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Help develop your child's reading skills by using one of the library's beginning reader kits. Each series contains leveled books and suggestions on how parents can use them with their child. 

Bob Books & My First Bob Books  by Bobby Lynn Maslen and Lynn Maslen Kertell.

First Little Readers: Guided Reading Levels A,B,C by Deborah Schecter and Liza Charlesworth.

Folk & Fairy Tale Easy Readers by Violet Findley.

Guided Science Readers: Level A,B,C,D by Lydia Carlin and Timothy LeRoy.


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Finger painting is a tremendous amount of fun. But let’s face it. It’s messy. Some kids hate getting their fingers dirty, and most adults hate cleaning up. Now the Finger Paint with Sounds app (iPad/Android) by Inclusive Technology Ltd. not only allows kids to finger paint without getting dirty, but also throws in the fun of music or sound effects.

The app provides clear directions for use; choices for no sound, music, or sound effects; multi-touch and single touch options, and contains no in-app purchases. 

The blank screen has seven half-circles of color on the edges. Touch one of these and every touch on the screen after that is that color and has that individual sound until you touch another color. A double tap in the corner allows you to exit the screen or clear it. It’s that simple! Preschoolers adore this app, and the single touch selection lets them practice the fine motor skills they need for writing in kindergarten. It’s an Early Literacy Skills builder cleverly disguised as a lot of fun. Shhhhh—don’t tell! 

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Want to take storytime home with you? Look no further than a Read-to-me Kit!

Each kit comes in a mesh backpack and is filled with themed activities. For example, you might find a book or two, puzzle, DVD, or game in your kit. Every kit also includes a parent tip sheet, filled with suggestions on how to incorporate early literacy skills into everyday interactions.

Have a fan of trucks? Check out the Trucks, Trucks, Trucks or Construction kits! Is your little one always on the go? Check out the Jump for Joy or On the Move kits!

Feel free to browse the kits at the Fairfield, Gayton, Tuckahoe, and Twin Hickory Libraries. You can also put the kits on hold, just like a book, to be picked up at the library of your choice. A maximum of two kits can be checked out for a two week period with no renewal.

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One of the ways to help kids get ready to learn to read is by letting them practice writing.  Holding a crayon, coloring, painting—all these activities help children develop the fine motor skills they will need to pick up a pencil in kindergarten and begin writing.  Well, there’s a fun app that helps with these fine motor skills, too.  It’s called Dipdap and is available for iPad ($2.99), Android  ($1.99), and Kindle Fire ($1.99).  Dipdap is a little critter who interacts with your child’s animated drawings.

There are two sections to Dipdap:  

  1.  There are 16 adventures available for play.  Your child can chose to play the adventure without interacting, or chose to interact by drawing. Dipdap wordlessly presents a scenario to the child, like trying to reach the stars.  Then, the dashed outline of a rocket is presented.  The child traces the rocket outline, and can chose colors or any other add-ins he would like to draw.  Then, Dipdap climbs into the drawn rocket and shoots off into space, bouncing off of stars as he goes.  It’s pretty heady stuff for a cartoon character to jump into something you’ve drawn!
  2. There is also a drawing sketchpad in which the child can draw anything they would like.  Dipdap sits at the bottom of the page and watches the drawing, actively moving his eyes to whatever part of the screen is being touched.  He doesn’t interact with the drawing besides watching it, but the drawing can be “photographed” and saved to the pictures section of the tablet.

      There are no in-app purchases, and there are parental controls that allow you to change the music, sounds, and guides.  Dipdap is so much fun that you might even be tempted to play yourself!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_index5.jpgSpend ten minutes a day with your youngster using the methods in Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day (Ledson). You may find that, with dedication, you will have an emerging reader.

Step by step instruction is given. First, introducing 32 letters and sounds is the starting point. These specific sounds will be the building blocks to learn the first 100 words. From here, the first 200 sentences will be mastered. Finally passages are included that will be your child's first book.  You and your budding reader will laugh heartily at these "Helpful Andrew" stories.

Instruction also takes on second graders who are still guessing at words and would benefit from remedial help. Games to motivate these hard working students are sprinkled throughout.  

The author reminds us, 50% of a child's intellect has been fixed by age 4, and, 80% is fixed by age 8. The skill of reading is a 'nutrient' essential for development.



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Before we get deep into the back to school hubbub, and all the many questions, and all the many assignments, enjoy the simple joy of this well loved tune. Skip to the bus stop if you want to.  Big Bird would.

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Early Literacy Practices are things you can do with your child on a daily basis to help them get ready to read and write.          


Personally my favorite practice is playing. There is nothing more fun and beneficial than spending time with a little one and helping them explore the world. Play helps build social skills, vocabulary, and motor skills. 

If you want to learn more about play and your child join us at the Gayton Branch Library on Wednesday, April 9 at 4pm for our newest program Play, Learn and Grow. For children 6-24 months. 


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School Readiness Begins at Birth!

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Your child has been learning about language and literacy since birth!

When you spend time reading, talking, singing and playing together with words and language you are helping to get your child ready for kindergarten. As a parent, you are your child's first and best teacher - and the key to your child's school success!

Help your child get ready to read with these simple activities



Your child learns to talk by listening to you and others around him. By the time your child is school age, he or she will understand at least 3000 words.  Learning lots of new words will help your child recognize written words and understand them when reading begins.