The ABC's of Reading - Letter Recognition  

Helping children with reading can appear to be a daunting task.  You may be asking yourself; Where do I even begin? 

We are here to help!

Each month, we will provide different books and activities to break down this large task while still having fun! 

Let’s start at the beginning...Letter Recognition and Single Letter Sound.  Establishing letter recognition is very important. You can practice anywhere! The key is repetition. 

Fast Tip- Use upper case letters first. Once your child has a grasp on upper case, you can introduce lower case letters.  

Here are some fun books you can read with your child to help identify the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. 

Activities to Try

Alphabet Soup

This “souper” fun activity is a great way for your child to practice letter recognition and letter sounds. 

To begin:

  1. Fill a large plastic container ⅔ full of water. 
  2. Then add 10 to 12 plastic letters and a ladle to the container. 
  3. Place a small bowl and a spoon next to the large container. Have your child (you too) put on a pretend chef hat. Invite your little one to stir the pot and scoop out a letter while chanting:

“Stir the soup, it makes it taste better.

 Now use the ladle to get a letter!”  

  1. Have the child use the ladle to pull out any letter of their choosing and tell you what letter it is and/or its sound. 
  2. Then place the letter in the small bowl.

Extend and Explore:

Talk about the sound the letter makes and think of a word that begins with that sound.

Make some recipe cards.  Read the cards to your little one, asking them to retrieve the necessary letters for the recipe. “This recipe needs a letter C and a letter E. Then, the recipe tells us to stir the letters together to make a yummy treat.”

Variation of the Activity:

Don’t want to use water? Modify the activity by placing the plastic letters in a pot, and retrieve the letter(s) using tongs or a large cooking spoon. Continue the activity as directed above.

 

Sensory Writing Trays and Sensory Play

You can make a sensory tray using ingredients found in your kitchen (salt, sugar, baking soda, just to name a few) and use what works best for you and your family.  The easiest way to create the writing tray is to use a thin layer of the ingredient you choose. 

The purpose of the tray is to allow young children to practice letters or pre-writing strokes without the stress of trying to write on lines with a pencil.

To begin:

  1. Model letter formation on the tray, making sure letters are formed from top to bottom. 
  2. Have your little one trace the letter if necessary. Children can use the pointer finger of the dominant hand to trace the letter.
  3. After forming the letter with their finger, kids can gently shake the tray from side to side to “erase” the writing. 
  4. Cards can be used as a visual model for forming letters. Position the cards inside the tray for near-point copying.
  5. For a younger child, simply making different sorts of lines (diagonal, horizontal, and zig-zag) is great pre-writing practice as well.

Extend and Explore:  

*Other writing “tools” may include items found in the home such as: craft stick, chopsticks, cotton swab, or eraser end of a pencil. 

 

Letters are Everywhere! 

No matter where you go, you have an opportunity to see letters, at the grocery store, in the library, on clothes!  What better way to review and practice the alphabet than to see letters in everyday life?  Seeing letters in a variety of fonts, colors, and sizes, will also help your child get ready for reading. 

Here are some activities you can practice anywhere!

  •  You can play "I spy” on a walk “I spy something that makes the mmmmmm sound.” See if your child can identify what makes that sound. 
  • If you are at a restaurant, you can have your child point to different letters they see on the menu. “Can you find all the T’s and S’s?”
    If you are getting groceries, before entering the store, pick a letter or two that your child can find while shopping. “Can you find the letter B throughout the store?” “Can you find items that make the “B” sound?”

Have fun while exploring letters and sounds!  

 

Next month we will be blogging on vowels!  Stay tuned! 

 

Be sure to check out our Beginning and Early Reader Kits, available in the YS Department. 

 

 

Youth Services Assistant Librarian Erin

 Youth Services Assistant Librarian Karen 

Welcome to our new series, all about getting to know our very special Youth Services staff members at the Barrington Area Library! Each month, we'll publish an interview with one of our lovely staff members. Let's get started with Youth Services Librarian Demitra!

 

What is your favorite part of working at the Barrington Area Library?

My favorite part of working at Barrington Area Library is the people! The team of people we work with here are great and the customers that come to visit us are usually so happy to be here and be part of what we provide. I also love being part of our youngest customers’ lives in a way that brings them joy and happiness, while providing foundational life and literacy skills!

 

What are some of your favorite books and/or genres?

There are so many books that I love! A couple of my favorite books to share in Story Time are The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli and Still a Gorilla by Kim Norman. My favorite books to re-read are the Harry Potter series. I can still feel the magic of the first time I read them. My favorite adult genre is thrillers.

 

 

Do you have a hobby or knowledge of a certain topic that you like to incorporate into your work at the library?

I like to sing and I get to do that almost every time I do a Story Time!

 

 

 

What do you like to do when you’re not working at the library?

When I’m not working at the library, I like to spend time with my family, cook (and eat!) delicious food, do puzzles, watch TV and, of course, read!

 

Is there a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?

I like to visit libraries when I travel. The farthest I have traveled and visited a library is Melbourne, Australia!

 

 

 

 


    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie

If you can't make it to Baby Time this month, or if you just can't get enough and want to recreate it at home-we've got you covered! Here are all of the wonderful rhymes we'll be sharing in our January sessions.

 

 All the Little Babies

All the little babies go bouncin’, bouncin’

All the little babies go bouncin’ now.

All the little babies go bouncin’, bouncin’

All the little babies go bouncin’ now.

 

All the little babies go swayin’, swayin’

All the little babies go swayin’ now.

All the little babies go swayin’, swayin’

All the little babies go swayin’ now.

 

All the little babies say hello, hello

All the little babies say hello now.

All the little babies say hello, hello

All the little babies say hello now.

 

Hey Diddle, Diddle

Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle

The cow jumped over the moon

The little dog laughed to see such fun

And the dish ran away with the spoon

 

Mary, Mary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockleshells

And pretty maids all in a row

 

Bunny Tickle

Round and round the garden

Hopped the little bunny

With a 1 hop and a 2 hop

And a tickle on your tummy

 

Baby Goes Bumpy Boo

Baby goes bumpy boo.
Baby goes bumpy bye.
Baby goes bumpy bee.
On top of my knee.
I bounce you to the left.
I bounce you to the right.
I bounce you up and down.
I bounce you out of sight. Peek-a-boo!

 

 

Bumping Up and Down in my Little Blue Sled

Bumping up and down in my little blue sled

Bumping up and down in my little blue sled

Bumping up and down in my little blue sled

Won't you be my darling.

 

Snow's coming down on my little blue sled

Snow's coming down on my little blue sled

Snow's coming down on my little blue sled

Won't you be my darling.

 

Waving to my friends on my little blue sled

Waving to my friends on my little blue sled

Waving to my friends on my little blue sled

Won't you be my darling.

 

Zippity Zappity

Zippity zappity,

I feel so happity!

It makes my hands

Go clippity clappity

Makes my toes

Go tippity tappity

Zippity zappity,

I feel so happity!

 

 

 


    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie 

Here are a handful of our favorite books that we read this year. Be sure to check out our Favorite Books of 2022 as well, to find out our favorites published in 2022.

 

 

Erin recommends...

Marshmallow & Jordan by Alina Chau

Jordan was the star of her basketball team and a natural leader.  However, when an accident leaves her unable to play, she battles with her love of the game, being positive, and the feeling she is being left behind.  

One afternoon, Jordan finds a mysterious white elephant that has been injured.  Jordan nurses the elephant she has named Marshmallow, back to health. The two become fast friends and Jordan seems happier to her family and friends, however, Marshmallow can sense that Jordan feels lost without basketball.   Marshmallow makes it her mission to show Jordan there is no limit to what she can do. Marshmallow and Jordan is a hopeful story, focusing on the power of friendship and believing in yourself.  

 

 

 

Stefanie recommends...

Sometimes All I Need Is Me by Juliana Perdomo

This is a book that I desperately wish existed when I was a child! This delightful picture book takes a peek into the life of a small child who loves being by herself. Even though her cozy home is her favorite place in the world (same!), she creates a cozy home within, wherever she may be.

 

 

Chris recommends...
Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly
Set in the small town of Fawn Creek, Louisiana, this heartwarming story follows the total disruption of the social order of a tiny class – 12 kids! – after a mysterious new student arrives. The kids in our ensemble cast begin to re-examine their friendships, families, and dreams and ask themselves the question: What’s more important, fitting in or being true to yourself?

 

 

 See even more of our 2022 favorites!

 


    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie Molinaro

Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit at the Youth Services desk or through our Parking Lot Pickup service between December 19th and the 30th. All kits not picked up will be available on a first come, first served basis starting January 2nd. 

 

Salt Dough Family Keepsakes

The whole family can get involved with this kit! Mix up some salt dough, bake it, and decorate it to create a unique family keepsake!

Your Kit includes: 1 bag of flour, 1 bag of salt, 1 piece of twine, 1 cookie cutter, 1 rolling pin, and 1 set of markers.

 

Mix flour, salt, and 1 cup of warm water together in a bowl. Knead until combined and dough forms. 

 

Use rolling pin to roll out dough to desired thickness. Use cookie cutter or free style the shape of your keepsake!

If you want to hang your keepsake, be sure to punch a hole out somewhere using a pencil or straw. 

 

Be creative! You can cut out a circle by using a glass, trace your hand, or press a finger, hand, foot, or a pet's paw into the dough!

 

Once done shaping, put all keepsakes on cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours. Flip halfway through baking. 

When keepsakes are cool to touch, they can be decorated! Use provided markers to finish your masterpiece and hang it with a piece of twine. 

 

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org


    Youth Services Librarian Claire 

  

Winter is here! Do you want a new book to read but don’t want to travel in the snow? We got you covered! Check out some of these beginning reader and early chapter snow-inspired e-books! All e-books shown are available at BALibrary. Check them out and read with the Libby app on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Looking for some personalized selections? Fill out this form and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!

 


   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica 

 

The Youth Services staff have picked their favorite books published in 2022 for readers from ages 0-13. We hope you and your family find some new favorites here, too!

 

Looking for more recommendations? Fill out our form to get a custom list of reads or a Book Bundle for pickup.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, or Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month. We've gathered some of the newest books in our collection celebrating Indigenous people, that can be enjoyed all year round. For more recommendations, check out 11 Books to Read for National Native American Heritage Month.

Looking for more recommendations?  Fill out our form to get an individualized list of reads sent to your email! 

 

 


    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie

Gratitude can have a big impact on our lives. It has been proven to be effective in improving mood, increasing ability to cope with emotions, decreasing stress, and so many other positive benefits. Let’s practice showing our gratitude in a creative way - with a scavenger hunt! Use the list below to find what sparks your joy and makes you smile.

  1. Something you enjoy looking at
  2. Something that is useful to you
  3. Something that is your favorite color
  4. Something that makes you smile when you see it
  5. Something that smells good
  6. Something that makes you laugh
  7. Something you enjoy in the morning
  8. Something you enjoy at night
  9. Something that means a lot to you
  10. Something you love to spend time with
  11. Something that reminds you of the people you love
  12. Something you created
  13. Something you like to share with others
  14. Something that makes you feel calm
  15. Something you love

 

Looking for more fun activities? 

Gratitude for Kids - 9 Ways to Practice Gratitude with Kids ⋆ Journal for Kids

 

Learn more about why gratitude is so important:

Why gratitude is important for kids? | WOW Parenting

8 Reasons Why Gratitude is Important for Kids — Peake Academy

The Positive Impact of Gratitude on Mental Health | Psychology Today

 

We’d love to hear about your experience with the scavenger hunt! Chat with us at the Youth Services Reference Desk, or email us at youthservices@balibrary.org.


   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica 

 

If you can't make it to Baby Time this month, or if you just can't get enough and want to recreate it at home-we've got you covered! Here are all of the wonderful rhymes we'll be sharing in our November sessions.

 

 All the Little Babies

All the little babies go bouncin’, bouncin’

All the little babies go bouncin’ now.

All the little babies go bouncin’, bouncin’

All the little babies go bouncin’ now.

 

All the little babies go swayin’, swayin’

All the little babies go swayin’ now.

All the little babies go swayin’, swayin’

All the little babies go swayin’ now.

 

All the little babies say hello, hello

All the little babies say hello now.

All the little babies say hello, hello

All the little babies say hello now.

 

Little Bo Beep

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,

And can't tell where to find them;

Leave them alone,

And they'll come home,

Wagging their tails behind them.

 

London Bridge

London bridge is falling down,

Falling down, falling down.

London bridge is falling down

My fair lady.

 

Spots, Spots, Spots

Spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots

A leopard has lots of spots

What a lot of spots he got

A tiger's stripes are always nice

But a leopard has lots of spots

Spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots!

 

From Wibbleton to Wobbleton

From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is fifteen miles.

From Wobbleton to Wibbleton is fifteen miles.

From Wibbleton to wobbleton,

From Wobbleton to Wibbleton,

From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is fifteen miles.

 

Jelly on a Plate

Jelly on the plate

Jelly on the plate

Wibble wobble, wibble wobble

Jelly on the plate

 

Sweeties in the jar

Sweeties in the jar

Shake them up’ shake them up

Sweeties in the jar

 

Candles on the cake

Candles on the cake

Blow them out’ blow them out

Phew' phew' phew'

 

Baby Hokey Pokey

You put your arms up

You put your arms down

You put your arms up

And you wave them all around

You tickle, tickle, tickle

And you wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

The baby hokey pokey is fun!

 

You put your legs up

You put your legs down

You put your legs up

And you wave them all around

You tickle, tickle, tickle

And you wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

The baby hokey pokey is fun!

 

You put your baby up

You put your baby down

You put your baby up

And you wave her all around

You tickle, tickle, tickle

And you wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

The baby Hokey pokey is fun!

 

Looking for something to do with your little one? See a list of the library’s upcoming events for young children.

 


    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie 

We have a new line of Backpacks in the Youth Department! These are the Beginning Reader Kits - a set of nine backpacks designed for pre-readers and beginning readers. There are games, BOB Book sets, and other activities to do that will introduce and build reading concepts. The kits are: CVC Words, Letter Recognition, Word Recognition, Sight Words 1 + 2, Rhyming, Word Families, Word Building, and Storytelling. Find all nine kits in our catalog to see the contents of each kit and to place any of them on hold. If you check any out, be sure to let us know what you think by filling out the provided comment card!

 

 

Be sure to check out our other kits as well! STEM KitsEarly Learning Kits, and Board Games are all available in the Youth Department!


   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Claire 

 

Fall is in full swing! It’s time for some slightly scary vibes. Take a break from scary books or movies and take a crack at writing your own! Here are some journal prompts to spark your creativity and get you into an eerie, creepy crawly state of mind.

There is no right or wrong way to use the prompts. Use one or all of them and write as little or as much as you’d like. All that matters is that you have fun! 

  1. As the clock struck midnight, the witch said…
  2. The black cat was very…
  3. I was carrying my hot chocolate back inside when…
  4. The house was so quiet you could only hear…
  5. My favorite October night is when…
  6. I couldn’t believe it; everywhere I looked I saw…
  7. They got a tingle down their spine when they heard…
  8. Once the potion begun to brew it looked….
  9. The crunch of fall leaves beneath my feet was not the only sound I heard…
  10. I entered the corn maze with my friends, and we decided to….
  11. Fall time reminds me of….
  12. All of a sudden there was a big, scary looking…
  13. The mysterious object started floating and…
  14. There was a creak in the steps as I climbed the staircase to…
  15. As we sat around the bonfire, we thought it would be fun to…
  16. There was a loud snap! We turned around and saw…
  17. The night was drawing near, bringing a full moon…
  18. They said there was nothing to be afraid of but…
  19. He could not remember how he had gotten here. The last thing he remembers is…
  20. She faced the monster head-on and said…

Looking for other activities to do with your little one? See a list of the library’s upcoming events for young children.


   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica