in Washington State looked at the literacy levels of kids who attended storytimes where those practices were modeled.  

The results?  Yes they do!  Children who attended library storytimes that incorporated those activities did have higher literacy rates.  Just another reason to come to the storytimes offered here at the library and practice these activities at home.

For more information about the study, check out: digitalyouth.ischool.uw.edu  and click on the "Project Views" link.

To find our storytime schedule, check the OPL calendar: http://oaklandlibrary.org/events

Writing and Reading

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 surfaces, on paper, with blocks or magnetic letters, on chalkboards or even with water.  Identify each of the letters in their name.

Child Drawing

Print is everywhere.  Help your child notice alphabet letters by pointing out the names on food containers, words on road signs and names of stores. Point out letters to your toddler as you go through your day.  

Let your toddler try writing!  Scribbles are a great way of strengthening their fine motor skills.  Fat crayons are great at helping them grip crayons without their breaking. 

FOR PRESCHOOLERS:  Play "I Spy" to find letters in the room.  Silently choose something that your child can see.  Say, "I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter (name a letter)  What is it?"

Play games like "We are going to a place to eat whose name begins with the letter "B."  Where do you think we are going?"

Sing the alphabet song while pointing to the letters of the alphabet.

Writing can be done anywhere: in the sand or dirt, on a chalkboard, in a pan filled with rice or flour, with a piece of yarn, with blocks, and even in the tub. Make writing letters a game you play every day.

Full Steam Ahead: Picture Books about Trains

Here’s an understatement for you: train books are popular at the library. They have the power to capture the attention and imagination of wiggly toddlers, curious preschoolers, and knowledgeable school-aged kids alike. They inspire squeals of delight when discovered and, sometimes, tears of despair when returned! Come find these tried-and-true books at the library for the train lover in your life:

Trains book coverAnd the Train Goes...book coverFreight Train book coverDown by the station book cover Steaming! Pulling! Huffing! book coverCaboose who got loose book coverLittle engine that could book coverI saw an ant on the railroad track book coverSeymour Simon's book of trains book cover

Trains / Byron Barton

And the train goes-- / William Bee

Freight train / Donald Crews

Down by the station / by Jennifer Riggs Vetter ; illus. by Frank Remkiewicz

Trains : steaming! pulling! huffing! / by Patricia Hubbell ; illus. by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

The caboose who got loose / Bill Peet

The little engine that could / retold by Watty Piper ; pictures by Loren Long

I saw an ant on the railroad track / by Joshua Prince ; illus. by Macky Pamintuan

Seymour Simon's book of trains / Seymour Simon

 

Oh Say Can You Sing?

Want to discover a library secret? Go ahead and take a trip to the 782 section of the children’s nonfiction shelves and you’ll discover something amazing. Hidden treasures! Picture books that are meant to be SUNG! Some are traditional, others are silly – but all are crowdpleasing. Here are a few recommendations to warm up your singing voice:

Baby Beluga book cover  Down by the station book cover  Hush little baby book cover  I ain't gonna paint no more book cover

I love you! A Bushel and a Peck book cover  Let's Play in the Forest book cover  Let's sing a lullaby with the brave cowboy book cover   I love my white shoes book cover  Seals on the Bus book cover

Baby Beluga / Raffi; illustrations by Ashley Wolff

Down by the Station Jennifer Riggs Vetter; illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz

Hush, Little Baby / adapted and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! / Karen Beaumont; illustrated by David Catrow

I Love You! A Bushel & a Peck / Frank Loesser; pictures by Rosemary Wells

Let's Play in the Forest While the Wolf is not Around / Claudia Rueda

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy / Jan Thomas

Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes / Eric Litwin; art by James Dean

The Seals on the Bus / Lenny Hort; illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Play and Literacy

Boy playing with LegosPlay has a direct link to early literacy experience. Play and stories work together to encourage creativity, imagination, and dexterity: all skills that help your child learn.  

If you have DUPLOS at home, try some of the acitivities in the the Read! Build! Play! at Home Toolkit developed by LEGO in partnership with The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC).  

We also have DUPLOS and LEGOS for your child to play with  at many library locations. Bring your child of any age in to one of our monthly LEGO Mania! clubs, where they can play and build with others. 

LEGO Mania! Monthly Lego Clubs

First Tuesdays at 4pm at the Eastmont Library

First Fridays at 3:30pm at the Dimond Library

Second Thursdays at 3pm at the Main Library Children's Room

Second Fridays at 3pm at the Lakeview Library 

Third Fridays at 3pm at the West Oakland Library

Ask your Librarian for other ways for your child to play at the library!

Malik Pedraza-Palomino is ready to fly with his LEGO creation at the 81st Avenue Library.  

 

Help Your Child Get Ready to Read - Talking

Every Child Ready to Read logo

You are your child's first and best teacher. Sharing five ativities regularly - talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing - with him will prepare him for reading.

We now know that from the moment they are born, they are learning about the world around them, processing input, making hypotheses, and coming to conclusions. A baby's brain  already weighs 25% of its adult weight; it has a lot of work to do!

It is never too soon to start talking with your child. As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean. They learn about the world around them and important general knowledge. Fifteen minute snippets of talking and listening while you are cooking, putting on makeup, driving, or gardening are as much as your child needs to start developing her vocabulary and understanding how language works, thereby getting her ready to read. 

Yes, again!

Cover of the book Baby Beebee BirdWhy does your toddler or preschooler ask for you to read the same book over and over?  Children learn through repetition, and they need to experience a story many times to fully understand it.  They also love to hear funny or rhyming words, and active or soothing rhythms, over and over and over--it's how they learn to talk, build their vocabulary, and learn to be creative with language! Every time you read that story again, they are growing their brains, and--most importantly--you are bringing them joy.

Of course, it's hard to bring joy if you've just had enough of The Baby Beebee Bird for the night.  Stop in to see us: we are always happy to help you choose library books suited especially to your taste and your child's, so that you can have a changing stockpile to tempt your child to try something new.  And don't forget our storytimes ...we'll read The Baby Beebee Bird for you. Though even we need a break from it too, from time to time.

What book does your child make you read over and over?