Thursday, September 26, 2013

Prescriptions for Literacy: An Unsolicited Rant


“If children know six nursery rhymes by age four, they are more likely to be in the top reading group at school by age eight.”
“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight”
These are two quotes attributed to Mem Fox. That is each quote in its entirety. They both get at the same thing, but have different ages and different numbers of rhymes. And, there is no citation

These are the things that keep people like me, Amy at Catch the Possibilities, and Mel at Mel’s Desk awake at night. Probably because I found a great cohort of nerds that I have the pleasure of talking shop with at all times. In case you’ve ever wondered what my Twitter feed is all about, it’s mostly discussions that lead to rants like the one you’re reading right now. You're welcome.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

LEGO Chima and Pinewood Derby Party: Sneaky STEM

LEGO Legends of Chima is Ninjago's slightly less popular counterpart; probably because there were only 4 episodes at the time I ran my first program (I did one at the Main library and one at our North branch). Because I'm the luckiest jerk in the world, there are now 9 episodes, the fifth one airing on the day of my first LEGO Chima program. Between the two programs, around 70 people attended, a far cry from my 150 collective attendees at my two Ninjago programs. But, for the amount of time I put into it, I still consider it high-yield.

For the uninitiated, LEGO Legends of Chima follows the exploits of 8 tribes who live in the Land of Chima, where the "life force" Chi gives power to animals to walk and talk and fight with swords. Except that it's not REALLY a life force, because we find out a few episodes in that the animals who never took Chi and are just regular-ass lions and stuff are still around, but they're called "Legend Beasts" because the Chima animals never see them much. Once in awhile the tribes gather and race on Speedorz for some golden orb which is supposed to be better than normal Chi. Also, the Legend Beasts give them immunity because they've never taken Chi and so have no swords or opposable thumbs. In other words, it doesn't make much rational sense, unless you think it reminds you exactly of another show. But they're talking animals, so whatever.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Awesome Box: Stealth Program

 Harvard library has created a"Awesome Box", a way of crowdsourcing Reader's Advisory and book recommendations. The Awesome Box was the brainchild of Annie Cain and Matt Phillips, and now is a project that involves many collaborators. Please read all about them here.

I decided to create something similar at the Story Action Pod this summer.

The result was the meme-filled station you see to the left. And it was super fun! Over the course of the summer we got about 50 recommendations from kids about books from liking The Pigeon Wants a Hot Dog because it's funny, to liking 39 Clues because there is at least one scene that includes swords.

Because Summer Reading Program always gives our circulation department approximately 50 million hours of extra shelving work, we decided to keep everything as inside-our-department as possible.

Here's how it went down: