Why should your kids read graphic novels? Because more reading is a good thing! Graphic novels can be funny, exciting, suspenseful, and most importantly, fun! In the Children’s Services Department at the Islip Public Library, we have our very own graphic novel section with something for everybody.
Graphic novels are unique because they contain text and words within panels and speech bubbles, similar to comic books. There are benefits to reading them especially for reluctant readers, children for whom English is a new language (ENL students), and for children who have learning challenges. First, having both text and pictures within a book can facilitate reading comprehension. Pictures, combined with text, help a story to come alive. Second, looking at a book with both words and pictures is less intimidating for a child who does not like to read or who has difficulty reading; this is also true for ENL students. Third, today’s children are growing up in a digital world in which visual literacy is an important skill. While reading a graphic novel, the reader must incorporate what is seen (both pictures and words) into meaning. Lastly, when children can retain meaning from a graphic novel and enjoy the experience, they will likely want to read more books. More reading – it is a good thing!
Come in and explore our new graphic novel section in Children’s Services. If you have any questions about graphic novels or any other books for your children, don’t hesitate to ask one of the children’s librarians. We’re here to help! Below I have included ten children’s graphic novels that your child may love. Dog Man, Smile, and the Big Nate series are favorites with children.
Contrary to popular belief, reading aloud to your children should not end after they learn to read.
According to Boston-based journalist and author Jim Trelease, reading aloud to older children—even up to age 14—has both academic and emotional benefits. While many parents and caregivers believe older children should be left on their own once they learn how to read fluently, and many older children demand independence from the daily routine of read-aloud sessions, Trelease argues that reading levels don’t catch up to children's listening levels until 8th grade, and that reading aloud to older children helps children’s language fluency, as well as comprehension, especially if they are following along with the book.
Trelease, who could be called the King of Read-Aloud, turned his passion for reading aloud to his own children into The Read-Aloud Handbook, which is used by educators and librarians as the go-to source for information on the subject.
Trelease argues that parents can and should be reading 7th grade books aloud to 5th graders because children enjoy listening to more complicated plots than they can read themselves. Parents also can use such books as an opportunity to open discussions about difficult social issues that children face as they move through school.
For instance, according to Trelease, parents might tell children not to hang out with certain kids—a lecture that is largely ignored. But if parents read a book about a child who gets in trouble by choosing the wrong friends, that is an opportunity for a discussion about wise choices. One excellent choice of a novel that opens the discussion for an increasingly common problem is Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, in which a high school freshman refuses to speak rather than reveal that she has been attacked by a classmate.
In addition to helping older readers with comprehension, read-aloud sessions help teach practical speaking skills. Melissa Taylor, in an article for www.readbrightly.com, writes that the reading parent or caregiver can model how to read by pausing at commas and periods, with voice inflection indicating questions or exclamations and with pauses to look up unfamiliar words, and how to use clues in the text to help the child figure out the meaning.
Taylor also believes reading aloud hooks kids into trying a new author or series of books and different genres or texts they wouldn’t normally choose on their own, a premise Trelease shares. On his website, www.trelease-on-reading.com, he has book lists, book reviews, excerpts from his read-aloud handbook and other information for parents. It's a good source of information.
When children and caregivers engage in read-aloud sessions well into middle school, their appreciation for reading is enhanced as they get older. The Synergy School, a private school in San Francisco, published a survey by Scholastic and YouGov that 62% of children aged 6-8 reported they “like a lot” and “love” reading for fun. That number drops to 46-49% for ages 9-17. Additionally, the study found that while 52% of younger children report reading for fun is extremely important, that number drops below 45% for older children who believe in the importance of pleasure reading. According to the Synergy article, reading aloud to older children brings alive the little child in them and counteracts what Trelease calls the “sweat mentality” around books because their school commitments reduce the time they have to read just for fun.
Children with reading difficulties benefit greatly from read-aloud sessions at home in a secure environment. In an interview with KQED News, Trelease emphasized the importance of what he calls “broadening the menu,” which shows students that not all reading is drill and skill, that the “good stuff—the really great books” are just ahead. A child with dyslexia can relax and just listen to a good book rather than struggle with it. Read-alouds make reading more fun.
Best of all, memories of books heard last a long time. Trelease said he once received a letter from a retired teacher who reconnected online with former students years after she stopped teaching. The students said the one thing they remembered was the books she read to them. When I was teaching, my favorite part of each day was the time I put aside to read aloud to my 5th and 6th graders. The best thing was students begging me: “please don't stop reading.”
Join our Sensory Story Time - Wednesday, July 11 (4:00-4:45 pm) Registration begins Monday, July 2, 5:30 pm at the Islip Public Library. For Islip Library cardholders. Children ages 36 months – preschool age/with caregiver.
Story times are an integral part of library services for children across the globe. They are designed to help promote literacy, vocabulary, and motor skills while having fun. Story times are developed by librarians and are built upon a foundation of creating and nurturing a love of reading in children. Libraries are a place where everyone can feel safe and welcome.
Sensory-based story times are designed especially for children who have sensory issues. Family attendance helps to create a welcoming and accepting atmosphere. These story times may include children who do not have sensory issues as well. Inclusiveness in a small group setting encourages children to form bonds with their peers.
In sensory story time settings, the librarians are aware that every child has different needs and may behave in a variety of ways. Programs are created to cater to certain sensory needs, such as the need to move about while the book(s) are being read. Studies show that a child’s vocabulary increases just by listening to new words. Interactive books are often included in sensory story times, as are movement based songs and finger plays. These activities help to increase early literacy skills in children who may not enjoy sitting still and being quiet. Join us!
Summer is right around the corner and that means beaches, barbecues, hiking, kayaking, sailing, and of course summer reading! Did you know that we have a summer reading club for adults?!
Registration for the Islip Public Library’s Adult Summer Reading Club began on Friday, June 16th! It’s really easy to participate: Come into the Library to register and receive a summer reading club folder. Read any book you want and give us a review of the book(s) you read.
You can either report on your book using a paper book review form (found in the folder you will receive when you register) or by filling out your book review on our Adult Summer Reading Club blog found here.
Remember: you need to register before reporting on your books. After reading and reporting on two books, you will receive a special prize -- a personalized Islip Public Library notebook/pen set as well as an invitation to attend our summer reading club party on Thursday, August 16 at 6:00 pm.
Try these lists or stop into the Library for some great summer reading suggestions!
“Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.”
“Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin.
I love these quotes by Ann Patchett, author of, The State of Wonder; Bel Canto; Commonwealth and many other books. She is also the owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville Tennessee where she devotes her time (when she’s not writing) to promoting reading.
In a world filled with sound-bites and simplistic responses to abstract and complicated issues, how refreshing it is to know that people still read, think, and feel. Readers know that it is through experiencing another person’s inner world that we grow to be the best kind of humans we can be – compassionate and empathetic. Reading fiction (or autobiography) is especially compelling because as you enter the world of the story, you also enter into another’s life experience. When the writing is good, the experience is extraordinary - expanding our world, piquing our curiosity, softening our hearts, and getting us to think.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they had read at least one book in the past year. That’s good but not good enough, because the flip side of that means that 24% of Americans did not read even one book in the past year! Why not?! Money is not required to read, the free public libraries in the United States are extraordinary. Not every country in the world has library systems with free and open access to books and information as we do here. No time? Try listening to a book during your commute, or try getting away from all the screens in your life. Voilá, more time! Not a great reader? No worries, the best way to become a better reader is to read more.
At the Islip Public Library our shelves are packed with books, and if you want to read something that we do not own or is already checked out, we will get it for you. In Suffolk County alone there are over 60 public libraries! A delivery system operates 6 days each week and delivers books back and forth among the libraries. Your (free) Islip Public Library card provides you with free access to some of the collections in all of these libraries, and to everything in our collections here at the Islip Library. If you prefer to read on an electronic device, you can use your library card to download ebooks and audiobooks onto that. Yes, downloads are free too! Don’t know what to read? Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. We will share our personal recommendations with you as well as lists of award winning titles and authors.
So get a library card if you don’t already have one, bring it with you to the library, and for goodness sake, just check out a book! Sit down and read it today! Further test your powers of concentration - put your phone away, step away from the television, the radio, the video games, the tablet, the computer. Good for you - you’re reading a book!
By the time my last child entered school, I was sure forests were being felled to create the endless flood of dittos that cascaded into the home in the name of education. As I exhaustedly emptied a backpack for the thousandth time one evening, I surveyed the household landscape and realized that my home and my life in general were being buried in papers and other “stuff.”
I suspected the tide had turned when we brought home a truck-load of new baby shower paraphernalia eighteen years ago. In the years that had elapsed since that first baby bouncer entered our lives, our home had been in a losing battle with the stuff that accumulates thanks to kids and the blinders parents put up just to survive day to day. I felt weighed down by it all.
Time to turn the tide – my quest to organize began. I hungrily perused books and magazines relating to home organization. Guided by glossy pictures of kitchen “command centrals,” attractive entry foyers, paper-corralling systems, impossibly neat kids’ bedrooms, and closets filled with with color-coordinated wardrobes hung on perfectly-spaced hangers, I began to consolidate, categorize, and arrange.
Saturdays were dutifully devoted to my mission, but after a few months I noticed a pattern: I no sooner organized a household area or system than it fell back into disarray. I was playing whack-a-mole with my stuff. Moreover, organizing was not for the financial faint of heart. Those attractive baskets, organizers, shelves, and filing systems were not cheap.
Then one day at a bookstore, I stumbled across a small turquoise book by Marie Kondo entitled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” I was skeptical. No glossy photos. Hardly any pictures at all, in fact. Still, magic was one thing I hadn’t tried, and the book seemed like a quick read.
The book proved to be a page-turner for this desperate-to-declutter-and-working-Mom-of six. Kondo’s approach to to organizing, or “tidying,” as the Japanese call it boils down to this:
First, organize by category, not location or room. Begin by gathering all like items into one pile.
Second, actually hold everything you own and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If not, thank the item for its past assistance to you and shed it from your life.
Third, place everything that you’ve decided sparks joy in a place that is visible, accessible and easy to grab and put away after use.
OK, so I know some of this sounds, well, weird. Make a huge, messy pile of alike stuff? Thank my stuff? There were moments when I almost put the book aside. Fortunately, I didn’t. My first realization was that too many of us focus on organization when the goal should be decluttering. Shedding stuff was key to gaining control of it. I didn’t need a better way to store things. I needed to purge.
Kondo’s first lesson – to tackle by category as opposed to location – was a game changer. Previously, I had been focused on one area of a room – clothing in one closet, for example, when in fact, each family member has clothes in multiple rooms, multiple closets (don’t forget the hall closet), and even multiple pieces of furniture.
The sheer size of the pile I assembled made me feel ready to purge. Plus, comparisons were easier – a dress I liked suddenly seemed superfluous when it lay next to two I loved. Jeans that no longer were very complimentary or comfortable were easier to let go when I saw I had four pairs that worked – more than enough. I had lost track of how many light weight jackets I owned. Three went to the thrift shop. A blazer with shoulder pads? That spark fizzled in the 1990s.
This tidying by category worked across the board. Books, as another example, had been something I had previously organized by room. When I gathered books from the various bookshelves, nightstands and baskets in the house, I could appreciate how out of control my collection had become. A few duplicates surfaced. Out. Books that I had read once that didn’t meet the joy meter for a re-read – out. Books that I kept in case I might want to read them again – also out. By dealing with all the books at once, I was better able to stop their creep from room to room that kept me from ever feeling like I had uncluttered my shelves.
Now, I look forward to retrieving a book. I can find it, for one. Secondly, the breathing room I had created around the books made them stand out more than when the collection was larger. I even found my kids perusing the shelves more often for a new read.
As for letting things go, Kondo says it’s easier when we respect our items. (Yes, Kondo considers inanimate objects as “alive,” which I initially had some trouble with.) Is that shirt you bought but never really liked feeling good if you never wear it? No. Are objects being kept out of a sense of guilt feeling happy? No. Thank your unused, forgotten, past-their-prime items (just go with it) and then let them go.
As for all that nostaligia that is holding you back – Kondo knows how strong those pangs can be, which is why she tells readers to purge in a hard-and-fast order of decreasing disposability – clothes, then books, then documents, then miscellany, then mementos. You need a bit of success under your belt before you can tackle that box in the garage from Grandma’s house or the family photos.
Oh, and when it’s time to do a bit of sorting – no runs to the store required. Kondo eschews expensive classic storage pieces and instead recommends a nice shoebox or other pretty box you may already have on hand for the actual organizing that comes once items are pared down. How refreshingly affordable!
Kondo’s book has been a global best seller, and I am a happy convert. For the first time in eighteen years, I feel like I am in control of my stuff, not the other way around. I’ve also proven something to myself that I long suspected to be true – my general energy and mood are uplifted when my environment is tidy and decluttered.
If you fall somewhere between slightly unorganized to not-quite-eligible-for-a-reality-show-hoarding-episode, if your home is in need of a good tidying but you don’t know how to begin, if you have a nagging sense that your home environment is sucking mental, emotional or physical energy from you, try reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo’s goal is for each of us to feel maximum joy – amongst our things, in our homes, and in our lives. I’m down with that. Aren’t we all?
The Library owns several copies of this gem of a book, so check one out. The little book could bring a more than a little bit of welcomed magic to your home, and in turn, to your life.
Teen books can change the way you see your surroundings and the world, and can help to open your mind to other people’s points of view. Sometimes you have set ideas about issues because you haven’t experienced them first hand. Characters in books can open you up to new experiences and challenges.
Teen books often explore difficult circumstances like bullying, depression, and challenging relationships or family circumstances, as well as the challenge of fitting in when you feel “different”.
Reading about other people and their stories helps you to be more understanding, empathetic, and compassionate. Want to be a better human? Yes! Who wouldn’t?!
And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down,
We’re captives on the carousel of Time
We can’t return, we can only look
Behind from where we came,
And go ‘round, and ‘round and ‘round
In the Circle game.
– The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell
With summer vacation nothing but a pleasant memory and autumn just around the corner, it’s a good time to assess where we stand by revisiting our best moments of the season past, while looking forward with excitement (and some nerves) to the upcoming school year.
For children’s librarians, summer is our busiest season. While others see it as a more laid back time, an opportunity to travel, make visits to the beach, enjoy picnics and gather at backyard barbecues, our time is taken up with the Summer Reading Program. Parents are able to keep their children from losing hard-won skills by having them continue to practice what they’ve learned during the school year. We’re always so pleased with the number of children enrolled who are encouraged to read by our contests, games and prizes.
This year, in particular, the fourth through sixth graders (or “tweens”) have really made us proud. This group counts the amount of pages they read, aiming for the goal this year of 100,000 pages with a prize being offered for the person who reads the most. The 135 members’ combined number of pages read was 172,100! The two top readers tied with 10,000 pages each (!), but this was a very competitive group, with the lowest amount in the top twenty readers being 1800 pages. (Note: this number was as of August 18th, the last official day of the Summer Reading Club for the group. However, we have continued to register and accept reports for those sixth and seventh graders who require a certificate of completion for their teachers this coming school year). These truly awesome readers have taken reading for pleasure to new heights, and deserve accolades and recognition from their families, schools and peers.
Meeting new teachers and classmates doesn’t have to be overly stressful. There are various aids to negotiating the unfamiliar terrain of new circumstances. Feeling confident that you have the skills to perform academically can ease some of the anxiety. Here at the Library, there are many resources available to enhance a student’s skills.
For learners struggling in a particular subject, a resource of note is Brainfuse offered by Live-brary through the Suffolk County Library system. There you can find tons of skill-building lessons and activities, practice tests, a writing lab, a language lab, and free one-on-one tutoring with a teacher. All you need to do is go to our website (www.isliplibrary.org), click on “Children” at the top of the page, and scroll down to the “Homework Help” area. Just put in your library card barcode and you’re ready to go!
Younger children just starting school are able to play “A B C Mouse” along with other educational games on the computers here at the library. We offer Hooked on Phonics kits that go from Preschool through second grade to enhance reading skills.
The Atrium or Picture Book area has separate sections for concept books:
There is a separate section of books in the Children’s department especially for emergent readers that can help parents select appropriate titles that promote a child’s feeling of accomplishment and pleasure in mastering this crucial facet of learning .The Easy Reader section then lets them go on to the next phase of becoming fully independent readers.
We also have a large selection of DVD s that give instruction in most subjects for all grades, from preschool to middle school, from Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse to School House Rock and Bill Nye the Science Guy.
And needless to say, our diverse book collection has titles for all ages, fiction and non-fiction, humorous, adventurous, enlightening, or tragic, that are set in, or are about going to, SCHOOL!
A small sampling follows:
Don’t forget that our Parenting collection offers books and videos to help students with math and English language arts for Kindergarten through 8th grade, including common core standards.
Good luck to everyone this new school year, and remember what Emerson said:
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Fans of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) have been waiting for over five years for the sixth book The Winds of Winter. Season 7 on HBO has just come to a close. The bad news is, there’s still no expected release date for the sixth book and season 8 (like season 7) will be another shortened season; leaving fans of the series anxiously waiting for more. The good news is, the Islip Library provides fantastic titles to fill the void while we all wait for the next book and season to be released.
The Defenders of Shannara series by Terry Brooks
The Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett
Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Middle-Earth Universe by J.R.R. Tolkien
Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan
The Queens of Renthia series by Sarah Beth Durst
Recommended TV Series:
It sounds like a monumental task to read 1000 books to your infant/preschool-aged child, but many caregivers around the country have done just that. Not only does this activity provide the opportunity to bond with your children, it also helps them to develop early literacy skills in preparation for kindergarten. Literacy experts have determined that children are ready to read after hearing approximately 1000 books!
Any story your child hears read aloud counts towards your 1000 books goal including story time books, eReaders, audio books, and iPad stories. Your child may ask you to read the same book more than once and that counts too! You may “double dip” and use the same titles for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten (1KB4K), and for our summer reading club.
For more information on our 1KB4K program, pick up a flyer at the Children’s Reference Desk at the Islip Public Library. Track each book read to your child either in a book log provided by us, or onto an online tracking app using your iPhone or Android device. For every 100 books read, receive a prize and sticker. Your child’s photo (including first name) will also be posted on the Islip Library’s Facebook page (with parent’s permission) after every 100 books read. Then receive a certificate upon completion.