Tag Archives: Literacy

Library Outreach Example: Itty Bitty Art

This program was just too cute not to share with CMLE members! As you know, I am a huge fan of library outreach work; and that includes reaching into all areas of the communities we serve.  Partnerships make that outreach even stronger. And this program is not only adorable, but a great example of partnerships outside the library!

Dr. James Thomas was invited by the Amon Cartner Museum (Ft. Worth, Texas) to do his program on language play for infants in their gallery. It was such a hit last year, they scheduled four events this year!

“Infancy is the time to begin with an awareness of language and books. During this program you will learn songs, how to share books, sign language, and ways to exercise with your little one to encourage language development. Each caregiver will receive a free CD of all songs and activities shared.” (more information on the program is after the break)

Do you have an idea for reaching out to a segment of your population? Would making some connections, and building up partnerships, help your library provide better service – or something really fun? Great!!

Let’s discuss your plans, and see what we can do to help out! CMLE Headquarters is here to support you and the work you do for your patrons; so let’s do some great things! Continue reading Library Outreach Example: Itty Bitty Art

Library therapy dogs help kids with reading

office dogs
Good listeners!

The stereotypical animal that is often associated with libraries (and librarians!) is the cat. And here at CMLE, we definitely love cats. But dogs can be even more helpful when it comes to libraries, and reading in general, especially when it comes to teaching literacy to kids.

This adorable Tweet sparked our curiosity. Just how much do dogs help kids with their reading skills? We also wondered where else in our area might dogs be interacting with kids, students, books, and libraries?

First, we discovered just how helpful dogs can be when it comes to assisting kids with their reading skills. This article from Public Libraries Online shares research done that states, “Children who read to dogs improved their own reading skills in comparison to children who did not read to dogs, based on the results of the Oral Text Reading for Comprehension Test” and even “reported a greater enjoyment of reading than children who did not read to dogs.” When kids are able to practice their reading skills out loud to a patient, non-judgmental listener (like a dog!) their reading improves, and just as importantly, their love of reading grows!

The organization Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) Minnesota works with “registered therapy animals who volunteer with their handler as a team, going to schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for children” in order to help kids with their literacy and communication skills. Their site explains ways you can help the organization, and even how to become a READ team with your dog!

For real-life inspiration, we found a few instances of dogs and kids enjoying reading together. This article from MN Women’s Press tells the story of Lesa Hobright-Turner and her READ dog, Murphy, and their impact on a little girl with ADHD. The Hibbing Daily Tribune featured this article about kids reading with dogs at Keewatin Elementary school. The Rochester Public Library has the program “Sit, Stay, Read” that takes place the fourth Monday of the month from September – November. Finally, the Two Harbor’s Public Library has a program “Read to a Dog” that takes place on Fridays, featuring Lucy the dog: lucy-reading-dog

We’re sure there are more programs out there, and would love to hear about them! Do you know of, or participate in, any activity that features animals helping kids with their reading? Let us know!






Alternatives to Round Robin & Popcorn Reading


Help students become better readers


Wondering if Round Robin and Popcorn styles are really the best practice when it comes to working on reading in the classroom? This article from Edutopia takes a look at the traditional Round Robin style of reading out loud and offers some alternative practices.

Round Robin reading is defined in the same article as students reading “orally from a common text, one child after another, while the rest of the class follows along in their copies of the text.” Popcorn style is a type of Round Robin reading, where one student is reading aloud, then says “Popcorn” before choosing another student to continue reading.

Author Todd Finley makes the argument that when it comes to improving literacy and encouraging kids to read, the Round Robin style may not be the best approach. He shares several studies and their findings that Round Robin may have a negative effect on students and their reading progress.

Happily, the article includes 11 better approaches for you to try instead! A few of them include:

  • Choral reading: The teacher and class read passages or paragraphs out loud together, which reduces potential embarassment for struggling readers
  • Teacher read-aloud: The teacher shows how proper pronunciation and inflection are used while reading
  • Buddy reading: Students read out loud to prepare for reading to children in a younger grade

Do you use Round Robin or Popcorn style reading? How about any of the 11 alternatives? What have you found works the best in your library or classroom?


New Monthly Research Center Workshops: Stearns History Museum

Information provided by the Stearns History Museum

Research Center Workshops

Have you ever wondered what resources are available in the Research Center and Archives of the Stearns History Museum? Come and find out! The Stearns History Museum is offering workshops, on the third Wednesday of every month, to highlight the many resources available and show you how easy they are to access.

This month, on December 18th, at 9:30 a.m., our archivists will teach an Introduction to the Research Center and Archives.  Whether you are a seasoned research veteran interested in genealogy, or you are researching town histories or the history of a local business, or just a beginner, this class is for you!

Please RSVP to (320) 253-8424 or email swarmka@stearns-museum.org.

Image retrieved online from the Stearns History Museum 12/10/13.
Image retrieved online from the Stearns History Museum 12/10/13.

Founded in 1936, the Stearns History Museum has focused on preserving and interpreting the history of the region for 77 years. The mission of the museum is to engage people in the exploration of the County’s diverse heritage by providing connections to the past, perspectives on the present, and inspiration for the future. The Stearns History Museum is nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.